BOSTON -- On Sunday the Tampa Bay Rays (63-61) used five pitchers, who combined for a two-hit 10 strike out performance while beating the Boston Red Sox 2-0. The Rays pitchers’ performance was supported by 2 solo home runs off two different Red Sox (88-37) pitchers.
Tampa Bay was planning on facing CY Young candidate Boston’s lefty Chris Sale. But Saturday night, Sale was placed back on the disabled list with more mild inflammation to his pitching shoulder. So the Rays caught somewhat of a break but still had to face righty Hector Velazquez, who entered the game undefeated this year.
Tampa Bay hitters entered the game 7 for 26 against Velazquez. And after the Rays could only muster a one out walk by leftfielder Jake Bauers in the top of the first, they got the only run their pitchers needed when Wendle hit a ball over the short wall in right-center, into the bullpen, giving the visitors the 1-0 lead.
While the Rays got that single run across early, manager Kevin Cash gave the ball to righty reliever Diego Castillo. And the rookie, making his first career start, faced six batters allowing one hit & throwing 19 pitches, some reaching 100 mph.
After Castillo, Rays manager Kevin Cash made the move to another rookie. After Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts doubled off Castillo, lefty Jalen Beeks came on in the bottom of the second & struck out second baseman Brock Holt to end the inning.
Beeks in the bottom third got the Red Sox in order on 15 pitches. The rookie, facing his former team for the first time, did run into some trouble in the next inning when the Red Sox got the first two batters on but designated hitter J.D. Martinez hit into his 14th double play of the season, this one going 6-4-3. Then Beeks got third baseman Eduardo Nunez to line out to leftfield, stranding a runner at third.
Beeks got another 6-4-3 double play in the fifth to do away with an error by Wendle & ended the inning by striking out centerfielder Jackie Bradley. And after throwing 9 pitches to get the first two Red Sox batters in the sixth, Beeks was removed.
Rays righty reliever Chaz Roe retired Red Sox first baseman Steve Pearce on a pop out to second to end the sixth, then got Boston 1-2-3 in the seventh, while striking out Martinez & Nunez.
As good as the Rays pitching was, Boston pitchers did well to match Tampa Bay. Although Velzaquez allowed baserunners in each of his four innings pitched, the Red Sox righty gave up just 3 hits in his four innings. And Boston pitcher Brandon Workman, who replaced Velazquez, did his best to keep the Red Sox deficit just one run by throwing two perfect innings.
Workman retired the six batters he faced but so did the Rays relievers that Cash used in the eighth & ninth inning. First lefty Jose Alvarado came on to strike out pinch hitter Ian Kinlser, catcher Blake Swihart & Bradley all in order. And in picking up his career 100th save, Rays reliever Sergio Romo threw 14 pitches to get Boston in order, ending the game by striking out another pinch hitter, Mitch Moreland.
In between the perfect innings by Alvarado & Romo, the Rays added an insurance run in the top of the 9th when first baseman C.J. Cron blasted a solo home run over the Green Monster, giving the Rays a two run lead.
The loss by Boston is just their fourth loss in their last 21 games overall & just the second time the Red Sox have been shutout at home. Also the win gave Tampa Bay just their fifth win in 16 games against Boston this year, with the Rays hosting the Red Sox during their upcoming homestand for the final time this season.
On Monday, Tampa Bay begins a four game series with Kansas City, with the Rays using Ryne Stanek (1-3 2.74) to start while the Royals counter with righty Jorge Lopez (0-2 4.44). Coverage begins on 620 WDAE at 6pm with Steve Carney & the Inside Pitch with first pitch scheduled for 7:10pm.