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Rays 8, Red Sox 7: Openers are so 2018

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In a constant back and forth battle, the Rays came out on top

Tampa Bay Rays v Boston Red Sox Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

After concluding a pivotal series (boy does it feel strange to say that this early in the season) in which the Rays took three of four games from the Yankees over the weekend, the Rays enter another four game set, this time in Boston.

For the Rays, the ever reliable Ryan Yarbrough took the hill, coming off a rough start when he gave up 5 runs against the same Red Sox at home. For the Sox, it was Ryan Brasier, who made his first career major league start.

But Brasier would only go one inning, as the Red Sox did this weird thing where the second pitcher pitched multiple innings, almost as if he were the starter. Overall, it was strange. Seems like something only a desperate or rebuilding team would do. Hard to see that catching on. Could be bad for baseball if it did.

Anyway, Yarbrough struggled to find his groove early on, as the Sox jumped on him for three runs in the first and another in the third on a solo tater by JD Martinez.

But every time the Red Sox scored, the Rays answered, at least early on. Kevin Kiermaier opened the scoring with a single that scored Manuel Margot:

The Rays added two more in the fourth on a two run single by backup starting catcher Michael Perez:

The game appreared to be tied when Perez was called safe at the plate on a triple by Austin Meadows. After a Red Sox challenge, the call was overturned:

In the fifth, an RBI triple by Joey Wendle actually tied it up:

Yarbrough went out to start the fifth, but wouldn’t finish, as Chaz Roe came in to get out of a jam. With the bases loaded in one out, he induced a big double play:

Able to escape the threat, the Rays took the lead in the sixth, this time on a opposite field cue shot by Ji-Man Choi:

But this time, the Red Sox answered back, tying the game in the bottom half. Luckily, Roe was able to limit the damage by inducing yet another double play ball. Lefty Aaron Loup finished the inning by fanning Jackie Bradley Jr.

It wouldn’t be tied long, though, as Kiermaier came through again, giving the Rays a two run lead:

Loup retired two more in the seventh before giving way to the hard throwing Pete Fairbainks, who got Martinez to ground out to end the inning. In the top half of the eighth, Margot added on some insurance in the form of an RBI double, one of his four hits on the night:

Fairbanks continued to work into the eighth, handing things over to the enigmatic Jose Alvarado. A walk and a single quickly gave two runs back to the Sox, making it a one run game once again. For the first time, the Rays did not answer, as it remained a one run game going into the bottom of the ninth.

Alvarado stayed in to face the left handed Alex Verdugo, but it was Andrew Kittredge who was called upon to finish the job. After allowing a leadoff single to Martinez, he would get the two remaining outs to secure the Rays’ first road win of the 2020 season.

You love to see it.