Not too long ago, I thought this recap was going to go in a complete;y different direction. The Red Sox were trailing the Rays by five runs heading into the bottom of the eighth inning. Throughout the game, they really never put anything together against Rays pitching. Lo and behold, they erupted for six runs to take the lead and ultimately win the game. What an inning it was.
Eduardo Rodriguez got the start in this one, and the lefty did not look all that sharp in his 2018 debut. In 3.2 innings pitched, the Rays got to Rodriguez for three runs on five hits and two walks. After the first inning he had where he struck out the side, I did not expect to see Rodriguez struggle the way he did. I’d say things got shaky when the first batter Rodriguez faced in the top of the second, CJ Cron, launched a solo home run to center field, tying the game at one. Once that happened, the native of Venezuela needed a lot of pitches to get through the next two-plus innings, although he did strike out seven. When he departed with two outs in the fourth, his pitch count was at 92, which was right around his limit for today.
In relief of Rodriguez, the Red Sox bullpen was not able to keep the Rays in check. They obviously did enough to keep the team in the game, but it wasn’t great. Hector Velazquez tossed two innings, he gave up two runs on three hits and a walk. Bobby Poyner came in with two outs in the sixth, he walked one and struck out another to end the inning. Brian Johnson made his first relief appearance of the season in the seventh, he gave up two runs to score while only recording one out. There was also a really scary moment for the Red Sox in the seventh. A triple off the bat of Joey Wendle to left field led to Xander Bogaerts recieving a relay throw from JD Martinez. While trying to get the ball to Rafael Devers, Bogaerts lost the ball and it rolled towards the Rays dugout. Trying to save the ball from rolling out of the field of play, the short stop slid down the dugout steps in order to push the ball back towards the field. Unfortunately, Bogaerts roughed up his left ankle on the slide and would have to leave the game. Brock Holt came in to take over at short.
Heath Hembree came in to finish the inning, he got the only two batters he faced to fly out and ground out. Carson Smith got the call for the eighth inning. He looked shaky yet again as he loaded the bases after recording the first two outs. However, he got out of the inning with a clutch strikeout and is credited with the win. After that epic eighth inning, Craig Kimbrel came on for the start of the ninth and he retired all three batters he faced for his third save of the season.
Offensively, the Rays pitching staff did just about everything right against the Red Sox up until the eighth inning. Hanley Ramirez was responsible for the first two runs scored by the Red Sox in the first and fifth innings, but that and just four hits is all the Red Sox lineup could muster over the first seven. Fast forward to the bottom of the eighth, and things got really exciting, all with two outs in the inning.
Hanley Ramirez led things off with a single. Two batters later and two outs later, Mitch Moreland got his first hit of the season with a vintage RBI double off the monster, scoring Ramirez from second and cutting the deficit to four.
An Eduardo Nunez single put runners on first and third for Rafael Devers, who drove in both Moreland and Nunez by lining a double into the left field corner. Deficit is now at two.
A pitching change by the Rays saw Alex Colome take things over for Matt Andriese. That did not make a difference. The first batter Colome faced, Christian Vazquez, ripped an RBI single to left center that scored Devers from second. All the sudden, we had a one run game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth.
Back to the top of the order, Mookie Betts collected his second hit of hit the day with a game-tying RBI single to left, barely scoring Vazquez from second.
Next up, Andrew Benintendi had arguably the most important at bat of the game. On a 1-1 count, Benintendi took a cutter from Colome and just got enough of the monster to drive in Betts with a double. The score now was 8-7, and that’s how it would end.
A six run comeback to win your eighth straight game is a great way to end the weekend and go into an off day. The Red Sox are 8-1, at no point in their history have they ever been better through nine games.
The New York Yankees are next up on the schedule, as they come into Fenway for a three game set that starts Tuesday night. The pitching matchup will be Chris Sale versus Luis Severino, power arm versus power arm. Should be a good one. First pitch is at 7:10 PM.