In front of a raucous crowd of 37,616 at the Trop, the Rays won an exciting first inning 5-2 that featured a Jordan Luplow grand slam. Sadly, they play nine, and the Rays didn’t do so well in two through nine, dropped the game to the Red Sox 14-6 and knotting the series at a game a piece. Game three is Sunday in Boston.
With the Rays facing a lefty for the second day in a row, Kevin Cash rolled out his Game 1 lineup again. It was the first time all season that Cash sent out the same lineup two days in a row.
Meanwhile, J.D. Martinez returned to the lineup against rookie righty Shane Baz.
Things didn’t start well. Baz walked the leadoff man Schwarber on four pitches, then gave up a double up the left field line to Hernandez on an 0-2 slider. He seemed to find his stride against Devers, striking him out on a 2-2 heater away. But Bogaerts took a first pitch fastball through the right side, scoring Schwarber and bringing out Kyle Snyder for a visit. Verdugo followed with a single to center, scoring Hernandez. Martinez then served a single to right, loading the bases for (ugh) Hunter Renfroe. But a nice 0-2 slider induced a 6-4-3 double play.
Exhale. Could be a lot worse than 2-0. (And it would get much worse.)
In the bottom of the first, Randy led off by taking Sale’s first offering into left for a single. Franco was also first pitch swinging, singling through the right side. Sale went with a steady diet of sliders to strikeout Lowe. Cruz followed with a four pitch walk, none of which were all that close. Bases loaded for Yandy Diaz, who squeezed a 1-2 fastball through the right side.
Yandy Diaz RBI and the Rays are at it again! pic.twitter.com/wTWO4JYfFW— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) October 8, 2021
2-1, Red Sox
Luplow was next, and fell behind 0-2 before turning around 94 at his eyes, and rocked it into the seats in left.
You will be forgiven if you stop reading here.
Despite a single and a wild pitch in the second, Baz looked much more comfortable in the second, mixing in more sliders and even flashing a couple curves while holding Boston off the board.
Chris Sale was done after that one forgettable inning, and rookie righty Tanner Houke took over. He was nothing short of brilliant, working five innings of one run, two hit ball, striking out five and walking no one.
Meanwhile, the Rays pitchers had trouble finding any kind of shut down inning. In the second, Rafael Devers caught up to a Baz fastball. Sadly for him (but good for us!) Kevin Kiermaier caught up to the ball deep in left center.
Vintage Kevin Kiermaier! He robs Devers of extra bases on a leaping catch. pic.twitter.com/r05Y4DbmPs— Zak (@CaramelPhd) October 9, 2021
But Bogaerts followed and put one where only fans can catch it (and throw it back). 5-3 Rays, and that was it for Shane. 2.1, 6 hits, 3 run, a walk, 2 Ks.
Enter Collin McHugh. Exit another baseball, as Verdugo hooked a cutter into the seats in right. 5-4 Rays.
The Red Sox took the lead in the fifth. First, McHugh’s 2-2 slider to Hernandez ended up in the seats in left. 5-5 tie and it’s a brand new ballgame. Devers then walked on a borderline 3-2 pitch, ending Collin’s day,
Matt Wisler was next, and had no feel for slider. A single by Bogaerts, a lineout by Verdugo, and a three run blast by Martinez made it 8-5.
David Robertson got the sixth. After getting the first two, he gave up a looooooooong double to Hernandez — like, off the top of the wall long — and a walk to Devers before getting Bogaerts to pop out to Choi and end the inning.
Hey nobody scored!
The Rays finally got to Houke in the bottom of the sixth. Ji-Man Choi — who had entered earlier for grand slammer Jordan Luplow — lifted and 0-1 fastball juuuuuuuust over the wall in left.
8-6 Red Sox
Michael Wacha got the seventh. The Sox put the first two men on on not exactly hard contact. A nifty 6-4-3 double play had you thinking we were out of it, but Vazquez cue shot up the first base line pushed Verdugo home.
9-6 Red Sox
Ryan Brasier continued the Boston bullpen dominance in the seventh, striking out the side.
With Wacha still on in eighth, Hernandez doubled off the pole in left. and Devers homered to center. 11-6 Red Sox. Whatever.
Hansel Robles and — who’s up now? I don’t even know. Just more gross looking strikeouts. Oh, and a Cruz infield single just to give false hope.
Wacha for the ninth. Boston scored a couple more runs. 14-6. Chargois got in at some point.
With the lead finally safe enough, the Red Sox turned to Matt Barnes to close it out. A Choi single and a couple walks later, and the Rays loaded the bases with two out for Wander Franco...who grounded to short. But really, it’s okay. We would have needed two grand slams this inning just to tie.
Losing suck, but we’ll get over it. Get some sleep. We’ll get ‘em on Sunday.