The Tampa Bay Rays secured their first win over the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox with a thrilling 2-1 victory at Fenway Park.
Charlie Morton quieted the Red Sox bats early, while the Rays bullpen survived some tense moments late, with Emilio Pagan shutting the door in the ninth.
A cold and blustery day awaited the Rays after almost three days of not playing baseball. The gametime temperature was 53 degrees, and members of both teams were bundled up in layers.
And as the Rays hadn't played in almost 72 hours, you could excuse them if they came out flat, but that wasn't the case today.
Yandy Diaz took former Ray David Price deep over the fabled Green Monster on the second pitch of the ballgame, his seventh homer of the season, giving the Rays a very early 1-0 lead.
But while Diaz's bat was warm, you couldn't say the same thing for the Rays' defense. The Sox had baserunners in the first two innings because of infield miscues. Second baseman Daniel Robertson had a ball go under his glove that allowed Mitch Moreland to reach base in the first.
In the second, with Michael Chavis at first, a grounder into the shift by Steve Pearce allowed Chavis to reach second safely, as shortstop Willy Adames got to the bag just a bit late. Morton got out of that jam by inducing Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez to ground out to Adames.
And in the third, Adames threw poorly to Diaz at First on a grounder by Mookie Betts, allowing Betts to reach second.
In the fourth, the Rays scratched across their second run, and could have had more. Tommy Pham led off the inning with a double and Robertson worked a walk. After Avisail Garcia struck out swinging, Mike Zunino lined an RBI single off the Monster.
With only one out, Kevin Kiermaier singled to left to load the bases. Sox leftfielder Andrew Benintendi was very shallow in left when he played the ball, and Roberston was held at third. The next two batters couldn't bring across any more runners, as Guillermo Heredia struck out swinging, and Adames grounded out to third.
The Rays got no runner past second for the remainder of the game.
Morton went six innings for his third win, allowing only two hits. He was a little wild, walking four, but he did strike out five Boston hitters.
Chaz Roe started the seventh and struck out Pearce swinging, then walked Jackie Bradley, Jr. After getting Vazquez to fly out, Rays Manager Kevin Cash called for Adam Kolarek, who struck out the left-handed hitting Benintendi to end the inning.
The Rays thought they had it set up for them for the last two innings, planning for set-up man Diego Castillo in the eighth and closer Jose Alvarado in the ninth. But as you may recall from the last series with the Red Sox, they seem to have found the key to beat both Castillo and Alvarado.
On Castillo's second pitch to Mookie Betts, the reigning American League MVP homered to center field, cutting the Rays lead in half. Castillo then got Mitch Moreland to fly out, and then walked Xander Bogaerts on four pitches. Cash had seen enough and called for his closer.
Alvarado promptly gave up a hard single to Rafael Devers, advancing Bogaerts to third. The Rays closer then struck out Chavis and then walked Pearce to load the bases. Alvarado got out of the inning by striking out Bradley Jr. on a 3-2 pitch.
After Alvarado threw 21 pitches to get out of the eighth, Cash called on Pagan to shut the door in the ninth. And after a leadoff single by Vazquez, Pagan struck out Benintendi, got Betts on a fielder's choice, and struck out Moreland to end the game.
*Price took the loss and is now 1-2.
*It'll be Tyler Glasnow, who is 4-0, against Chris Sale, with an opposite 0-4 record, scheduled to start in Sunday's game, which is slated for 1:05.
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