BOSTON -- It was a battle of big hits between the American League's best team and the hottest team in baseball Saturday at Fenway Park.In the end, the hot-handed Rays' late flurry of shots allowed them to stand victorious over the Red Sox, 12-6, for their eighth straight win, pulling
BOSTON -- It was a battle of big hits between the American League's best team and the hottest team in baseball Saturday at Fenway Park.
In the end, the hot-handed Rays' late flurry of shots allowed them to stand victorious over the Red Sox, 12-6, for their eighth straight win, pulling them just one game under .500 (12-13).
"That was a pretty odd game, lot of stuff going on, lot of matchups, lot of acquired plays, a lot of pitching," said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "It was a very unusual game the way it played out. Thrilled we got the win, though."
The Rays cranked out four home runs on the day, though their first was of the unconventional kind, as Denard Span hustled out an odd-hop single to center that got past Jackie Bradley Jr. to plate Wilson Ramos and himself with an inside-the-park home run to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead in the second inning.
In the third, it was Ramos' turn, though his was more of the conventional variety, as he smacked a ball over the left-field bleachers beyond the Green Monster for a two-run shot that put the Rays up, 4-2.
After trading punches over the next few frames, Carlos Gomez struck the decisive blow when he launched a 1-2 offering from Richard Hembree over everything, onto Landsdowne Street behind the Green Monster to give the visitors breathing room with a 7-5 lead.
Johnny Field's first big league home run, a three-run shot into the seats in left field in the ninth, capped the Rays' onslaught.
"It felt awesome. It felt like I was kind of gliding across the bases when I was running around them," said Field. "I just had a feeling he'd groove a heater right there, and that's what happened."
After Boston scored a run in each of the first five innings, the Rays' bullpen was able to keep them at bay over the next three innings, spelling rookie starter Yonny Chirinos, who had the shortest outing of his young career in lasting only two-plus innings. The Red Sox pushed another run across in the ninth against Sergio Romo.
"[Chirinos] didn't have much, for whatever reason," Cash said of his starter. "He was off and could never regain that command."
The Rays racked up 18 hits on the day, including eight off Red Sox starter David Price, who was hooked with the loss.
"There were a lot of big hits, a lot of contributions. A lot of guys who continue to pass it over," said Cash. "We looked sloppy early on. But, when you are on a roll like this, sometimes things go in your favor, and that's what took place tonight."
Ryan Yarbrough, who struck out six and allowed two runs in four innings out of the 'pen, earned his first Major League win in relief for the Rays.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rays limit the damage: Three times in the game, the Rays managed to avert disaster and escape innings with minimal to no damage. In the first inning, the Red Sox's first three batters reached base, but Chirinos induced a sacrifice fly and struck out two to limit the scoring to one run. In the third, the Sox got their first four batters on, but Yarbrough came in after Boston had already scored a run and didn't allow any more runs to score, preserving a 4-3 Rays lead in the process.
"You're hoping just to keep it tied or down one," Cash said of the scenario. "He shows up and gets us to where we still have the lead. Really good for him."
And Jose Alvarado did the heavy lifting in the seventh with the Rays clinging to a two-run advantage, striking out Eduardo Nunez to end a first-and-third threat.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Ramos was hitting balls with ferocity. He went 3-for-3 with two walks, registering high exit velocities on all three knocks. He smoked a second-inning double that was 107.6 mph off his bat, then hit a 107-mph homer in the 4th and a 108.3-mph single in the seventh before being removed from the game for precautionary reasons. According to Statcast™, he is just the third Rays hitter since 2015 to record three batted balls of 107 mph or higher in the same game. The other two Tampa Bay players to accomplish the feat were Joey Butler on Oct. 4, 2015, and Steven Souza Jr. on April 6, 2016, both doing so vs. the Blue Jays.
HE SAID IT
"Johnny Fields' [homer], maybe, so I could breathe." -- Cash, when asked what the biggest hit was for his team
The Rays will turn to Matt Andriese for their 1:05 p.m. ET finale in search of a sweep of the American League's top team. This will be the right-hander's first start of the season after making a combined 44 starts for Tampa Bay from 2015-17. Andriese has made two relief appearances vs. the Red Sox this season, allowing four runs (all earned) in 2 2/3 innings.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.