Rays Power Into Sole Possession Of Second Wild Card
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 7-4 on Monday night to move 1/2 game ahead of the idle Cleveland Indians and into sole possession of the second Wild Card spot.
Austin Pruitt (3-0, 4.40 ERA) was the beneficiary of a three homer outburst by the Rays in the fourth inning as he picks up the win. Oliver Drake settled the game down for Tampa Bay working a scoreless fifth and sixth inning. The lead was protected in the seventh and eighth by Nick Anderson and Diego Castillo.
Emilio Pagan entered in the ninth and was tasked with holding a 7-4 lead but wasn’t sharp allowing back to back singles to Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers to put runners on the corners and brought the tying run in J.D. Martinez to the plate with nobody out. Pagan retired Martinez on a fly ball to right that wasn’t deep enough to score Betts before being replaced by Colin Poche.
With the win, the Rays improve to 93-64 on the season and are 1/2 game ahead of Cleveland for the second wild card and 1.5-games behind the Oakland Athletics for the top Wild Card spot. Both Oakland and Cleveland have six games remaining while Tampa Bay has one.
The Rays are 12-5 in their last 17 games since September 3rd and 17-6 in their last 23 games since August 29th. They are a season high 29 games over .500. The Rays finish their season series with a 12-7 mark against Boston.
Bobby Poyner (0-1, 7.36 ERA) takes the loss for Boston who fall to 81-75 on the season.
How It Happened:
The game couldn’t have started much worse for the Tampa Bay Rays as Blake Snell struggled with his command needing 52 pitches to record just five outs and allowed the Boston Red Sox to jump out to a 1-0 lead.
Peter Fairbanks allowed a single run in the third and Austin Pruitt allowed a pair of runs in the top of the fourth and just like that the Rays were trailing 4-0.
Not only were the Rays trailing by four runs entering the home half of the fourth, they had yet to record a hit off Boston starter Jhoulys Chacin who entered the game with a 5.66 ERA.
Austin Meadows delivered the Rays first hit of the game, a 1-out single in the bottom of the fourth, and moved to third on a Travis d’Arnaud single. Ji-Man Choi followed with a 3-run homer to center to cut the Red Sox lead to 4-3. It was Choi’s 17th homer of the season.
Chacin retired Avisail Garcia for the second out before giving up a solo homer to Brandon Lowe that tied the score at 4-4. It was Lowe’s first homer since coming off the IL and his 17th on the season. It was his first homer since July 2nd against the Orioles Asher Wojciechowski.
Adames has struggled in his career batting just .197 with 9 homers in 285 plate appearances against lefties but belted a 2-run homer to put the Rays up 6-4.
It was Adames 20th homer of the season and he now is alone atop the franchise leaderboard for single season homers by a shortstop. The mark was previously held by Brad Miller (19) in 2016.
The fourth inning was a momentum changer. ” “You saw it yourself, it was crazy. (Austin) Meadows started it with ending the no-hitter, nobody had a hit before that.” Adames said. “He just got us going and everybody after that stepped up and did what they had to do to get on base and try to score as many runs as we could with the opportunities they gave us.”
Kevin Cash added “That was awesome. That was maybe the most exciting inning of the year.”
Tampa Bay added a run in the sixth inning on Avisail Garcia’s double that scored Ji-Man Choi. Garcia was thrown out on a laser from Mookie Betts in right field.
Up Next For The Rays:
The Rays will conclude their season series with the New York Yankees and will hand the ball to Yonny Chirinos (9-5, 3.67 ERA) on Tuesday night at 7:10. Brendan McKay (2-4, 5.40 ERA) is expected to get the bulk of the work following Chirinos. The Yankees have not announced a starter for the game.