After a brutal start to their season, the Red Sox appear to be energetic in those last two games. Monday was a blowout. Tuesday was very much not it, but it was a phenomenal game. It featured a couple of great start-pitching performances, controversial calls, big games on both sides and a few big-time clutch hits from the Red Sox. Add it all up so you get a 12-inning win with a chance to sweep tomorrow. We take it, people, we take it.
As they came out of their first win of the season, the Red Sox sought a fourth good start to complete the first turn through their rotation, with Martín Pérez taking the ball on Tuesday. Southpaw was very reliable, if not exactly great, last season, and he continued where he left off here in this one. The Rays lineup can be tough to watch as they are very disciplined and can get guys to work and things were certainly not slippery for Pérez throughout. That said, there was more good than bad, with some help from his catch that did a hell of a job at border crossings all night long.
The first inning started quickly with a couple of outs including Southpaw̵
He would come out again secondly with a lead suddenly in his hand – we’ll get back to that in a moment – and he held it lightly for a 1-2-3 second. Unfortunately, his one trouble came at night in the third. There he got a strike to start the inning, but then gave up a couple of base hits that were squeezed into a walk, with the bases only closed with one out. Pérez got a weak line run to almost sneak out of the inning, but old friend Manny Margot brought a couple home with a base hit in the right field, and just like that, Rays had a 2-1 lead.
Pérez did not allow him to snowball. He hit another dough in that inning to put the bases up again, but escaped the jam with a giant strike to keep the damage at two. He then allowed a leadoff single in the fourth before pulling out of six straight to keep the Rays from two to five innings at work.
The bad news for the Red Sox is that they had to go up against Tyler Glasnow on the other hand, and when he’s on, he’s among the toughest pitchers to hit in all of baseball. He was in this one. That said, the Red Sox got on the board early as mentioned above. Christian Arroyo, who surprisingly hit the lead for this one, got things off to a good start with a lead double. He moved over to third with two outs on the ground out and Glasnow made a mistake that came to the backstop so Arroyo could come home and give Boston the early lead 1-0.
Unfortunately, that was not a sign of things to come when Glasnow came in a zone after the first inderhik. Boston went down in order in the second and then managed just one Franchy Cordero double in the third. They got a better chance in the fourth when Xander Bogaerts slammed a one-out base hit and Vázquez pulled a two-out once, but they were stranded there to keep the deficit at 2-1. This score would hold through the fifth, as well as the Sox went down in order.
So that led us to the top of the sixth, where Pérez came back to start the inning. He was not long after the game, but issued a leadoff walk to left-hander Brandon Lowe before Austin Brice came in. In total, Pérez threw five innings, so the two ran on five hits (one double and four singles), two walks and six strikes.
As for Brice, his night did not get off to a good start when Willy Adames put one out of the monster in the first stroke against the Red Sox righty. Fortunately, even though Lowe came over to third, Adames made a mental mistake. He thought it was away from the bat and barely ran down the line, leading to him being caught between the first and second and giving the Red Sox a run. After a pop up, Brice was suddenly one out of escaping inning with the deficit still at one. He could not get the last out when Joey Wendle finished a good butcher with a clean base hitting the middle, making it a 3-1 ball game.
When the Red Sox were looking for their answer, they instead made two very fast innings to start the sixth. However, Bogaerts kept the inning alive with a four-pitch walk, and then Rafael Devers finally got his first hit of the season and slammed a base hit in the right field. That brought Vázquez up to a big battle with men in the corners and two outs. He could not get it done, by going down on a high fastball to strand the runners and keep the deficit at two.
Hirokazu Sawamura was in there in the seventh and it was a weird inning. He hit a dough with one out, but Alex Cora challenged it only to get it maintained. After that, Austin Meadows worked for a long time on bats, ending in a walk. And so it became genuine strange when Margot hit a ball to deep left field. Franchy Cordero caught it by the wall, or at least he thought so. Randy Arozarena, who started in second place, did not believe it and came around to score. Cordero threw it in again to double Arozarena. The piece went to review, and the umps decided that he actually made the catch and ended inning, to the beam’s concern. One play angle made it look a lot not like a catch, but another made it look like it was a catch. In the end, it’s only ump’s meaning that matters, and it went Boston’s way here.
