#RedSox Game Summary (September 16) Staying in front. The Red Sox maintained their thin lead over the Rays (gained in the 2nd inning on a solo homer by Mookie Betts off Rays starter Alex Cobb) for several innings, thanks to the skillful work of starter Rick Porcello. In ultimately winning this game, they also maintain their thin 3 game lead over the surging New York Yankees. Boston picked up 2 more runs in the 6th inning when Christian Vázquez singled and exchanged places with Andrew Benintendi in a fielder’s choice, Benny then reached 2nd on a balk by Cobb, and stole 3rd, scoring on a Betts single. Betts advanced to 2nd when Mitch Moreland walked, and scored on a Rafael Devers double. Porcello kept the Rays off the scoreboard through 7 with an economical use of pitches, but faltered in the 8th, allowing a double to Adeiny Hechavarria, who reached 3rd when Vázquez allowed a passed ball as Brad Miller walked. Addison Reed came on with 1 out and runners at the corners. When, after putting Kevin Kiermaier out on a force at first, Moreland threw the ball away (it hit the back of Miller), Hechavarria scored what would prove to be Tampa Bay’s only run. Because of the error, the run was unearned. Reed finished off the inning, and Craig Kimbrel closed out without incident. Moreland also doubled in the game, as did the Rays’ Evan Longoria. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 3-1, at Tropicana Field. Record: 85-63. Game 148/14.
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#RedSox Game Summary (September 15) Wake-up call. it may have taken 15 innings, but the Red Sox got a clear message: time to turn it on. Chris Sale had a disappointing start, giving up 4 runs on 6 hits and an unusual 3 walks over just 5 2/3rds innings, with 9 punch-outs. Kevin Kiermaier was a major force for Tampa Bay, notably contributing 2 hits in 6 at-bats, including a home run, but 2 critical and amazingly athletic catches in the outfield. The Sox opened the scoring in the 1st when Xander Bogaerts was hit by Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese, advanced to 2nd on a fielder’s choice, and score on a single by Andrew Benintendi. The Rays matched that run when Kiermaier singled and scored on an Evan Longoria single. In the 4th, Mitch Moreland’s solo bomb put the Sox ahead, 2-1, but that lead was short lived. After Sale walked Trevor Plouffe, Wilson Ramos hit a 2 run jack to put Tampa Bay ahead. In the 6th, Adeiny Hechavarria homered, to end Sale’s night. The Rays picked up another run on a solo blast by Wilson Ramos in the 8th off Matt Barnes, to make the score 5-2, Rays. But in the 9th, Boston mounted a heroic comeback, when Mitch Moreland walked, reached 2nd on a wild pitch by Tampa Bay reliever Alex Colome, and scored on a fielding error by Danny Espinosa. Rafael Devers, who reached on that error, got to 2nd on a Christian Vázquez single, and scored on a Sandy León single. Rajai Davis, who pinch-ran for León, scored on a Bogaerts single to tie the score. On we went to extra innings. In the 14th, Mookie Betts singled, reached 2nd on a Moreland single, and scored on a single by Rafael Devers. Kiermaier homered for Tampa Bay in the bottom of the inning to re-tie the score. In the 15th, the Sox blew the game open, as Jackie Bradley, Jr. walked, reached 2nd on a Bogaerts single, and scored on an error when Dustin Pedroia reached on a fielding error by Rays 2nd baseman Brad Miller. Andrew Benintendi drove in Bogaerts. Another Rays error allowed Devers to reach base, and Benintendi to score. Deven Marrero’s double drove in 2 more runs. Marrero scored on a Bogaerts single, to establish an insurmountable 7 run lead. Marrero and Betts also doubled in the game, as did the Rays’ Peter Bourjos. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 13-6 in 15 innings, at Tropicana Field. Record: 84-63. Game 147/15.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 10) No spark. With both Dustin Pedroia and Eduardo Núñez out of the lineup, these Red Sox seemed to lack the juice they needed to get going. They scored just 1 run against Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb, and that came in the 2nd inning, when Mitch Moreland walked, reached 2nd on a fielder’s choice, and scored on a single by Christian Vázquez. All in all, the Sox went 5-for-30 with 3 walks in the game. They only Boston batter with multiple hits was Vázquez, who is making his case for a lucrative contract at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Boston starter Rick Porcello was managing the game pretty well until the 5th, when he surrendered a double to Brad Miller and singles to Wilson Ramos, Kevin Kiermaier, and Evan Longoria for 2 runs. In the 6th, Sox reliever Brandon Workman gave up a solo bomb to Ramos, and in the 8th, the Rays’ Lucas Duda homered off Robby Scott. Duda also had a double in the game. Now they get a day off to consider how to approach the stretch drive, before getting into it with the lowly Oakland A’s. