It’s Never Easy, Rays Hang On To Defeat Red Sox 6-5

Rays Open Big Series In Boston With Nail Biting 6-5 Victory

It took 4 hours and 15 minutes of nail biting action, but the Tampa Bay Rays won the opening game of their three game series with the Boston Red Sox by a final score of 6-5.

It wasn’t easy for the Rays as Emilio Pagan retired the first two batters in the ninth before giving up a bloop single to Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis went the other way to beat the shift to put runners on the corners for Christian Vazquez. Pagan was able to record the final out getting Vazquez to fly out to left.

Adam Kolarek (4-3, 3.95 ERA) picks up the win for Tampa Bay who improve to 61-48 on the season. Emilio Pagan picks up his ninth save recording the final four outs.

Josh Taylor (0-1, 4.01 ERA) picks up the loss for the Red Sox who fall to 59-49 on the year. Boston now trails the Rays by 1.5-games in the standings.

Neither Charlie Morton or David Price lasted through the fifth inning but in the case of Price he was removed with cause.

Boston opened the scoring off Morton plating a pair of runs on a 2-out RBI single by Mitch Moreland.

Tampa Bay cut the Sox lead to 2-1 in the top of the 3rd on a RBI triple by Austin Meadows.

Boston countered the Rays run on a RBI single by Andrew Benintendi to put the Sox in front 3-1.

David Price was knocked out in the fifth inning by Tampa Bay who scored three times. Travis d’Arnaud and Avisail Garcia each delivered solo homers and newly acquired Eric Sogard pinch hit for Willy Adames with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one-out and put the ball in play to plate the go ahead run.

Morton retired two batters in the fifth and with a runner on base, Manager Kevin Cash went to the mound and called on Adam Kolarek to replace Charlie Morton with the left handed Andrew Benintendi due up.

Regardless of the outcome of Benintendi’s at-bat, it was somewhat shocking to see the team’s ace walking off the mound with 2-outs in the fifth inning and at just 85 pitches.

Of course, the decision looked even worse after Benintende took Kolarek’s first pitch out the opposite way for a 2-run homer and Boston had the 5-4 lead.

“It was a really really difficult decision, if I had to go back and do it again I don’t know if I could come up with the same result.” Manager Kevin Cash said of removing Morton. “Charlie certainly deserves the opportunity to finish that inning. There were some thoughts and matchups going in and involved, but certainly thought about that throughout the rest of the game. He’s pitched so good for us and we have so much trust in him and don’t want to question that by any stretch.”

The Red Sox lead didn’t last long as Tampa Bay on a 2-RBI double off the bat of Avisal Garcia in the 6th inning.

The Rays bullpen had to hold on for the final three innings. Kolarek, to his credit, remained in the game and worked a perfect sixth. Diego Castillo allowed two runners to reach in the seventh but Colin Poche struck out Andrew Benintendi swinging to end the threat.

Chaz Roe allowed a leadoff double in the eighth before striking out Christian Vazquez. Oliver Drake enterd and walked Brock Holt before retiring Jackie Bradley Jr. for the second out. Emilio Pagan came in and gave up an infield single to load the bases before getting Rafael Devers to line out for the final out.

Injury Notes:

Tommy Pham was in the original lineup but was removed as the soreness in his hand has persisted and he needs at least one more day to recover.

Daniel Robertson (knee surgery) was reinstated from the injured list and was optioned to Triple-A Durham. Ryne Stanek (hip discomfort) is set to throw a rehab game with the Charlotte Stone Crabs on Tuesday and Jose Alvarado (oblique) is set to pitch his first bullpen.

Robertston landed on the injured list on June 22nd with knee inflammation which later required surgery to remove a loose body. Stanek hit the IL on July 20th with hip discomfort (more here). Akvarado has been out of action since July 7th with a strained oblique.

Up Next For Rays:

Tampa Bay and Boston play their second of three games on Wednesday night at 7:10 pm. The Rays will more than likely go with Ryan Yarbrough (9-3, 3.78 ERA) and the Red Sox will counter with Rick Porcello (9-7, 5.55 ERA).