Rays Back In First, Defeat Red Sox 2-1
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox by a final score of 2-1 to finish their 10-game road trip through Toronto (3 games), Boston (4 games), and New York (3 games) with a record of 8-2. With the victory the Rays improve their record to an AL best 63-43. The loss drops the Red Sox to 63-44 and into 2nd place by 1/2 game behind the Rays.
David Price was facing the Red Sox for the second time in 5 days and had a chance to become the first pitcher to defeat the Red Sox twice in five days at Fenway Park since Rip Collins of the St. Louis Browns in 1931.
The feat is just another notch in his belt in Fenway Park as he has made 10 starts in his career an posted a 6-1 record with an ERA of 1.88 while holding the Sox to just a .183 batting average.
He was dominant over his 7.1 innings allowing only 2 hits 1R/ER on 2 hits with 8 strikeouts while walking 0 in improving his record to 6-5 and lowering his ERA to 3.57 . The start marked the 5th time in 6 starts that he did not issue a walk. Since coming off the disabled list he has walked just 1 batter in 48.1 innings of work.
The Rays entered the bottom of the 8th inning with a 2-1 lead despite having seemingly an opportunity to score each and every inning. Through the first 7 innings they had 9 hits, 5 walks, and a hit batter but were only able to capitalize with a single run in the 4th inning on a Sean Rodriguez double and a fielders choice off the bat of Wil Myers in the 5th. The Red Sox only run came on a Pesky pole home run off the bat of Brandon Snyder in the bottom of the 6th.
Prior to throwing a pitch in the bottom of the 8th inning the game was interrupted by a 39 minute rain delay. After the rain delay Joe Maddon elected to send Price back out to the mound. He fell behind Jonny Gomes 3-0 before coming back to strike him out. After the strikeout Joe Maddon popped out and replaced Price with Joel Peralta. As Price walked off the mound and later in the dugout he seemed agitated.
Peralta gave up a 1-out double to Ryan Lavarnway who was replaced by pinch runner Daniel Nava. Stephen Drew followed with a line drive over Wil Myers head but Nava had returned to 2nd base to tag up and was only able to advance to 3rd base. Brandon Snyder hit a fly ball to shallow left field but Sam Fuld threw an absolute strike to home plate to nail Nava on a bang bang play which appeared to be a bad call that went in the Rays favor.
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The Red Sox had an opportunity to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth off closer Fernando Rodney. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a soft line drive single Shane Victorino was unable to lay the sacrifice bunt and eventually hit a soft liner to Ben Zobrist for the first out.
Ellsbury stole second but was unable to advance as Dustin Pedroia grounded out to Yunel Escobar for the second out. With first base open and 2-out the Rays elected to intentionally walk David Ortiz to put the winning run on base and bring Mike Napoli to the plate.
Jose Iglesias entered the game as a pinch runner for David Ortiz to put speed on the bases. Rodney fell behind Napoli 2-0 before getting him to swing through a pair of 98 mph fastballs to even the count at 2-2. After Napoli fouled off the 2-2 delivery Rodney delivered a 100-mph passed ball to put the winning run in scoring position before striking Napoli out on a 87-mph change up to end the game.
It was Rodney's 26th save on the season and his 17th consecutive save since May 27th versus the Miami Marlins. In the 17 save opportunities he has worked 15.1 innings allowing just 2 earned runs while striking out 22.
The Rays defeated Red Sox starter Felix Doubront (7-5, 3.77 ERA) and in doing so improve to 11-1 in their last 12 games started by a left hander and a major league best 23-12 in games started by a lefty.