W: Drew Pomeranz (11-12) L: Chris Archer (8-19) S: Brad Ziegler (22)
ST. PETERSBURG – The Red Sox bullpen combined to shut down the Rays’ comeback bid and deliver a ninth consecutive victory for Boston. David Ortiz provided just enough offense for Drew Pomeranz to earn a win and send Chris Archer to his 19th loss of the year.
Here’s how it all happened:
ORTIZ BLASTS NUMBER 540
With a large crowd of Red Sox fans in attendance at Tropicana Field, Ortiz gave them a show right out of the gate.
Xander Bogaerts walked with one out in the first frame, and Ortiz proceeded to absolutely demolish a 3-2 fastball into the back wall of the dome for a quick 2-0 Sox lead.
It was his 37th bomb of the year and 540th of his career.
RAYS GET ON THE BOARD
Pomeranz pitched a clean bottom of the first inning, but got into old habits in the second frame.
Mikie Mahtook drilled a mislocated fastball for a solo homer to left field to cut Boston’s advantage in half.
It was the 14th long ball that Pomeranz has given up in 13 starts since coming to the Red Sox
POMERANZ ESCAPES JAMS WITH HELP FROM DEFENSE
In the third, Pomeranz was able to pitch around a one-out double by Luke Maile.
The Sox starter faced a similar situation in the fourth, with Brad Miller standing at second base and one out. Mahtook followed with a single to push Miller to third base.
This time, the defense backed Pomeranz with a gritty double play turned by Bogaerts and Pedroia.
RED SOX STRAND TWO-OUT BASERUNNERS
Boston had at least one baserunner with two outs in each of the third, fourth, and fifth innings. Two of those situations were thanks to a single by Mookie Betts.
Unfortunately, the clutch two-out hits went missing tonight and the Sox could not pad their lead off Archer.
NO INSURANCE FOR BULLPEN
In the eighth inning, Betts drew a leadoff walk, but Hanley grounded into a fielder’s choice to erase him.
Shaw then grounded out, though Hanley got to second with now two out.
Jackie Bradley Jr. was intentionally walked, and Andrew Benintendi pinch hit for catcher Bryan Holaday.
Benintendi drew a walk to load the bases, but the Sox again squandered an opportunity to extend the lead as Brock Holt popped out.
In the ninth, Bogaerts notched a one out single, but was left stranded at first base.
IMPRESSIVE RELIEF EFFORT
Pomeranz completed five innings on 78 pitches and was pulled to preserve his arm. He handed over a one-run lead to the bullpen.
Joe Kelly was the first to come out of the 'pen and pitched a clean sixth.
Robbie Ross Jr. and Matt Barnes combined to keep the lead intact in the seventh.
Barnes stayed in for the eighth and tallied two strikeouts before walking Logan Forsythe. Robby Scott took over and got the final out.
For the ninth, Brad Ziegler got the nod. He allowed a leadoff double to Evan Longoria, but settled down to get the next two batters out.
With the power threat, Corey Dickerson, coming to the plate, John Farrell gave the call to intentionally walk him and take a chance with the rookie Juniel Querecueto.
It paid off as Ziegler struck him out and sealed the win.
Betts did the Carlton dance to celebrate.
Up Next: The Red Sox and Rays continue their series tomorrow evening at 6:10 PM. Rick Porcello (21-4, 3.08 ERA) and Matt Andriese (8-7, 4.41 ERA) are the scheduled starters.
-Ortiz now has 53 career home runs against the Rays, which is second all-time.
-Ortiz tied Lou Gehrig for 10th on the all-time extra-base hits list with 1,190.
-Ortiz now has the most ever RBI for a player in his final season at 124. Shoeless Joe Jackson held the previous record of 123, set in 1920.
-Boston has won 17 of their last 22 games.
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