After winning their first series of the season Saturday, the Red Sox went ahead and capped off their first series sweep of the year with a 4-3 extra innings win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Easter Sunday.
Getting the start against his former club in this one was David Price, fresh off his best start of the season in his last time out against the Baltimore Orioles.
In what was his fourth outing of the year, the left-hander surrendered two runs, both earned, on five hits and two walks to go along with a season-high 10 strikeouts over five impressive innings of work on the afternoon.
Other than two walks allowed in the first, the only real trouble Price ran into came in Tampa Bay’s half of the third, when back-to-back singles to leadoff the frame resulted in the two first two runs of the day crossing the plate on a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Daniel Robertson.
Retiring seven of the last nine hitters he faced after that mishap, Price capped off his outing in style by recording his 10th and final punch out to put away the Rays in the fifth.
Finishing with a final pitch count of exactly 100 (64 strikes), the 33-year-old hurler relied on his four-seam fastball a game-high 35 times on Saturday, inducing five swings and misses and topping out at 94.4 MPH with the pitch.
Unable to pick up his second winning decision of the season, Price’s next start should come against this same Rays club next weekend at Fenway Park.
In relief of Price, the Red Sox bullpen was responsible for the final six of this 11 inning contest.
Brandon Workman and Colten Brewer, making his first appearance since Patriots’ Day, each worked a scoreless frame over the sixth and seventh to make way for Matt Barnes in the eighth with Boston up by a run.
Barnes, working for the third consecutive day, did just about exactly what he did on Saturday. That being, serve up the then game-tying home run to Tommy Pham, walk the next batter he faced, then strike out the final two Rays hitters he faced to at least keep the tie in tact.
From there, Marcus Walden impressed yet again, sitting down six of the seven hitters he faced while fanning two in a pair of scoreless innings. He also received some assistance from Rafael Devers over at third.
After the Red Sox jumped out to a 3-2 lead in their half of the 11th, Ryan Brasier, like Barnes, also came on to pitch for the third consecutive day and notched his sixth save of the season thanks to a 1-2-3 inning to finish off the sweep.
On the other side of things, the Red Sox lineup was matched up against former Pittsburgh Pirates right-hander Tyler Glasnow for Tampa Bay, and he had it going on early.
Facing off against the Red Sox for just the second time in his young career, the 25-year-old Glasnow allowed just one run over his first five innings of work, and that came courtesy of a Mitch Moreland solo homer to lead off the fourth. Moreland’s seventh big fly of the season with no back problems present.
Fast forward to the sixth, with Glasnow seemingly in cruise control, and a one out single off the bat of Mookie Betts would surprisingly spell the end for the righty’s fine performance with a pitch count of just 76.
Maybe it was because Moreland was due up next for Boston, but a questionable decision from Kevin Cash and the Rays nonetheless.
Going with the lefty in Adam Kolarek out of the bullpen, Alex Cora countered that move by pinch-hitting Steve Pearce for Moreland.
Pearce, who also came in for Moreland due to back spasms on Saturday, drew a five pitch walk, which in turn resulted in another pitching change for Tampa Bay.
With Chaz Roe now in this contest, JD Martinez did the same as Pearce, drawing another five pitch walk to fill the bases for Xander Bogaerts.
Following a brief mound visit, Bogaerts’ eyes must have lit up on the first pitch he saw from Roe, as he ripped a 92 MPH fastball to right center, driving in Betts and giving his team a short-lived one-run advantage.
After being held quiet over the next four innings, a Rafael Devers leadoff single in the 11th eventually got the Boston bats going again with left=handed reliever Jose Alvarado on the mound for Tampa Bay for the second straight day.
That Devers walk, followed up by Michael Chavis drawing a five-pitch walk, set the stage for Jackie Bradley Jr. in a crucial spot.
Having been held hitless up to that point, the Red Sox outfielder perhaps came through with the most important plate appearance of the afternoon without even reaching base by dropping a beautifully executed sacrifice bunt down the third base line, advancing Devers and Chavis into scoring position with one out.
Christian Vazquez, already having himself a pretty solid weekend, was due up next for Boston, and he too came up clutch without reaching base, as he belted a 375 foot sac fly to center field, deep enough to drive in the go-ahead run in the form of Devers from third and give the Red Sox a 6-5 lead, which would go on to be the final score in this one.
Some notes from this win:
In his first career big league start, Red Sox top prospect Michael Chavis went 0-for-4 with one walk while playing second base.
JD Martinez extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a first inning single on Sunday.
Before this weekend, Rays reliever Jose Alvarado had yet to yield a run in his first 10 appearances of the season. He has now given up the game-winning run in two straight outings.
The Red Sox, Celtics, and Bruins all won on Sunday. A clean Boston sweep.
Next up for the Red Sox, they head back to Boston to kick off a 10-game homestand at Fenway Park beginning on Monday, starting with a four-game set against the Detroit Tigers.
Left-hander Chris Sale is slated to make his second home start for Boston, while fellow southpaw Matthew Boyd will do the same for Detroit.
In his career against the Tigers, Sale owns a 2.94 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 32 games (22 starts) and 168.1 total innings pitched.
Boyd, meanwhile, has only made one previous career start at Fenway Park, an outing in which he allowed two runs in 6.1 innings pitched last season.
First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:10 PM EDT on NESN. Red Sox going for four straight wins.