The Boston Red Sox defeat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in extra innings
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com: (April 4, 2018 – Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America)
The Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 in a 12-inning affair on Boston’s Opening Day at Fenway Park. David Price started the game for the Red Sox and Yonny Chirinos did the same for the Rays. With the win, the BoSox move to 6-1 on the year and Tampa dropped to the inverse at 1-6.
In thrilling fashion, Hanley Ramirez provided the Sox with the walk-off victory, smashing a bases loaded, opposite-field “single” to right field. It was his second critical hit of the game, having singled up the middle in the 9th inning to score the first of two runs.
Price pitched masterfully in the contest, going seven strong innings without allowing a run to score. He also struck out six batters and walked three. The Rays, meanwhile, deployed their “bullpen day,” using Chirinos to begin the game. The Rays’ reliever, like Price, pitched very well in this one, with five shutout innings.
For a large majority of the game, it was all pitching. Both teams struggled to string together hits on an extremely chilly day in Boston. The first seven innings were the David Price show, with no notable offensive scores to speak of.
The 8th inning is when it started to get interesting. Reliever Carson Smith replaced Price in the game, after tossing 91 pitches. He started his outing with a walk to the speedy Mallex Smith and followed it by allowing a straightaway, two-run shot by Matt Duffy which put Tampa Bay ahead 2-0.
It was a demoralizing blast, especially with how cold the Sox’ bats appeared to be at that point. They failed to string together any offense in the bottom half of the 8th.
Hector Velazquez was summoned to pitch the top-half of the 9th for the Red Sox and did so without any trouble. With a 2-0 deficit, it was up to the bottom of the 9th to determine the result of the game.
Mookie Betts started the inning with a groundball single to left field, followed by an Andrew Benintendi walk. The aforementioned Ramirez single scored Betts, putting runners on first and second with nobody out and cutting the lead in half 2-1. The seemingly perfect moment then presented itself: newcomer J.D. Martinez stepped up to the plate with a chance to prove his legend to the Red Sox faithful.
Instead of capitalizing, he grounded out into a double play, sucking momentum away from the rally. With two outs, it was up to Xander Bogaerts, who had cooled off considerably after his torrid start to the 2018 season.
With his heart beating and palms sweaty (presumably), Bogey hit an Alex Colome pitch at 104.3 mph to the monster, barely missing Smith’s glove, and giving the Red Sox’ a 2-2 game with the clutch RBI double.
An exciting play, which almost ended in a walk-off overturned review, ended the inning for the Red Sox.
Craig Kimbrel came into pitch the 10th, barely escaping the inning, as the bases were loaded after surrendering two consecutive walks.
Sox’ reliever Bobby Poyner pitched both the 11th and 12th inning, accruing three essential strikeouts.
The bottom of the 12th proved to be the winner for the Red Sox, with the mentioned Hanley Ramirez bases loaded single to right field to render the team victorious.
The Boston Red Sox will take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 1:05 p.m. eastern time Saturday. They have the day off tomorrow. Rick Porcello is slated to start the game for Boston, while the Rays will have Jake Faria on the mound. It will be the second game of a three-game series in Boston.