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Rays 3, Red Sox 2: Kluber’s great start paved the way to a W

The bullpen did their jobs, too, as three runs from the offense was enough to take back second place in the AL East

Boston Red Sox v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Rays are home and looking to take back second place in the AL East tonight against the Boston Red Sox, who they beat 10-5 last night to open the series. Corey Kluber is on the mound for the Rays against Chris Sale, who is making his first start on the season with Boston.

Corey Kluber had an electric start to the game, striking out the Red Sox side of Duran, Vazquez and Devers and needing 15 pitches to do so.

Harold Ramirez reached base with a one-out single to right, but was stranded there after newly acquired catcher Christian Bethancourt flew out and Isaac Paredes lined out.

Kluber worked another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second, setting down the Red Sox lineup on 10 pitches. The Rays also went down 1-2-3, sending this game to the third.

Kluber looked just as strong in the third, striking out Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec in another 1-2-3 inning. Yu Chang got the inning going with a leadoff single up the middle, and moved up to second on a Yandy Diaz walk with one out in the inning, but both runners were stranded after Harold Ramirez flew out and Christian Bethancourt struck out.

The first mistake for Kluber came in the fourth inning, as he walked Jarren Duran to begin the inning, but on the very next pitch, he got Christian Vazquez to ground into a double play, keeping his batters faced count at the minimum. Devers grounded out to end the inning, completing his fourth inning of work with only 52 pitches thrown.

Isaac Paredes got this going with a liner to left that was caught by Alex Verdugo but dropped when he hit the wall, allowing Paredes to reach second. Arozarena moved Paredes up to third with a grounder for the first out in the inning. Ji-Man Choi hit a sharp grounder to second, but Trevor Story made a great diving stop to hold Paredes at third. Taylor Walls flew out to end the inning.

The fifth inning was less-than-ideal after Kluber struck out Xander Bogaerts to start it off. Alex Verdugo reached on a bloop single, and pinch-hitter Jeter Downs followed that up with a bloop single of his own, moving Verdugo up to third. Downs entered the game after Trevor Story was hit on his hand by a pitch.

Franchy Cordero bunted, allowing Verdugo to score and moving Downs to second. Bobby Dalbec hit a ball deep to left center field, and it looked like Brett Phillips was going to make the catch, but he overran it and missed the catch, allowing Dalbec to reach third and plating the Red Sox second run of the game. Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to end the inning.

The Rays went down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts in Sale’s fifth inning of work. Kluber stayed out to pitch the top of the sixth and went back to throwing well, allowing a single but striking out one in a scoreless inning of work.

Harold Ramirez got things going in the bottom of the sixth, facing new pitcher Ryan Brasier and hitting a single off him. Isaac Paredes walked with one out in the inning, but Randy Arozarena struck out to put two outs on the board. Matt Strahm was brought in to face Ji-Man Choi, but Francisco Mejia was brought in to hit for him.

Mejia did his job, hitting a liner up the middle and scoring Ramirez, making it a 2-1 ballgame. Taylor Walls hit a ball up the middle that hit Strahm, who overthrew first base after picking the ball up, allowing Paredes to score. On the throw home, the ball missed the catcher, and Francisco Mejia took advantage, sprinting towards the plate and making it in safe to give the Rays a 3-2 lead.

Strahm exited with an injury following the hectic play, with Kaleb Ort entering to try and get Boston out of the jam. Yu Chang struck out to end the inning, with Jalen Beeks taking the mound for the top of the seventh. Kluber had six strong innings of work, allowing two runs on four hits while only walking one. He struck out seven hitters and threw 88 pitches.

Beeks had a shaky beginning to his inning, allowing a double to Verdugo and a single to Downs, putting runners on the corners. Francisco Mejia gave Beeks a helping hand, throwing a laser to third to pick off Verdugo and record the first out in the inning.

Cordero struck out, and pinch-hitter Rob Refsnyder popped out to end the inning, keeping the lead in tact. The Rays went down 1-2-3 to Red Sox reliever John Schreiber in the bottom of the seventh.

Beeks stayed in to work the top of the eighth, and he was much better, seeing three batters and setting down three batters with a strikeout in the mix. The Red Sox went to reliever Hirokazu Sawamura, but he worked a mostly clean inning with only a walk in the mix.

Brooks Raley took the mound in the top of the ninth to try and close this one out for the Rays, and he got the first out on five pitches after Xander Bogaerts popped out to lead off the inning. Raley set down Alex Verdugo with a strikeout, but walked Jeter Downs. Raley struck out Cordero on three-straight sliders to end this one and grab the victory.

The Rays secured the series win over the Red Sox after tonight’s 3-2 win, and it took a great effort from every pitcher that saw the mound, led by Corey Kluber. The Rays will try and secure the series win tomorrow night at Tropicana Field, with AL All-Star Shane McClanahan taking the mound against Red Sox starter Josh Winckowski, first pitch scheduled for 7:10 pm.