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 4-1, at Fenway Park. Record: 81-62. Game 143/19.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 9) Benny and the jets. Andrew Benintendi had a great game, going 3-for-5 with a double off Tampa Bay starter Matt Andriese, and that, plus aggressive hitting and running (including stolen bases by Eduardo Núñez and Mookie Betts) helped power this laugher over the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox got on the board right away when Núñez singled and scored after a 2 run Dustin Pedroia bullet to the top shelf of the Monster (La Luna!) was followed by Betts’ single, theft of 2nd, and advance to 3rd on a throwing error, resulting in a 3rd run on a fielder’s choice. In the 2nd, after a pair of singles, Pedey walked to load the bases for Andrew Benintendi, whose double plated 2 more runs. After Andreiese IW’ed Betts, Mitch Moreland drove in Pedey and Benny with a long single, and Hanley Ramírez reached on a throwing error that allowed Mookie to score. In the 3rd, 3 consecutive singles off Rays reliever Austin Pruitt by Xander Bogaerts, the Laser Show, and Benny, produced one more run. Rafael Devers and Moreland also doubled in the game. Chris Sale was solid in this game, going 6 shutout innings, while giving up 6 hits and 1 walk, while whiffing 8. He was relieved after 97 pitches because, well, with this kind of lead, why not? The bullpen finished things fairly well after that. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 9-0, at Fenway Park. Record: 81-61. Game 142/20.
#RedSox Game Summary (September 8) Just the way they Drew it up. You are free to cringe at that, but Drew Pomeranz won his 15th against 5 losses with a strong start for Boston. He finished with 2 run on 2 hits and 2 walks, with 7 punch-outs. The runs came in the 5th, when the Rays’ Brad Miller singled, and scored on a 2 run blast by Jesús Sucre. The Sox started the scoring, with a 3 run first off Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer. Dustin Pedroioa singled, Andrew Benintendi doubled, and both scored on a 3 run line drive off the base of the Pesky pole by Mookie Betts. In the 4th, Rafael Devers doubled, Christian Vázquez singled, and Devers scored on a Jackie Bradley, Jr. single. A fielding error brought in Vazquez, and JBJ scored on an Andrew Benintendi single. Hanley Ramírez drove in another run with a single, and a double plan plated one more. In the 7th, Christian Vazquez doubled off Rays reliever Ryne Stanek to plate the 9th run. Tampa Bay is playing for pride, and Boston is taking full advantage. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 9=3. Record: 80-61. Game 141/21.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 9) Thank you, thank you very much. Sox fans would like to express their appreciation to the Tampa Bay Rays for all the gift runs and scoring opportunities set up by the 2 errors, 2 wild pitches, and passed ball in this game. Not that the Sox didn’t make enough noise to win anyway, but those blunders sure took the pressure off. This was not a heavy hitting game for Boston, though Andrew “Benny” Benintendi went 3-for-5 with a double, Brock Holt also doubled, and Eduardo Núñez provided a couple of clutch hits. Benny drew first blood with his double, scoring on a fielding error by Rays starter Jake Odirizzi. The 5th was the big inning for Boston, as four hits, two intentional walks, a passed ball, and a wild pitch all contributed to a 5 run explosion. In the 8th, Holt’s double set up a score on a throwing error by Tampa Bay first baseman Trevor Plouffe. Sandy Leone, who had reached on that error, scored on a wild pitch by Rays reliever Sergio Romo. Rick Porcello had a solid start, with his only runs yielded in solo jacks by Adeiny Hechavarria and Brad Miller in the 6th inning. In the end, Rick went 6 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits and 2 walks, with 7 Ks. He also had an immaculate inning in the 5th (3 consecutive strikeouts on just 9 pitches total). This game seems to show that when things are going well, they tend to go even better. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 8-2, at Tropicana Field. Record: 65-49. Game 114/48.
