Red Sox Batter Rays Pitching, Defeat Rays 14-6

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St. Petersburg, FL – The Boston Red Sox overcame a 5-2 deficit on the strength of four homers, including a 3-run homer by J.D. Martinez in the fifth inning giving the Red Sox all the runs they would need in defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 14-6. With the victory the Red Sox even up the best-of-five American League Division Series at one game apiece. The series moves to Boston for Game 3 on Sunday afternoon at 4:07.

Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo hit back-to-back homers in the third inning, Kike Hernandez hit a solo homer in the 5th and Martinez delivered his three run shot in the fifth, and Rafael Devers delivered a 2-run shot in the eighth. The five homers allowed by Rays pitching is a franchise single game postseason record. The previous mark of four homers in a postseason game was done four times, the most recent came last October 5th against the New York Yankees in the ALDS.

Tanner Houck picked up the victory for Boston working five innings allowing just one earned run on two hits while striking out five and walking none. He entered the game in relief of Chris Sale in the second inning with the Red Sox trailing 5-2 and retired the first 11 batters he faced and 14-of-15 before allowing a homer to Ji-Man Choi in the sixth inning.

Colin McHugh takes the loss for the Rays who used six pitchers in the game. The Rays allowed single game postseason franchise record for home runs allowed (5), hits (20), and runs scored (14).

How It Happened:

The Boston Red Sox drew seven walks in their victory over the New York Yankees in the Wild Card game. They didn’t draw any against Shane McClanahan and a trio of Rays relievers in their Game 1 5-0 defeat. That trend wouldn’t continue as Kyle Schwarber led off Game 2 with a walk against Shane Baz and came around to score on a Xander Bogaerts single. Alex Verdugo followed with an RBI single scoring Kike Hernandez giving Boston and Chris Sale and early 2-0 lead.

Boston batters continued to pressure a wobbly Shane Baz. J.D. Martinez returned to the Red Sox lineup and singled to load the bases. Luckily, Baz was able to escape further damage by inducing a double-play ball off the bat of Hunter Renfroe.

Tampa Bay responded off Red Sox starter Chris Sale in the bottom of the first. Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco delivered back to back singles to open the frame. Brandon Lowe struck out for the first out, but Sale walked Nelson Cruz to load the bases. Yandy Diaz‘s single scored Arozarena cutting the Red Sox lead to 2-1 and loading the bases for Jordan Luplow.

Luplow delivered launching a Grand Slam to put the Rays on top 5-2. Sale settled down to retire Manuel Margot and Mike Zunino to end the inning but the damage was done.

It was Luplow’s first career postseason homer, the 90th career postseason homer for the Tampa Bay Rays, and only the second Rays postseason Grand Slam. The other postseason Grand Slam in Rays franchise history was delivered by Hunter Renfroe off Hyun Jin Ryu of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2020 Wild Card series. Luplow’s homer traveled 387 feet and left the bat at 103.7 miles per hour.

Shane Baz, staked to new life thanks to his offense, opened the second inning allowing a single to Christian Vazquez who moved to second on a groundout by Christian Arroyo. Kyle Schwarber struckout and Kike Hernandez struckout to end the inning without the Red Sox cutting into the Rays 5-2 lead.

Chris Sale was lifted after his rough first inning as Alex Cora elected to go to Tanner Houck. The final line for Chris Sale was 1-inning, 5 runs all earned on four hits while striking out two and walking one.

Baz was helped by the defense of Kevin Kiermaier in the third inning who took extra bases away from Rafael Devers with a leaping catch at the wall in centerfield. Xander Bogaerts followed the rocket shot off the bat of Devers with a homer to left to cut the Rays lead to 5-3 and ending the night for Shane Baz.

The final line for Baz was 2.1-innings allowing three runs all earned on six hits while striking out two and walking one.

He was replaced by Colin McHugh who was greeted by a solo homer off the bat of Alex Verdugo. McHugh retired J.D. Martinez and Hunter Renfroe on fly balls to right and left respectively to end the inning with the Rays lead intact at 5-4.

Boston tied the game at 5-5 in the top of the fifth inning on a leadoff homer by Kike Hernandez. Colin McHugh walked Rafael Devers and was replaced by Matt Wisler. Xander Bogaerts singled to move Devers to second and tagged to third on Alex Verdugo’s deep flyout to right. J.D. Martinez followed with a three run homer to give Boston an 8-5 lead.

McHugh’s final line was 1.2-innings allowing two hits, three earned runs, while striking out two and walking one.

David Robertson took over for Matt Wisler to open the sixth inning. Wisler was charged with two earned runs on two hits while striking out one and walking none.

Ji-Man Choi delivered a solo homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the Boston lead to 8-6. It was Choi’s fourth career postseason homer.

Michael Wacha took over for Robertson to open the seventh inning. Boston scored a run off Wacha on three singles including an RBI single by Christian Vazquez to extend Boston’s lead back to three at 9-6.

Ryan Brasier took over for Tanner Houck in the seventh inning and struckout the side.

Boston continue its assault on Rays pitching blasting their fifth homer, a 2-run shot by Rafael Devers in the eighth pushing Boston’s lead to 11-6.

Hansel Robles took over for Brasier in the eighth and only allowed an infield single to Nelson Cruz.

Boston added three in the top of the ninth inning on a Christian Vazquez single and a Kike Hernandez 2-RBI double pushing the score to 14-6. Hernandez’s hit was his fifth hit of the night. He finished the night five for six with a single, three doubles, and a homer.

The 14 runs runs allowed are the most allowed by the Rays in a postseason game and the 20 hits allowed also is a postseason franchise record.

Michael Wacha was unable to complete the game, departing in the ninth inning for J.T. Chargois. Wacha’s line was ugly to say the least…2.2-innings allowing six runs all earned on nine hits while striking out four and walking none. Chargois retired the only batter he faced to bring an end to an ugly night for the Rays pitchers.

Rays Starting Pitching Notes:

The Rays postseason roster includes 13 pitchers, none of which made a start for Tampa Bay during their 2020 playoff run which consistent of 20 games.

The Rays threw their third postseason shutout on Thursday night defeating the Boston Red Sox 5-0. They also shut out the Cleveland Indians 4-0 in the AL Wild Card Game in 2013 and the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS in 2011.

The Rays record for consecutive scoreless innings to open a playoff series is 12. That mark was reached in 2011 against Texas as the Rays’ shut Texas out 9-0 in Game 1 and then held them scoreless until allowing five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning.

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