Now the Red Sox were looking to get the bats of Glasnow out of the game. They had Cody Reed on the mound to start things off, and Hunter Renfroe gained some positive momentum with a big one-out double. That brought Kiké Hernández to the plate as a knife hitter for Cordero, but he went down swinging. Arroyo was the last chance in inning where the Rays were to get Pete Fairbanks from the bullpen. The latter won this match and got a strike to strand the runner in second place and keep it a 3-1 ball game.
After Darwinzon Hernandez continued to struggle with control but managed to work around a few times, Boston had six more outs to play with on the plate. They had the heart of the order coming up to start the eighth with Fairbanks still running for the beams and Alex Verdugo got them to the right start by sticking a double into the right-midfield. JD Martinez liked the way it looked, so he followed it up with a double double to make it a 3-2 ball game, still without anyone out. After a Bogaerts strike, Devers hit one on a line, but it hung on to Margot for the second time. The only problem is that Martinez thought there were already two outs, so he was about third at this point, making it easy to double the beams to finish the inning. It was an inexcusable mistake by Martinez.
Matt Barnes came to a perfect ninth that included a couple of strikes, giving Boston their last chance to at least force this one into extra material. Diego Castillo got the call to Tampa to try to close this one, and the Red Sox quickly welcomed him. More specifically, Vázquez welcomed him by smashing a moon shot into the monster seats at a 0-2 pitch, and like that, we were all bound. That was all they could get, but it was enough to push this into extras.
Here I remind you that the extra inning rule for 2020 remains in place this year, meaning the Rays started the top of the tenth with a runner in second place. On the mound, Barnes was back for another inning of work, something he has struggled with in the past. He did not fight this time, again he threw a perfect inning and again struck a couple out in the process.
Now the Red Sox just needed to get the free runner home to take a victory walk. Arroyo started the inning by trying and failing to drop a bundle, but he still managed to move the runner up with a grounding to the right. So now Hernández was at third base with one out and the Rays chose to go Verdugo and brought Martinez up with a chance to make up for his blunder at the bases earlier. He smokes one, but Willy Adames made a really nice dive stop with the infield in. Boston still had runners on second and third, but now two outs and left it to Bogaerts. He could not get the ball in play and the strike moved this to the eleventh.
There it was Tanner Houck who came out of the bullpen to get a relief before being sent down on Thursday. Adames immediately came to him and smoked a line drive double in the left field to give Tampa the 4-3 lead. After a bundle moved the runner up to third, Houck kept the Rays in check with a few strikes to keep the deficit at just one.
In their attempt to get back, they went up against old friend Jeffrey Springs. At his very first pitch, Devers tore one to the left for a basic hit, and like that, we were all tied up again. For another straight frame, that was all they would get and we would go to another inning.
In the 12th, Phillips Valdez got the call to Boston, and after a quick first out, he threw one to the backstop, allowing Mike Zunino to go up to third. The wild pitch would prove to be expensive as the runner was away at contact, and while Bogaerts stopped a grounding up the middle while playing in, he had no play on the plate and the Rays sprang 5-4 ahead.
Then again, the Red Sox found themselves looking for at least one race to keep this game going, or even better two races to go home with the win. After two quick outs, the inning remained alive as Verdugo was hit by a pitch, leaving things to Martinez. The first pitch for him would come to the backstop and move the runners up to the second and third. Martinez then came through and slammed one in the right field out of reach of a diving Arozarena, brought both runners in and walked it off.
The Red Sox and Rays end their series here on Wednesday with Boston looking for a sweep in a YouTube-only game starting at. 13.05 ET. Nathan Eovaldi goes to Boston, while Ryan Yarbrough gets the ball to the Rays.