The Rays looked positioned for the kind of win they needed after a pair of uncharacteristically ugly losses.
Tyler Glasnow was dealing again on the mound, the offense scratched out a few runs and the bullpen got through two of the next three innings.
But reliever Diego Castillo spoiled that plan, allowing a game-tying homer to Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez leading off the ninth on an 0-2 pitch.
It took a while longer, and included a few more helping hands, but the Rays then ruined the night, ending up with a third straight loss, 6-5 in 12 innings.
The Rays had taken the lead in the top of the 12th, and on catcher Mike Zunino’s legs, of all things. Zunino, starting at second in the carryover of the 2020 extra-inning rule, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a slow grounder by Randy Arozarena.
And they were a strike away from winning the game, Ryan Thompson getting the first two outs, then going 0-2 on Alex Verdugo before hitting him with a pitch.
“Not ideal,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
That hurt the Rays, too, as it brought ever-dangerous J.D. Martinez to the plate, and he laced a ball that got over Arozarena’s head and outstretched reach, as he was unable to replicate the highlight-worthy catch he made Monday.
“Obviously we know (Martinez) can drive the ball really well that way,” Zunino said. “It looked like Randy had a bead on it early, but it’s been pretty interesting with this cool weather what balls carry and what balls don’t.
“After the play he made (Monday), there’s not too much you think he may not be able to get to. It looked like he was right on it but (Martinez) was just able to hit it out of his reach.”
Thompson took the blame.
“Randy’s about as close to Superman as you can get,” he said. “I’m a sinkerball guy. I can’t let J.D. hit that ball like he did. That’s on me, 100 percent.”
Plus, Thompson said, he shouldn’t have hit Verdugo, noting he didn’t have good command for much of his outing.
The pressures, and momentum swings, of the extra inning game can be challenging with the runners on second, but Thompson wasn’t looking for an excuse. “Didn’t have any impact on my poor performance,” he said. ‘It’s just one of those nights.”
Neither team scored in the 10th, the Rays getting an impressive escape job by reliever Andrew Kittredge — whose season ended last year in Boston when he walked off the mound with an elbow injury — and a clutch play by shortstop Willy Adames with the infield in.
Then both teams scored in the 11th. Adames, who made a baserunning mistake earlier, doubled in Brandon Lowe for the Rays. Rafael Devers slapped Jeffrey Springs’ first pitch for a single to get the Red Sox even, though Springs and Thompson teamed to keep them there.
Glasnow followed up his opening-day gem with another much-needed strong outing at Fenway Park, again working six innings, scattering four hits, allowing one run (that scored on a wild pitch in the first), walking two and striking out nine.
Most impressively, he got big outs when he needed them.
He struck out Marwin Gonzalez looking at a 98.5 mph fastball with runners on second and third to end the fourth. Then with two on and two out in the sixth, Glasnow got pinch-hitter Kike Hernandez swinging at a 98.1 mph fastball.
Castillo giving up the tying homer was unexpected.
“To be able to sit on 96-plus with some sink and barrel it up, good piece of hitting,” Zunino said. “We’ll learn from that situation and go from there.”
The Rays got two runs in the third, loading the bases with one out when Zunino singled, Yandy Diaz walked and Arozarena singled. An out later, Manuel Margot delivered their first clutch hit, a single to right that scored two.
The Rays extended the lead to 3-1 in the sixth when Joey Wendle came through with a two-out pinch-hit single.
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