The Boston Red Sox are in town, fresh off of a sweep of the Detroit Tigers, to begin a four-game series inside of Tropicana Field. Jalen Beeks will open for the 9-0 Rays, while Nick Pivetta gets the nod for the Red Sox.
Beeks worked a quick first inning, setting down all three Red Sox hitters and needing only 10 pitches in the process. He froze Rafael Devers on a fastball with one out in the inning to strike him out.
The red-hot Rays offense looked to get to Pivetta early, but he set down the first two Rays hitters on five pitches. Randy Arozarena was able to reach base with a single, and he moved up to second base with a steal, but Wander Franco struck out to end the inning.
The second inning for Beeks saw him allow a leadoff single to Masataka Yoshida, but Beeks left Yoshida stranding after striking out Rob Refsnyder and getting Alex Verdugo and Christian Arroyo to fly out.
Luke Raley continued his hot start to the year with a hard-hit double, but like Yoshida for the Red Sox, Raley was stranded on base after the next three hitters were unable to provide any offense.
Josh Fleming was brought in to pitch the top of the third, ending Beeks’ outing as the opener. Beeks was as good as you can ask for, allowing only one hit in his two innings of work while striking out two, throwing 27 pitches in his appearance.
Fleming entered looking to bounce back from a rough first start on the year, and he started his outing strong, striking out Triston Casas for his first out, getting Connor Wong to ground out for the second, and striking out Kiké Hernandez to retire the side.
In the bottom of the third, Yandy Diaz started things with a one-out single, and he moved up to second after Brandon Lowe drew a walk. Unfortunately for the Rays, Arozrena was robbed of a hit after Rob Refsnyder made a great sliding catch in center field, and Wander grounded out to end the inning.
Fleming worked another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the fourth, needing only 10 pitches to retire the Red Sox in order. Nick Pivetta countered Fleming’s strong inning with a 1-2-3 inning of his own.
The fifth inning saw the Red Sox record their first hit against Fleming, after Christian Arroyo hit a two-out single on a line drive to right, but he would be stranded on base with a Triston Casas line-out. Once again, however, Pivetta worked a similar inning to Fleming, allowing a baserunner on a walk of Yandy Diaz, but stranding that runner with a strikeout of Brandon Lowe.
With five innings completed and only an hour of time elapsed, the efficiency of both pitchers and the urgency of the pitch clock emphasized the need for offensive production. Fortunately for the Rays, with Josh Fleming locked in tonight, the Red Sox would not find that production in the sixth, as Fleming struck out two Boston batters in another 1-2-3 inning.
Unfortunately for the Rays, Nick Pivetta’s replacement in the bottom of the sixth, Josh Winckowski, was equally as sharp, retiring the Rays in order to send this game into the seventh inning.
Josh Fleming’s day came to an end in the seventh inning, with Kevin Cash continuing the left-handed pitcher trend by calling on Garrett Cleavinger to pitch. Fleming was better than the Rays could have asked for, throwing 47 pitches and allowing only one hit in four innings of work, with five batters punched out. Cleavinger extended the run of success by Rays pitching with another 1-2-3 inning.
Isaac Paredes hit an infield single with one out in the bottom of the seventh, and Vidal Brujan was brought in to pinch-run for him, but Brujan was thrown out at second when Manuel Margot grounded into a fielders choice, and the inning would end after Christian Bethancourt grounded out, moving this scoreless game on into the eighth.
Things finally got interesting in the eighth inning, and that was a direct result of Colin Poche entering the game. After walking leadoff hitter Alex Verdugo, pinch-hitter Bobby Dalbec singled after Christian Arroyo flew out. Poche got Conner Wong to line out for the inning’s second out, but that ball in play was hit at 102 mph, far from comforting off the bat.
With that second out in the books, Poche walked Kiké Hernandez to load the bases for Rafael Devers, but Devers watched a low fastball cross the plate for strike three, ending the inning with nothing for the Red Sox.
Chris Martin was brought in to work the bottom of the eighth for the Rex Sox, and he quickly got Yandy Diaz to pop out on his second pitch thrown. Brandon Lowe was next, and he was able to load the count and make Martin throw nine pitches. On Martin’s 10th pitch, this scoreless game had a score.
Bad news for our enemies:— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) April 11, 2023
B. Lowe is HOT pic.twitter.com/sNHhkn5dsG
Lowe smoked Martin’s 96 mph fastball, returning it 108 mph and sending it 404 feet into the right field seats, making it 1-0 Rays. He would be the only hit in the inning, but it was a huge one, all but ensuring the Rays extend their winning streak. It was up to Pete Fairbanks to close this one out and make that a reality.
Fairbanks was perfect in his inning of work, freezing Justin Turner with a 99 mph fastball to strike him out before getting the next two hitters to ground out, earning the save and grabbing the 10th Rays win on the season.
10-0. That’s double-digit wins without a loss. Our Tampa Bay Rays are having one hell of a start to this season, and it’s been pretty remarkable to watch. Shane McClanahan will take the mound tomorrow night for the Rays, looking to push the franchise-record start to the season even deeper into uncharted territory. First pitch inside of Tropicana Field will be at 6:40 pm.