The Rays returned home to Tropicana Field after a winless road trip to forget, welcoming back Austin Meadows to the team from the Alternate Training Site prior to the game. The Boston Red Sox are in town, and starting for the Red Sox was former Rays pitcher Nate Eovaldi.
Charlie Morton took the mound for the Rays, looking to build off of a promising start against Atlanta. Morton worked a hitless first inning, and while doing so, made Rafael Devers look silly with a nasty curveball that hit Devers during his at-bat to put Devers down two strikes.
In the top of the second, Mitch Moreland hit a one-out solo home run to give the game its first run, putting Boston ahead 1-0. Moreland’s home run would be Boston’s only run tonight, highlighting an impressive job by the pitching staff to limit a potentially dangerous lineup.
Joey Wendle hit a two-out triple in the bottom of the second that went 412 feet to the center field wall, but would not score after Hunter Renfroe struck out looking.
Fast forwarding to the bottom of the fourth, Yoshi Tsutsugo drew a two-out walk and moved up to second after Joey Wendle hit a single. Hunter Renfroe made up for striking out earlier with a two-run single to right-center field, giving the Rays a 2-1 lead.
The Rays were done scoring in the fourth, but they weren’t finished for the game, as a leadoff hit-by-pitch on Michael Perez put a baserunner on for Austin Meadows. Meadows looked as fresh as ever tonight, hitting a triple to the right field wall that plated Perez after great hustle and a perfect touch of home plate by the catcher to give the Rays a 3-1 lead.
We missed you, Austin!— FOX Sports Florida & Sun (@FOXSportsFL) August 5, 2020
Austin Meadows with an RBI triple to extend the @RaysBaseball lead!
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The runs didn't stop there, though, as Brandon Lowe plated Meadows with a single to extend the lead to 4-1. Eovaldi’s outing was over after five innings pitched.
Charlie Morton looked really good in his third start of the season and his day was done after 5.2 innings of work and 93 pitches. Striking out five while allowing five hits, Morton ended his best start of the season with a strikeout of Xander Bogaerts, who tipped his cap at the breaking ball from Morton with a point to the pitcher.
Aaron Loup recorded the final out of the sixth inning and worked a scoreless seventh inning while striking one batter out.
Brandon Lowe hit a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh and Yandy Diaz did the same, with Lowe hustling to third on the play to put runners on the corners for Ji-Man Choi. Choi brought Lowe home with a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-1 game. Yandy was stranded on base to end the inning.
Pete Fairbanks entered the game in the top of the eighth and worked a scoreless inning with two strikeouts, and after the offense was silenced in the bottom of the eighth, rookie right-hander Ryan Thompson took the mound in the top of the ninth to try and close the game out.
Thompson recorded one out on a groundout before allowing three-straight singles, which marked the end of his appearance. Thompson was a little unlucky with where the singles landed, but those balls landing loaded the bases and made way for Nick Anderson to try and get the save. Anderson struck out Jose Peraza and Andrew Benintendi to secure the first Rays victory in what’s been a very long week.
Back at home and in the dome, the offense looked like what it was hyped up to be and the pitching did its job in not allowing many runs, locking down the win. The Rays play again tomorrow evening with Ryan Yarbrough taking the mound for the good guys against Martin Perez and the Red Sox, first pitch scheduled for 6:40 pm.