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Rays 7, Red Sox 4: Series win secured

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The Rays did what they needed to do on a day when the wild card teams they’re fighting against didn’t play

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

In the final game of this unusual Friday-to-Monday four-game series, the Rays looked to secure the series win against the Boston Red Sox and stay in the second AL Wild Card spot.

For the first time since July 21, Blake Snell took the mound at Tropicana Field, pitching against Jhoulys Chacin and the Boston Red Sox.

Snell’s first inning was a bit rocky after a leadoff strikeout, struggling to find the corners of the zone when walking Mookie Betts and JD Martinez. After a two-out wild pitch, Snell struck out Sam Travis to end the inning with three K’s and no runs against.

Snell’s nibbling continued in the top of the second inning, allowing a single and a walk before allowing a two-out double which gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Chaz Roe was brought in to finish the inning, ending Snell’s day at 52 pitches with three walks and three strikeouts. Roe got Mookie Betts to pop out to end the inning with only one run allowed.

Pete Fairbanks entered the game to pitch the top of the third, and once again, Fairbanks was not on his game, allowing a run during his one inning of work to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead. Austin Pruitt was even worse, allowing two runs in the top of the fourth to give the Red Sox a seemingly insurmountable lead of 4-0.

Of course, that lead seemed insurmountable until it wasn’t. The bottom of the fourth showed just how much fight this team has in it, and it started with back-to-back one-out singles by Austin Meadows and Travis d’Arnaud. Ji-Man Choi broke up the trend of hitting singles and instead hit a three-run home run, cutting Boston’s lead down to 4-3.

Following a groundout, Brandon Lowe stepped up to the plate against Chacin with a 3-1 count, and absolutely destroyed a slider over the “D” Ring and into the right field seats, tying this game up at 4-4. Chacin’s day was done after allowing this homer, with Alex Cora calling upon Bobby Poyner to try and prevent the Rays from taking the lead.

Poyner hit Kevin Kiermaier, bringing Willy Adames up to the plate. After Adames swung and flung Travis d’Arnaud’s bat over the Red Sox dugout, he saw himself with a 1-2 count against Poyner.

With that 1-2 count, Adames saw a fastball that he had to swing at, and swing at it he did, sending an 88 mph fastball 409 feet into the Left Field Ledge and most importantly, giving the Rays a 6-4 lead.

Oliver Drake came in to pitch the top of the fifth, and after throwing a hitless inning with two strikeouts, stayed in to pitch the top of the sixth. Once again in the top of the sixth, Drake threw a scoreless inning, keeping the Rays ahead in this pivotal game.

Ji-Man Choi hit a double to leadoff the bottom of the sixth, and Avisail Garcia scored him with a double of his own, although Garcia was thrown out at third by an insanely impressive throw from Mookie Betts in right field, 7-4 Rays.

Nick Anderson pitched a scoreless top of the seventh, striking out two while allowing a hit. Diego Castillo worked the top of the eighth, striking Chris Owings out and getting the next two batters out. Emilio Pagan was brought in to try and close this one out, and he did just that. Pagan allowed two hits before recording his first out, and Kevin Cash played the matchup game, bringing in Colin Poche.

Alex Cora brought in Christian Vasquez to face Poche, lifting Rays-killer Mitch Moreland, and Poche struck out Vasquez on three pitches. Xander Bogaerts pinch-hit for Jackie Bradley Jr, and Poche struck him out as well, closing this game out and securing the save.

The Rays took three out of four against the visiting Boston Red Sox, giving themselves a half-game lead on the Cleveland Indians and reducing Oakland’s lead in the first Wild Card spot down to 1.5 games. The Yankees come to town for a two-game series to close out the final homestead of the season for the Rays, Yonny Chirinos expected to throw the first pitch for the Rays at 7:10 pm tomorrow.