The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-1 behind a dominant outing by starter David Price, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner. This was a big victory for the Rays, moving them back to just half a game behind the Red Sox for first place in the AL East.
The Rays, who have been the hottest team in the American League recently, are now 19-3 in their last 22 games, dating back to June 29. A big reason for their recent success has been their starting rotation, which got a big boost on July 2 when Price made his return from the DL. Entering his start today, Price has gone 3-1 with a 1.97 ERA in four starts since his return, with 23 strikeouts and just one walk in 32 innings.
Price continued his dominance tonight, picking up his third complete game in his last four starts. He allowed one earned run on five hits, while walking none and striking out four. He needed to throw just 97 pitches, 72 of which were strikes.
The Rays have also benefited from clutch hitting all season long. During this 22-game stretch, no Rays have been swinging the bat better than rookie Wil Myers, who entered the game tonight with 16 hits over his last eight games.
After Price and Sox starter Felix Doubront matched zeros over the first two innings, the Rays got on the board first in the top of the third inning. After Yunel Escobar grounded out to lead off the inning, Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria hit consecutive singles. With runners on the corners and one out, Ben Zobrist laid down a safety squeeze, and reached base when Doubront threw the ball home, forcing Jennings back to third base. This allowed Myers to come up with the bases loaded, and he came through with a two-run single. After Zobrist stole third, Luke Scott delivered a sac fly, giving the Rays an early 3-0 lead.
With help from some great defense, the score stayed 3-0 until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Red Sox scored their only run of the game on a solo shot by Mike Napoli. It was his 14th of the season.
The Rays wasted no time getting that run back. Myers hit a one-out single in the top of the eighth inning, giving him his sixth-straight multi-hit game. After Scott reached on a fielder’s choice, Sean Rodriguez singled. James Loney and Jose Molina then delivered back-to-back RBI singles, giving the Rays a 5-1 lead.
That would be more than enough support for Price, who retired the side in order in both the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings to give the Rays the victory.
The Rays and Red Sox will finish off this four-game series tomorrow night at 7:10 pm ET. The Rays will send Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62 ERA) to the mound to face off against John Lackey (7-7, 2.95 ERA) with first place on the line.
About the Author
Written by Will Creager
I'm currently a senior at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, FL, studying math and sports journalism. Sports are my passion, especially baseball.