#RedSox Game Summary (August 8) Low priced Sale. Chris Sale was not given much to work with, but he didn’t need much, as he blanked the Rays, and his shutout work was completed by Craig Kimbrel. Sale went 8 shutout innings, giving up just 2 hits and one walk with 13 strikeouts. The first Boston run came in the 4th when Rays starter Austin Pruitt walked Dustin Pedroia. He reached 2nd on an Andrew Benintendi single, got to 3rd on a Mookie Betts fielder’s choice, and scored on another fielder’s choice on Rafael Devers. The second came in the 9th on a series of singles by Xander Bogaerts, Mitch Moreland, and Jackie Bradley, Jr. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 2-0, at Tropicana Field. Record: 64-49. Game 113/49.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 9) Fallen from the tightwire. This was a taut game, a real white knuckler, until the 8th inning, with masterful performances by both Boston’s David Price and Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer, who both ended up with no-decisions. Mookie Betts got things going, by leading off the game with a solo bomb to left center. The Rays came right back in the bottom of the 1st, when Steven Souza, Jr. doubled and scored on a hit by Evan Longoria. The Rays went ahead when Souza walked, advanced to 3rd on a Corey Dickerson double, and scored on a sac fly, to make the score 2-1. In the 7th, Dustin Pedroia rescued the game with a 2 run homer to right, giving Boston a thin 3-2 lead, and ending Archer’s day. But in the bottom of the inning, the Rays tied it up when reliever Matt Barnes walked Mallex Smith, who reached 2nd on a sacrifice bunt, got to 3rd on a Souza single and scored on a sac fly by Dickerson. Score is tied; time to reach for the Maalox. Meanwhile, the Rays bullpen was keeping Boston hitters stifled. Finally, in the bottom of the 8th, fireballer Joe Kelly, who had gotten the last 2 outs of the 7th, was on the mound, and we hoped for a 3 up, 3 down inning. Not so much. First, he walked Logan Morrison. Walking the leadoff hitter is always bad. Then after 2 outs, he hung a curveball to Brad Miller, who lofted it just over the fence in center field. Done, and done. The Sox now enter the All Star break having seemingly lost all their recent momentum, giving up 3 out of 4 to the Tampa Bay Rays. Let’s hope they get their mojo back when play resumes on Friday. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 5-3, at Tropicana Field. Record: 50-39. Game 89/73.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 8) Cans of corn on Cobb. Tampa Bay starter Alex Cobb is not an overpowering pitcher, and his stats are only average, but today he was dominant. Not a big strikeout guy, he was putting the Red Sox away on routine ground balls and cans of corn. But he gave up just 2 hits and 1 walk over 7 2/3rds scoreless innings while whiffing 3, and Alex Colomé’s late breaking sliders for the remaining four outs were enough to shut out Boston at the Trop. Rick Porcello actually had an excellent day himself, giving up just 1 run on 6 hits and no walks over 8 innings while striking out 7, but that one run was all the Rays would need. It came in the 2nd inning, when Steven Souza, Jr. singled to lead off, reached 2nd on a subsequent single, and third on a fielder’s choice. He scored on a sac fly by Jesus Sucre. Evan Longoria doubled in the game, and Mallex Smith tripled, but neither scored. Outstanding fielding plays by Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and Dustin Pedroia helped keep the Rays in check. Mitch Moreland also doubled in the game, off Colomė. Tampa Bay beat Boston, 1-0, at Tropicana Field. Record: 50-38. Game 88/74.
#RedSox Game Summary (July 7) Rays of sunshine. The Red Sox went yard (in Eck terms) against Tampa Bay starter Jake Odorizzi frequently enough to roll over the Rays. They got all the runs they would need in the 3rd inning, when Tzu-Wei Lin singled, Mookie Betts drove him in with a double, and after an Adam Benintendi single scored Betts, Dustin Pedroia capped it off with a 2 run blast to center (La luna!). Jackie Bradley, Jr. added another with a solo bomb in the 4th. In the 5th, the Sox loaded the bases on a single and 2 walks, setting up JBJ with the bases loaded, whom Odorizzi promptly walked to force in a run and earn his exit from the game. A ground out by Christian Vázquez provided another score. Hanley Ramirez put the icing on the cake with a 9th inning solo dinger that provided Boston with an 8th run. Drew Pomeranz turned in a solid start, going 6 innings, while giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 5 walks, striking out 6. The Tampa Bay runs off Pomeranz came in the 2nd, when Wilson Ramos doubled to drive in one run, and scored on a Brad Miller single. They tacked on a third run in the 7th when Seven Souza, Jr. hit a solo big fly to center off reliever Heath Hembree. Hembree also gave up a double to Corey Dickerson. Miller also doubled in the game off Pomeranz, but did not score. Boston beat Tampa Bay, 8-3, at Tropicana Field. Record: 50-37. Game 87/75.