It certainly felt like we were watching the pitcher who should be starting the All-Star Game next week, though with Dusty Baker at the helm of Team American League, it’s unlikely Shane McClanahan will get the much-deserved nod. And that’s okay, in a sense, because we’ve been able to see him pitch games like this all season.
Things began efficiently for both teams, with a 1-2-3 inning for both sides in the first. The second inning started much the same, and it wasn’t until the bottom of the second that the first baserunner for either team got aboard in the form of a walk to Randy Arozarena with two outs.
The third started with another 1-2-3 for Shane, and then it was turned over to the Rays for the first scoring runs of the game. Josh Lowe got a leadoff walk, then Mejia singled. Diaz grounded into a fielders choice that looked likely to be a double play but the Red Sox just couldn’t turn it and had to settle for the one out at second in the form of Mejia. Choi then singled to score Lowe, followed by a Ramirez single to score Diaz. The Rays ended the third up 2-0.
The first hit off McClanahan came in the fourth with a Devers double, who ended up getting tagged out later trying for third. In the bottom of the inning Taylor Walls hit a solo homer to give a little extra depth to the Rays’ lead.
In the fifth the Red Sox bit back a little, Bogaerts singled, then Verdugo singled right after him. Vazquez grounded into a double play but it was enough to get Bogaerts home and put the Sox on the board. The bottom of the fifth the Rays went down in order.
No surprises here, but in the sixth the Red Sox were three up, three down, and the Rays followed suit in the bottom of the inning.
McClanahan faced one batter in the seventh before getting the hook from Kevin Cash, and his final line for the night was 6.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K on 85 pitches. Efficient, and dare I say a little sexy? I guess I just did. Adam came out in relief, and gave up a double to Bogaerts, but the Red Sox could not convert the baserunner into any additional runs. In the bottom of the inning Lowe got a one-out walk, then a Diaz single managed to score Lowe. Now, calling it a single is the official scoring, but it was definitely more error-like, but who’s complaining when it scores a run? Choi walked, but the Rays would have to settle for just the one run.
Thompson was the new reliever for the eighth and had a nice 1-2-3 inning. In the bottom of the eighth Arozarena was the lone baserunner, drawing his second walk of the night.
Poche came on for the ninth hoping to shut things down and come away with the win. He gave up a single to Refsnyder, and a little help from a nice Taylor Walls catch helped him keep the Red Sox from scoring any more runs.
Final: Rays 4, Red Sox 1