After the conclusion of a relatively low-stakes trade deadline for the Rays, there was still a ballgame to be played, and a key series against division rivals the Boston Red Sox no less.
The Rays kicked things off with Josh Fleming on the mound, and while he gave up an initial single to Hernandez, he managed to shut the rest of the Red Sox down in order. In the bottom of the inning the Rays decided to strike early. After two strikeouts, Meadows drew a walk, and then, how do we like to start the game? How about a Yandy Diaz two-run homer in the first inning?
In the top of the second, Fleming managed three straight fly outs to get through the Sox, and in the bottom of the inning, though Margot was able to safely get himself to first on an error by Dalbec, the Rays were unable to capitalize on their sole baserunner.
Arauz collected a two-out single in the top of the third, but the Red Sox didn’t manage to score a run. The Rays were able to bolster their lead slightly in the bottom of the inning. Cruz singled, then Diaz singled to advance Cruz into scoring position, and the Wander Franco doubled, easily scoring Cruz and Diaz and putting the Rays up 4-0.
It turns out that lead was a good thing (as leads so frequently are), because in the top of the fourth, the Red Sox got a bit of revenge. First Bogaerts singled, then Renfroe walked, Vazquez singled to score Bogaerts, then Dalbec singled to score Renfroe. Duran singled, then Arauz walked, loading the bases, but thankfully a pop out ended the inning with limited damage and the Rays maintaining their lead.
Turns out the Rays really liked having a four-run lead, because in the bottom of the fourth Zunino did what Zunino does, and hit a home run, then Randy Arozarena does what Randy does, and hit a solo home run himself. Cruz also collected a single, having a solid night himself, but he did not get a run.
Home run, home run, home run.
In the top of the fifth, Bogaerts got a single, then Renfroe hit a loooong double to bring Bogaerts home, bringing the score to 6-3. It was also the end of the night for Fleming how had a mixed bag of an evening with some solid innings and some, uh, less solid ones. His final line for the night was 5.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 0 HR on 99 pitches. In the bottom of the fifth, this happened...
Then a wild pitch from Red Sox reliever Rios (that very nerarly hit Brandon Lowe), Franco was easily able to trot home to give the Rays a 4-run lead yet again. Lowe drew the walk, but wasn’t able to add to the score.
The top of the sixth was a bit rocky for reliever Sherriff, with Arauz getting another two-out single, then advancing to second on a passed ball. Hernandez walked, but Sherriff got out of it unscathed. In the bottom of the inning the Rays were set down in order.
The same was true for the Red Sox in the top of the seventh as newly acquired reliever JT Chargois had a very tidy first outing as a Ray.
Though Meadows was able to draw a lead-off walk in the bottom of the inning, and Diaz doubled to deep right, Meadows was unfortunately tagged out at home, denying the Rays an additional lead. Lowe was intentionally walked, but the Rays left the inning scoreless.
Vazquez singled to lead things off for the Red Sox in the top of the eighth, but three back-to-back outs for reliever Head proved to be more than a match for the Sox. An Arozarena single in the bottom of the inning, but Cruz hit into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
All down to the ninth inning and Springs put the Red Sox down in order and put the Rays half a game back of first place in the East.
Final: Rays 7, Red Sox 3