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Rays fall to the Red Sox home run ball

Sadler saves bullpen with 2 IP; Robertson snaps skid
@juanctoribio
April 19, 2019

ST. PETERSBURG -- Leading up to the weekend series against the Red Sox, Rays manager Kevin Cash said you can “throw the records out the window” anytime you play Boston. With the Red Sox entering Friday’s game with a 6-13 record and looking for a big series win, Rays players

ST. PETERSBURG -- Leading up to the weekend series against the Red Sox, Rays manager Kevin Cash said you can “throw the records out the window” anytime you play Boston.

With the Red Sox entering Friday’s game with a 6-13 record and looking for a big series win, Rays players and coaches talked about how much talent there is on the roster of the defending champions, and how they will have to play good baseball this weekend in order to come out with their seventh consecutive series win this season.

On Friday, Boston won the first round as the Rays lost consecutive games for the first time this season, dropping the series opener to the Red Sox, 6-4, at Tropicana Field.

Here are three takeaways from Friday’s game:

Long ball beats the Rays

After being held without a hit through four innings, the Red Sox's lineup flexed its muscle, connecting on three home runs over the last five innings of the game.

“The hits are going to come,” Cash said. “We know that with the Red Sox, but one inning you like to have back right there.”

Christian Vazquez followed a Rafael Devers RBI double with a two-run homer off Ryan Yarbrough that gave the Red Sox their first lead of the game in the fifth. While Vazquez delivered the first home run, it was the back-to-back homers from Mookie Betts and Mitch Moreland in the eighth inning off Diego Castillo that delivered the big blow to carry the Red Sox past the Rays.

“They didn’t do what I wanted them to do,” Castillo. “There are times that you want something to happen better, but sometimes some things happen that you have no control over.”

Bullpen usage

Before Friday’s game, the Rays selected Casey Sadler and optioned Emilio Pagan in order to get another fresh arm in the bullpen. Sadler, who drove down with his wife and daughter from North Carolina in a camper that’s attached to his SUV, gave the Rays a boost heading into Saturday by pitching two scoreless innings to finish the game.

“Picked us up in a big way,” Cash said. “We were thin, we knew we were coming in thin. He’s a guy that can provide way more than he did. We were right in the thick of things there and then it separated but he certainly did a good job of getting loose quick, coming in throwing strikes and being efficient.”

Charlie Morton is scheduled to start Saturday for the Rays, which could help restore the bullpen, but Tampa Bay operated with a shorter bullpen for Friday’s game.

“We have to take care of guys and their workloads,” Cash said. “Especially in this first month.”

Robertson snaps out of skid with clutch hit

With the Rays down 4-2 in the sixth inning, Daniel Robertson was able to deliver with a clutch two-run double down the left-field line to even the score. Robertson, who had a pair of solid at-bats in Thursday’s loss against the Orioles, was hitless in his last 21 at-bats, but seeing the infielder snap the offensive skid was a positive sign for the Rays.

“That had to have been a good feeling for him,” Cash said. “I’m sure he’s frustrated with the loss, but thrilled for him to get out of that little bit of a funk with a huge hit at the time.”

Juan Toribio covers the Rays for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @juanctoribio.