Siri's sensational catch seals Rays' G2 win vs. Red Sox

After dropping Game 1, Tampa Bay takes second game to split twin bill at Fenway Park

June 4th, 2023

BOSTON -- After 17 1/2 long, cold, dreary and often-frustrating innings at Fenway Park on Saturday, the Rays needed a big play to help salvage the day. Jose Siri delivered.

With two on and two outs in the ninth, Siri laid out for a sliding catch in shallow center field that robbed Jarren Duran of the potential game-tying hit off reliever Jason Adam and sealed the Rays’ 4-2 victory over the Red Sox. After wasting an early lead and losing Game 1, 8-5, Tampa Bay wound up splitting the first scheduled doubleheader at Fenway Park in nearly 45 years.

“That's the play of the game,” said Harold Ramírez, who hit a tie-breaking, two-run double off Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen in the ninth inning of Game 2. “If he doesn't catch that ball, maybe we're gonna have a problem.”

But Siri, with his remarkable defensive ability and flair for the dramatic, caught it.

Plenty of Rays played a part in the victory. But they all could thank Siri for ending the first scheduled doubleheader at Fenway Park since Aug. 30, 1978, which yielded a roughly 12-hour day at the ballpark that saw first-pitch temperatures of 52 and 48 degrees, a steady drizzle all day and gusting winds that never subsided.

“I really want to go home,” Ramírez said, “and go to sleep.”

Adam hit Rafael Devers then walked Masataka Yoshida with two outs in the ninth, putting himself in a jam where an extra-base hit could have tied the game. Siri initially thought the ball was hit harder when Duran lofted a 75.3 mph fly ball into the rainy, windy night sky, then hustled hard from deep center field to come in on the ball in a hurry.

“He covers ground as much as anybody,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Big play.”

As the ball fell toward the grass, Siri leaned forward and left his feet to make the catch. He landed hard, rolled onto his back then let loose a military-style salute and shouted to celebrate.

“I felt like I had gotten four hits,” said a smiling Siri through interpreter Manny Navarro.

Siri actually only had one hit in Game 2 after starting the second half of the day-night split on the bench, but it was a big one.

With former Rays left-hander Ryan Sherriff pitching, Ramírez on second base and one out in the sixth inning, Cash sent Siri to pinch-hit for Josh Lowe. Siri smashed an RBI double past a diving Devers to put Tampa Bay ahead, 2-1.

“It’s not ideal weather out there. You're trying to stay warm. Sometimes it's tougher to stay warm when you're not playing than when you are,” Cash said. “But he was ready to go and came up and delivered the biggest hit of the game at that point.”

But the Red Sox tied the game in the eighth when second baseman Brandon Lowe couldn’t snare a pop-up that seemed to hang in the swirling wind before bouncing off his glove, allowing the tying run to score and perhaps creating some uneasiness in the Rays’ dugout after they’d let a four-run lead slip away in Game 1.

The first game got off to a good start for the Rays, as they built up a 4-0 lead while Trevor Kelley, Joe LaSorsa and Kevin Kelly began the bullpen game by allowing just one run through five innings. That lead quickly vanished in the sixth, however, when lefty reliever Jalen Beeks surrendered six runs on four hits -- a Justin Turner three-run double off the Green Monster the biggest among them -- and two walks while recording only two outs.

“We were up in Fenway, obviously want to get the win, and then I just blow it and just shoot our chances of winning that game,” Beeks said. “It's really frustrating. It's just not a great feeling, but I'm going to keep battling -- and I'm just ready to get back out there already.”

But Ramírez came through in the ninth inning of the nightcap. Francisco Mejía and Yandy Díaz each singled and advanced on Brandon Lowe’s flyout to deep right field, then Ramírez completed a five-hit day by driving Jansen’s 0-1 cutter into the right-center field gap.

“Harold had a big day,” Cash said.

So did Tyler Glasnow, who held the Red Sox to one run on four hits and three walks while striking out six over 5 1/3 innings. Working without his best fastball, the right-hander described his second start of the season as “more of a grind.”

Glasnow’s fastball averaged 96.5 mph in his season debut but sat at 94.9 mph on Saturday night. Glasnow said his mechanics weren’t entirely synced up, but he leaned on his slider and curveball to get through the game.

“I didn't feel right, but I was able to kind of grind and battle and it ended up being all right,” Glasnow said.