Rays win opener over Sox, 2-1
A game the Rays didn't want to play turned out pretty well after all, as they beat the Red Sox 2-1 in the opener of a split doubleheader Thursday.
David DeJesus drove in both runs - on a homer and a bases-loaded walk - and five #Rays pitchers combined to hold the Sox to four hits. Closer Grant Balfour, in his first action since blowing the save Friday in Chicago, survived a one-out single by Dustin Pedroia to finish it off, getting David Ortiz to tap out. Brandon Gomes got the win.
After the Sox took a 1-0 lead in a rough first by starter Cesar Ramos, the Rays grabbed the lead, though without doing too much against Sox starter Jake Peavy.
They tied it in the third when David DeJesus took advantage of the short Pesky Pole down the rightfield line for a homer. Then they took the lead in the fourth with Desmond Jennings led off with a double, and Peavy issued three consecutive two-out walk, to James Loney, Wil Myers and then DeJesus to force in the run.
The Rays kept the lead with a crisp defensive play - and a subsequent instant replay review - in the seventh. The Sox had Dustin Pedroia on first with one out when David Ortiz drove a Jake McGee pitch high off the Green Monster. Leftfielder Matt Joyce played the carom and relayed to shortstop Yunel Escobar, who fired the ball home, where catcher Jose Molina scooped it and slid across to block the plate and tag Pedroia, with first-base ump Toby Basner rotating behind the plate to make the call.
The Sox second baseman popped up to prostest, as did third-base coach Brian Butterfield, the former Eckerd assistant. The Sox requestred a review, and the replay officials decided there was not enough evidence to change the call. Butterfield protested again and and was ejected.
Ramos got off to a rough start, with three walks, a single and a wild pitch - plus an error by 1B James Loney - in a 35-pitch first, and was lucky to allow just one run.
That was all he gave up as he ended up throwing a career high 95 pitches - his previous high was 86 on Sept. 29, 2009 - but couldn't get through the fifth inning, as he walked his last two batters, Shane Victorino and David Ortiz. It was the 12th time in the last 16 games a Rays starter didn't work more than five innings, and 15th overall, matching the D-backs for the major-league high.
For his day's work, Ramos had a bit of an odd line: 4 2/3 innings, one hit, one run, six walks and six strikeouts.
The Rays didn't really want to be at Fenway on Thursday afternoon, manager Joe Maddon acknowledging they preferred that the makeup of Wednesday's rainout be postponed until later in the season "based on a lot of different factors.'' But since an exception in the MLB rules allows the Red Sox the to schedule split-doubleheaders when they want to and they had to play, Maddon said, "You don't cry about it, you don't make excuses about it, you just go play."
Rays right-hander Chris Archer will start the second game against Sox lefty Felix Doubront, with first pitch at 7:10.