Rays Win Streak Reaches Nine, Defeat Red Sox 3-0
Rays Win Ninth In A Row 3-0 Over Red Sox
The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox by a final score of 3-0. The win improves the Rays record to 51-53 and extends their win streak to nine games in a row which is the second longest in team history behind the 2004 Rays team that won 12 in a row from June 9 through 22nd.
The Rays win moves them to within 6.5 games of AL East Division leading Baltimore Orioles who lost to the Seattle Mariners by a final score of 4-3 and to within 3.5 games of the 2nd wild card which is shared by both the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
John Lackey (11-7, 3.60 ERA) was charged with the loss but delivered seven solid innings allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits striking out four and walking four. Koji Uehara came in to work a scoreless bottom of the eighth inning.
Jeremy Hellickson worked 4.2 scoreless innings allowing five hits striking out five and walking two. He threw 96 pitches 61 for strikes. Jeff Beliveau, Grant Balfour, Brad Boxberger held the Red Sox off the board through the eighth inning. Jake McGee came in to work the ninth and picked up his 11th save on the season.
The Rays jumped out to an early 1-0 lead as Desmond Jennings opened the bottom of the first inning laying a bunt down that was fielded by catcher Christian Vazquez. His throw sailed past Napoli and down the right field line allowing Jennings to race around to third base to lead off the game. After Ben Zobrist drew a walk Matt Joyce delivered an RBI single.
Jeremy Hellickson worked out of trouble in each of the first four frames. He avoided trouble in the first inning allowing a double (fan interference) to David Ortiz on a ball that missed being a home run by inches but struck out Mike Napoli to end the thread.
The Red Sox put runners at first and second in the second inning but Christian Vazquez flew out to left to end the threat.
His defense came to his aid to end a third inning . With Brock Holt at second base and one out David Ortiz grounded to Ben Zobrist in short right field. Zobrist fired to James Loney for the out and Loney wheeled and fired a strike to Jose Molina to nab Brock Holt who was trying to score from second to end the inning.
The Red Sox put runners at first and second with two out in the fourth inning and both runners moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Hellickson side stepped the jam by striking out Jackie Bradley Jr.
It appeared as if Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez may have picked Escobar off at 2nd but he was ruled safe. Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to argue the call but elected not to challenge the play as replay indicated that Dustin Pedroia may have laid a phantom tag.
Jeremy Hellickson worked into the fifth inning retiring the first two hitters but was unable to record his first clean inning allowing a 2-out single to Dustin Pedroia. With David Ortiz due up lefty Jeff Beliveau came in from the pen and got out of the inning thanks in large part to a scorcher line drive finding the glove of first baseman James Loney.
Beliveau stayed in the game to open the sixth inning and allowed a lead off single to Mike Napoli and gave up an infield single to pinch hitter Jonny Gomes. The ball rolled under Evan Longoria‘s glove and eeked by Yunel Escobar allowing Napoli to advance to third base.
With Grant Balfour warm in the pen and lefty Stephen Drew due up the Rays elected to stick with Beliveau who struck out Drew for the first out.
Grant Balfour came in to the game with runners on the corners and one out and struck out Xander Boegarts for the second out and got Jackie Bradely Jr. for the final out of the inning.
The Rays added another single tally in the bottom of the seventh on a solo home run by Ben Zobrist. It was Zobrist first home run since July 18th against Kyle Gibson in Minnesota and his ninth of the year.
John Lackey departed the game after seven solid innings allowing three runs (two earned) on eight hits striking out four and walking four.
The Rays and Red Sox finish their 3-game series on Sunday afternoon as Chris Archer (6-5, 3.31 ERA) takes the mound against a yet to be confirmed starter but it is rumored that Allen Webster will get the call from their Triple-A affiliate Pawtucket squad.