The Tampa Bay Rays needed to defeat the Boston Red Sox after losing three tough games to them in St. Petersburg last weekend. On Saturday afternoon in Boston, Tampa Bay (17-9) defeated the Boston Red Sox (11-16) by a final score of 2-1.
Rays Radio announcer Andy Freed may have put it best in his post game tweet saying, “Always an adrenaline rush to win a tight one at Fenway.” Most of the Rays fan base was left holding its breath over the final two innings and were only able to breath after Emilio Pagan struck out Mitch Moreland to end the game.
It was Pagan’s third save of the season and third in as many outings and Charlie Morton (3-0, 2.76 ERA) picks up the win for Tampa Bay who improve to a MLB best 17-6 on the season
Morton worked six scoreless innings allowing two hits while striking out five and walking four.
He was given a lead before he even took the mound as Yandy Diaz deposited David Price‘s (1-2, 3.60 ERA) second pitch of the game over the Monster in centerfield for the 1-0 lead. The homer traveled 428 feet and had an exit velocity of 105.1 miles per hour, according to Statcast.
It was Diaz’s club leading seventh home run of the season. This from the same hitter that had exactly one home run in 299 career plate appearances during the 2017-2018 seasons with the Cleveland Indians.
Zunino helped Morton with his arm in the bottom of the fourth inning by picking off Rafael Devers who had walked to lead off the inning. It wouldn’t be the last time Zunino bailed out his pitcher with a strong performance behind the plate.
After retiring Mitch Moreland for the first out, Castillo walked Xander Bogaerts and exited the game for Jose Alvarado who was greeted by a single off the bat of Rafael Devers. Michael Chavis struck out for the second out but Steve Pearce drew a walk to load the bases.
Jackie Bradley Jr. worked the count full before swinging through a slider to end the threat. Alvarado and the Rays afternoon may have been a lot different had it not been for the glove work of Mike Zunino behind the plate in the eighth. On four occasions he had to smother pitches in the dirt or make a backhand stab of an erratic pitch.
Tampa Bay and Boston conclude their brief two game series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05. Tyler Glasnow (4-0, 1.53 ERA) takes the mound for Tampa Bay while the Red Sox counter with lefty Chris Sale (0-4, 7.43 ERA).