Poche Stars but Takes Loss in Twinbill Nightcap

The Rays looked to continue the success they have had this year in Boston after winning the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, having been 4-0 at Fenway Park in 2019. They are now 4-1 at Fenway after losing the nightcap of the twinbill to the Red Sox 5-1.

The stars of the game were a former Ray, and a Ray making his major-league debut. Former Ray David Price shut the Rays’ bats down in his six innings of work, while rookie Colin Poche, who ended up taking the loss, pitched impressively in his debut.

Ryne Stanek opened and only lasted 1 1/3 innings as after getting the first out of the second inning, he gave up back-to-back walks to Brock Holt and Christian Vazquez. Kevin Cash decided to bring in the lefthander Poche to face two lefties in the defending world champions' lineup, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Marco Hernandez. Not only did he face them, he took them down as Poche got Bradley to pop up and struck out Hernandez to end the inning and keep the game scoreless.

Poche's luck wasn't so great to start the third, as both Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi singled on 0-2 counts. But Poche fought back, once again got ahead 0-2 on the next hitter, Xander Bogaerts, and struck him out swinging for the first out. Rafael Devers also came back from an 0-2 hole to even the count, but Poche struck Devers out. Cash removed Poche after Devers' strikeout for Austin Pruitt, who promptly gave up a 2-run double to Michael Chavis, giving the Sox a 2-0 lead. Those runs were credited to Poche.

Meanwhile, Price cruised through the first four innings, striking out seven while allowing only a Mike Zunino single in the second.

But Price opened up the top of the fifth with a four-pitch walk to Willy Adames. He then balked Adames to second, who advanced to third on a Zunino groundout. Kevin Kiermaier then hit a grounder to first baseman Chavis, who threw home and nabbed Adames, running on contact, at the plate. Christian Arroyo then reached on an infield single, and Kiermaier advanced to third on a throwing error by Devers. Guillermo Heredia then doubled home Kiermaier for the Rays’ lone run of the game.

The Red Sox would get that run back in the bottom of the inning, as Betts led off with a double off the fabled Green Monster. Andrew Benintendi grounded out, moving Betts to third, and Bogaerts hit a sac fly to Avisail Garcia, scoring Betts from third.

The Rays last threat came in the sixth, as Yandy Diaz led off with a single. Austin Meadows followed with a strikeout, then Garcia reached on an infield single. Adames then struck out looking at a pitch about a baseball or two outside that home plate umpire Laz Diaz was calling a strike all night long, prompting catcalls from the Rays’ dugout. Zunino walked to load the bases, but Kiermaier popped out to end the inning.

Price was done after the sixth, and over his 103 pitches, he allowed a run on five hits, striking out 10 and walking two. With that effort, Price picked up his fourth win of the season against two losses.

The Red Sox extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth as Pruitt walked Chavis and Brock Holt followed with a sharp single up the middle. Christian Vazquez advanced the runners on a sacrifice bunt, and then Pruitt walked Bradley intentionally after falling behind 3-0. Marco Hernandez then lined a two-run double off the Monster, providing Boston’s final runs.

* Of Poche’s 24 pitches, 21 were for strikes.

*The final game of the series is scheduled for 1:05 Sunday afternoon. The Rays will start Blake Snell (3-5, 3.68 ERA), while the BoSox counter with Eduardo Rodriguez (6-3, 4.88 ERA).

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