The Tampa Bay Rays will be seeking their fifth straight win when they meet the Red Sox Wednesday night in Boston.
The resurgent offense led the Rays to victories in the first two games of the four-game series at Fenway Park. Following Tampa Bay’s 8-7 series-opening win Monday night — a game that featured a season-high 16 hits and eight walks for the Rays — the team batting average climbed to .222, good for 10th in the AL.
And the Rays backed up that performance with their fourth straight victory on Tuesday, grabbing an 8-2 victory behind yet another explosive seventh inning.
Tampa Bay scored six times in the frame, getting run-producing hits from Manuel Margot, pinch hitter Brandon Lowe, Yandy Diaz and Hunter Renfroe to blow open a close game and win for the fifth time in the past six contests.
“We needed it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said of the big seventh inning. “We talked about seeing if we could get on a roll offensively. The guys had some good at-bats (Monday). (Boston starter) Martin Perez pitched a good game against us, but we were able to get to their bullpen and have big at-bat after big at-bat and put a crooked number up there to give us some breathing room.”
Opener Andrew Kittredge (right elbow soreness) left after facing just two batters in the first inning. He will be examined by doctors on Wednesday.
Left-hander Blake Snell (0-0, 3.38) will take the mound for Tampa Bay and look to increase his work output from his last outing against the New York Yankees in a 1-0 win on Friday.
The 2018 AL Cy Young award winner, Snell only tossed 59 pitches in his three-inning outing, but he said he would like to work five innings against the Red Sox. In 10 career starts against Boston, the 27-year-old Snell is 5-3 with a 3.10 ERA.
“Me going three innings and them (the bullpen) having to cover, I mean that’s a tough task,” Snell said of his short outing in the Yankees game that featured just four hits — two by each club. “(But) they’re always ready.”
Boston’s pitching has gone south through the first two games of the series, giving up 16 runs and wasting a good offensive output in the series opener.
The cellar-dwelling Red Sox slipped to five games under .500, fell five games behind the first-place New York Yankees and lost for the third time in four contests.
They managed nine hits in Tuesday’s loss but were not able to string them together to produce runs, despite Mitch Moreland being back in the lineup after missing Monday’s game. Third baseman Rafael Devers (ankle) was out for the second straight.
Boston manager Ron Roenicke was straightforward in his postgame assessment of his club’s performance, stating, “If we play this way, we’re not going to win many games.”
Zack Godley (0-1, 3.97) will make his third start and fourth appearance of the season for Boston. In his most recent start, Sunday against the Toronto Blue Jays, the right-hander tossed four scoreless innings.
The South Carolina native has made two relief appearances (no record, 6.75 ERA) against the Rays and posted one save.
–Field Level Media