The way Monday night's game against the Boston Red Sox started, one would have thought the Tampa Bay Rays would be continuing their road-losing ways. But the Rays showed the resilience established in this past weekend's series against the Yankees, slowly chipping away at the Red Sox' first-inning 3-0 lead, and taking the lead for good in the 7th inning on their way to a nerve-wracking 8-7 win over the Sox, their first road win of the shortened 2020 season.
Kevin Kiermaier provided the go-ahead runs in the seventh with a 2-run double off Red Sox reliever Jeffrey Springs, who gave up back-to-back singles to Yoshi Tsutsugo and Manuel Margot, respectively, to start the inning.
Margot added an RBI double in the eighth to conclude his 4-for-4 night to give the Rays an 8-5 lead. But the Red Sox also chipped away in their half of the eighth on a two-run single by Jonathan Arauz off Jose Alvarado to make it 8-7. Alvarado then got Kevin Pillar to ground into a forceout to end the inning.
The Rays survived tense moments again in the ninth, but Andrew Kittredge closed out the game by striking out Michael Chavis, stranding J.D. Martinez, who singled with one out in the frame.
Tampa Bay took their first lead in the sixth, as Ji-Man Choi, batting right-handed against Boston lefty reliever Jeffrey Springs, lined an RBI single, bringing home Michael Perez, who singled to lead off the inning.
Boston quickly got that run back in their half of the inning, as Kevin Plawecki drove in Chavis, who led off the inning with a double off Chaz Roe.
In all, the Rays' slumping bottom of the lineup went 9-for-17 on the night, including two hits each for Perez and Kiermaier, and the aforementioned four for Margot. Those three drove in six of the eight Rays runs, with the other two coming on Choi's single in the sixth and an RBI triple by Joey Wendle in the fifth, which tied the game at four.
Rays' starter Ryan Yarbrough got off to a tough start, allowing three runs in the first on three hits. Yarbrough lasted four and a third innings, allowing four runs on five hits. Aaron Loup picked up his first win in relief, striking out three, with Kittredge earning his first save. Springs took the loss for the Red Sox, allowing three runs on five hits in one and a third innings of work.
Game two of this four-game set will get under way Tuesday at 7:30, and you can hear all the action on 95.3 WDAE and AM 620. Kittredge will be the opener for the Rays, and he'll face off against Martin Perez.
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