Oh my lord, what a game. I don’t know what to say except gestures wildly. Let me explain. No, there is too much.
Let me sum up.
On a bullpen day, JP Mustache was sharp, rolling through his two innings with a six up and six down. This included a nice K of Devers where the Red Sox third baseman just didn’t have a long enough bat, and an overpowering K of Jackie Bradley Jr.
In the second, Zunino also got by with a little help from his friends.
Garrett Whitlock got his first big league start for Boston and sat down the side order thrice, including striking out the side in the second.
Javy Guerra took over for Firehydrant in the third. He looked good in recording two out, and he was helped out by Wander Franchise.
A walk and a dropped liner by BLowe put two on and ended Guerra’s day. Jeffrey Springs came on to face Devers and coaxed a pop out to BLowe.
Springs was back out for the fourth and made Xander Bogaerts look silly, fanning him on a nasty change. Another dazzling play by Franco retired Verdugo on review.
Upon further review: Wander is still incredible— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 23, 2022
(Also, the runner was actually out) pic.twitter.com/QFxx4qsKRD
There was squeezing going on in walks to Hernández and Bradley, but Springs bounced back to fan Dalbec on three changeups.
We were a little surprised to see Whitlock come back out in the fourth, and things looked promising for the good guys when BLowe recorded the Rays first hit, hammering a 1-1 sinker into the right field corner for a double. But the Rays were unable to get ‘em over or get ‘em in as Whitlock retired the next three. Whitlock struck out seven of the 13 he faced.
Springs was back out for the top of the fifth. He easily retired Vazquez and Refsnyder before giving way to Jason Adam against the top of the order. Adam was wild, nearly hitting Story twice before walking him. Adam settled down after that, giving up a steal by Story before getting Devers to fly to left.
Austin Davis took over for the Sox in the fifth. Kiermaier drew a two out walk but that was it.
Public Service Announcement: You’ll be forgiven for not noticing that the Rays had a Thing going, given that they walked five. But a Thing they have indeed. Keep that in mind as we go to the sixth.
Bogaerts had a really rough at bat leading off. Home plate ump Ed Hikcox — who had a really bad game — called a strike on a check swing that was a strike and wasn’t even close. Adam then buzzed him again on a change that kept riding in. Finally, Adam got him chase one up and out of the zone for strike three.
Adam continued to fight himself, walking Verdugo on four pitches. He left a fat pitch up to Hernández that ended up a harmless fly to center, then left another one middle up that Bradley hit just shy of the warning track in right.
Kutter Crawford got the bottom of the sixth for the Red Sox. Zunino’s liner to right stayed up for the first out. Story then robbed BLowe on a liner to short right field. And then Franco (checks notes) struck out? Wait, that can’t be right.
Oh well, on to the seventh!
Ryan Thompson got the ball, trying to protect the oh-ney itter-hey. But really, just trying to keep Boston off the board. And he did just that, getting Dalbec to fly to left, Vazquez to fly to right, and Shaw — pinch hitting for Refsnyder — to ground to third.
Crawford stayed on for the Rays half of the seventh, getting Randy to tap out to third, fanning Choi on 97 up and out of the zone, and getting Josh Lowe upstairs.
To the eighth!
Kitt relieved Thompson to face the top of the order. Story fouled out to Choi, then Devers lined 102.8 to the box that Kitt knocked down and shoveled to first. Bogaerts then put good wood on it to the big part of park, with KK setting under it in center.
Look fellas, if we don’t score, none of this matters. So let’s scratch one out and give these pitchers a chance at something special. Okay?
Okay. Crawford still out there against Walls, who stuck out on four pitches.
KK’s chance. Who also struck out three pitches.
Phillips? A single! Stung hard through the right side for the Rays second hit of the game.
Come on, Zunino. You’re due!
Zunino gave it a ride! But it’s to straightaway center, and is hauled by Hernández with one foot on the track.
I got a bad feeling about this. But here we go, to the ninth!
Verdugo hunted first pitch against Kitt, and popped to shallow center. Hernandez follows with a foul to third, and JBJ grounds out to a shifted Wander.
Can we pleeeez walk this off?
Tyler Danish came on for the Red Sox to face the top of the order. BLowe worked a seven pitch walk to set up Franco. After Wander lobbed a 1-2 pitch just foul up the third base line, he grounded into a fielder’s choice, with Lowe getting forced at second. Arozarena then grounded into a tailor made 6-4-3.
I’m exhausted. To the tenth!
With JBJ as the Manfred Man, Matt Wisler took over against Dalbec. On an 0-2 count, Dalbec slices a fly into the right field corner. The ball just eluded the glove of the sliding Phillips. By the time all the running was done, JBJ had scored and Dalbec was standing on third with a triple.
Really, baseball gods? That’s how you break up our no-hitter? Grrrrrrr.
Vazquez then hit a fly deep to left that scored Dalbec. 2-0 Boston.
After Shaw lined out to right, Story hooked a lined single to left. But Wisler buckled down and fanned Devers.
Okay, let’s get this over with.
Hansel Robles came on to close as Randy took his position at second base. Choi struck out four pitches. JLowe struck out on five pitches. And Taylor Walls — oh wait, Randy gets balked to third. Not that that matters.
So. Where were we? Oh, on 0-2, Taylor Walls grounds out to second. And that’s the
Oh! Wait! Story’s throw goes wide!
2-1, and the Rays have a tiny bit of hope. It’s up to KK to keep it going. On the 2-1 pitch, Walls swiped second. Then, on the 3-1 pitch, Robles got way too much play, and KK didn’t miss, smoking it into the right field stands!
THAT’S A WALK OFF! RAYS WIN! RAYS WIN! RAYS WIN!
KK’s first even walk off homer!
Oh, if you needed more convincing that pitcher wins are dumb, the guy who gave up the no hitter and was tagged with all the runs (Wisler) of course gets the win.
Oh my. I’m exhausted. We gotta play again tomorrow? Geez.
Get some sleep, Rays fans. You deserve it!