The Red Sox earned their 4th straight victory after a late inning rally against the Rays.
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (May 22, 2018 – Source: Julio Aguilar/Getty Images North America)
It was definitely a pitchers’ duel on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field as the Red Sox defeated the Rays 4-1 for their 4th consecutive win. Both the starting pitchers, Chris Archer and David Price, threw gems but neither would factor in the decision. Price threw 6 innings and only allowed 1 run on 3 hits while striking out 9. On the opposing side, Archer matched Price by also throwing 6 innings and letting up 1 run on 4 hits with 6 punch outs.
The performance by Archer was definitely more surprising, as he has always struggled against the Red Sox. He entered Wednesday with a 2-12 record and a 5.49 ERA in 20 career starts against the Sox. Price, however, has always pitched very well in his former home in Tampa. In fact, his 37 career wins at Tropicana Field rank 2nd all-time only to former teammate James Shields.
On the offensive end, there wasn’t much to speak of before the 9th inning. The Sox left a lot of men on base and missed quite a few opportunities to score. The most aggravating by far was the play at home plate with Eduardo Nunez. Jackie Bradley Jr. made solid contact for the first time in weeks with a sharp double to the left center field gap that seemed guaranteed to drive Nunez in from 1st. However, Nunez got crossed up and never slid and therefore was easily tagged out at home. It was the team’s 9th time getting thrown out at home this season. That number is way too high in my opinion.
In the 9th inning, the Sox finally started to capitalize on their opportunities with some help from a few miscues by the Rays. New shortstop Willy Adames made his first career error on a ground ball by JD Martinez to start the inning. Then, Xander Bogaerts roped an RBI double down the left field line. After a walk and a wild pitch from Alex Colome, Nunez capped off his solid, two-hit night with a sac fly. Then a passed ball by Jesus Sucre allowed Rafael Devers to score the 4th Red Sox run.
Joe Kelly ended up getting his 3rd win of the season after tossing a perfect 8th inning. Craig Kimbrel had no issue closing the door, as he needed only 10 pitches to lock down his 15th save of the year. It was a solid team win tonight, and the Red Sox are now in sole position of first place in the AL East by a game and a half after the Yankees 12-10 loss.
Let’s Go Sox!