If anyone had told me before today’s game that I would use the words “Michael Wacha/Nick Pivetta pitchers duel” I would have said: “Liar” and also “Nick who?” What we were graced with on Wander Day Three, though, was some truly marvelous pitching from both the Rays and Red Sox, and a dual no-hitter that lasted into the fifth.
Pivetta, for his part, was pretty zesty for a dude who was retiring batters like he was the social security office. Several times he stomped into the dugout at the end of a half-inning and assaulted a cooler with his glove, or merely shouted at the vacant space around him. Sir, you just pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
Wacha was impressive as well. In the first inning he gave up one walk to Verdugo, but no hits, and no runs scored. Strikeout were absolutely the name of the game throughout the first innings of this matchup. Wacha started with two, then Pivetta had three in a row in the third. Clearly that explains why he was so mad.
In the second, Devers walked to start the inning, but again Wacha got himself under control to shut things down. Pivetta went 1-2-3 again. The third was straight 1-2-3s across the board for both teams.
Wacha continued the trend in the top of the fourth, and then in the bottom of the inning, Pivetta walked his first batter, sending Lowe to the plate. Arozarena hit into a double play to end the inning, so no harm no foul. Well, there were some fouls, but no harm.
The fifth inning saw the Rays give up their first hit, a Vazquez single. Vazquez, with a solid steal record, made a run for second, and then got safely to third thanks to a throwing error by catcher Mejia. The run didn’t get a chance to score, though, as Wacha safely ended the inning. It was also the end of the game for Wacha, who headed to the dugout with a final line of 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, on 75 pitches.
In the bottom of the inning Diaz got a walk, and then Ji-Man Choi got to have his own dugout meltdown when a loooooong hit was caught by former Ray Hunter Renfroe in a fairly spectacular catch. Choi was not terribly impressed.
A returning Drew Rasmussen came on in the sixth, gave up a single to Martinez, and a walk to Bogaerts, but the inning ended without any damage. Pivetta returned for the bottom of the inning, hit Lowe with a pitch, but didn’t give up any runs (or, notably, any hits).
Ryan Thompson came on for the Rays in the seventh, and he didn’t have the greatest inning. A leadoff double to Renfroe, and a Vasquez single, that he extended to second. Renfroe tried to go home but an absolute laser of a throw from Kevin Kiermaier got the runner out at the plate. The replay review could really have gone either way, but absolutely tipped in the Rays favor.
In the bottom of the seventh it was still Pivetta’s show, but after Meadows got safely to first on a fielding error, and then advanced to second on a Diaz groundout, ultimately the night was called for Pivetta, a no-hitter still intact after 6.2 innings.
The Red Sox came close to a real threat in the top of the eighth with a long hit that went right to the right-field wall, but was gobbled up revenge-style by Randy Arozarena. No runs scored, and the game remained goose-eggs on either side. The Rays made a valiant effort in the bottom of the inning with a Kiermaier double (sorry about that no-hitter), and a Lowe walk, but Franco grounded into a fielder’s choice, and Arozarena fouled out to Vasquez, who almost murdered a bat boy in the effort to get the ball.
Feyereisen, whose name I have not had to spell in awhile, came on for the top of the ninth. With one out, he gave up a walk to Devers. Then an utterly baffling play in which Kiermaier overthrew first, and the ball passed both Feyereisen and Mejia, allowed Devers to get to second safely, but thankfully the inning ended on the next at-bat.
The Rays were hoping to walk it off, and with two outs Manuel Margot lined a single to left. Margot stole second and the throw to tag him out was overthrown, with the error charged to Vasquez, and Margot ended up safely at third. Joey Wendle was walked intentionally, and Mejia came to the plate as the Rays last chance in the ninth.
And ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
A wild pitch from Barnes and Margot was able to score, and it was a wild pitch walk-off, thanks to Margot’s stellar baserunning efforts.
Final: Rays 1, Red Sox 0