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AL Division Series: Rays-Red Sox Game 1 updates

Randy Arozarena homers, reaches base three times and steals home (!) as Tampa Bay takes a one-game series lead.
Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56), right, slides into home plate as Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7), center, anticipates the throw while Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8), left, and umpire Dan Bellino (2) watch the play during the seventh inning in Game 1 of the ALDS Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in St. Petersburg. Arozarena was called safe stealing home. This was the first stolen home base during a postseason game since 2016.
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Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56), right, slides into home plate as Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7), center, anticipates the throw while Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe (8), left, and umpire Dan Bellino (2) watch the play during the seventh inning in Game 1 of the ALDS Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021 in St. Petersburg. Arozarena was called safe stealing home. This was the first stolen home base during a postseason game since 2016. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 7
Updated Oct. 8

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Randy Arozarena homered, reached base three times and stole home as the Rays beat the Red Sox 5-0 in Game 1 of the American League Division Series Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Tampa Bay will take a 1-0 lead into Game 2 of the best-of-five series Friday at the Trop. Boston was shut out in a postseason game for the first time in five years.

Nelson Cruz homered off the C-ring in centerfield to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 3-0 in the third. Arozarena crushed a Nick Pivetta pitch 397 feet into the leftfield seats in the fifth to make it 4-0.

Arozarena did the unthinkable in the seventh, stealing home to score the Rays’ final run. With the Red Sox not bothering to hold him on third, Arozarena broke for the plate and slid in well ahead of Josh Taylor’s throw to catcher Christian Vazquez.

It was the first time in MLB postseason history a player hit a home run and stole home in the same game.

Earlier, the Rays hustled their way to two runs in the first.

After drawing a leadoff walk, Arozarena scored from first on Wander Franco’s double into centerfield, which Enrique Hernandez bobbled. After advancing to third on a Brandon Lowe sacrifice fly, Franco scored when Yandy Diaz dove headfirst into first base to beat out a grounder to third.

Rays starter Shane McClanahan held the Red Sox scoreless on five hits over five innings before being relieved by JT Chargois to start the sixth. McClanahan struck out three in the first, allowing only a single to Kyle Schwarber before blowing a 100 mph heater past Rafael Devers to end the inning.

Here’s how it happened:

Ninth inning

Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena (56) steals home, sliding safely into the plate ahead of the tag of Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7) during the seventh inning.
Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena (56) steals home, sliding safely into the plate ahead of the tag of Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez (7) during the seventh inning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (J.P. Feyereisen pitching)

Alex Verdugo strikes out swinging on an 87 mph changeup

Bobby Dalbec pops out to catcher Mike Zunino in foul territory

Christian Vazquez flies out to rightfielder Manuel Margot in foul territory

(Rays win 5-0)

Eighth inning

The Rays' Brett Phillips, left, and Randy Arozarena, right, celebrate Arozarena’s fifth-inning home run.
The Rays' Brett Phillips, left, and Randy Arozarena, right, celebrate Arozarena’s fifth-inning home run. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (J.P. Feyereisen pitching)

Christian Arroyo singles to rightfield

Enrique Hernandez flies to Manuel Margot in shallow rightfield

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Kyle Schwarber singles to right centerfeld, moving Arroyo to second. The Red Sox have two on with one out.

(Pete Fairbanks warming up for the Rays)

Xander Bogaerts skies a fly ball to shallow centerfield that Kevin Kiermaier loses in the lights, resulting in a single that loads the bases. Couple of big at-bats coming up.

Rafael Devers strikes out on a 92 mph fastball with good backspin

Hunter Renfroe pops out to first baseman Yandy Diaz in foul territory, and the Rays escape the jam.

Rays at bat (Adam Ottavino pitching)

Nelson Cruz grounds out to second baseman Christian Arroyo

Yandy Diaz grounds out to shortstop Xander Bogaerts

Joey Wendle fies out to Alex Verdugo in deep right centerfield

(Rays lead 5-0 after eight innings)

Seventh inning

Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena connects for a solo homer in the fifth inning.
Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena connects for a solo homer in the fifth inning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (David Robertson pitching)

Alex Verdugo grounds out to third baseman Joey Wendle

Bobby Dalbec flies out to Manuel Margot at the base of the rightfield wall

Christian Vazquez taps out to shortstop Wander Franco

Rays at bat (Nick Pivetta pitching)

Mike Zunino flies out to leftfielder Alex Verdugo

Kevin Kiermaier flies out to centerfielder Enrique Hernandez

Randy Arozarena draws a walk

Wander Franco doubles down the third-base line, his second of the night, moving Arozarena to third. The Rays have runners at second and third with two outs.

(Josh Taylor relieves Nick Pivetta)

The Red Sox don’t bother holding him on base, and Randy Arozarena takes advantage by stealing home, easily beating Josh Taylor’s throw to the plate. Rays 5, Red Sox 0.

Brandon Lowe pops out to second baseman Christian Arroyo in short rightfield

(Rays lead 5-0 after seven innings)

Sixth inning

Rays catcher Mike Zunino (10) connects for a single in the fourth inning.
Rays catcher Mike Zunino (10) connects for a single in the fourth inning. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (JT Chargois pitching)

Xander Bogaerts singles to centerfield

Rafael Devers flies out to centerfielder Kevin Kiermaier

Hunter Renfroe grounds into an inning-ending double play, Brandon Lowe to Yandy Diaz

Rays at bat (Nick Pivetta pitching)

Yandy Diaz lines out to rightfielder Hunter Renfroe

Joey Wendle strikes out swinging on a 78 mph knuckle curve

Manuel Margot strikes out swinging on a 78 mph knuckle curve

(Rays lead 4-0 after six innings)

Fifth inning

Rays designated hitter Nelson Cruz watches his third-inning home run.
Rays designated hitter Nelson Cruz watches his third-inning home run. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (Shane McClanahan pitching)

Christian Vazquez flies out to Manuel Margot on the warning track in rightfield

Christian Arroyo singles sharply into left centerfield

Enrique Hernandez pops out to first baseman Jordan Luplow

Kyle Schwarber hits into a forceout, Wander Franco retiring Arroyo at second

Rays at bat (Nick Pivetta pitching)

Randy Arozarena CRUSHES a pitch 397 feet into the leftfield seats. The ball had an exit velocity of 107 mph when it left his bat. Rays 4, Red Sox 0.

Wander Franco flies out to leftfielder Alex Verdugo

Brandon Lowe grounds out to second baseman Christian Arroyo

Nelson Cruz flies out to rightfielder Hunter Renfroe

(Rays lead 4-0 after five innings)

Fourth inning

Rays catcher Mike Zunino (10) walk offs the field with pitcher Shane McClanahan (62) following the top of the second inning.
Rays catcher Mike Zunino (10) walk offs the field with pitcher Shane McClanahan (62) following the top of the second inning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (Shane McClanahan pitching)

Xander Bogaerts bounces out to second baseman Brandon Lowe

Rafael Devers lines a single into leftfield

Hunter Renfroe pops out to first baseman Jordan Luplow

Alex Verdugo singles to centerfield past a diving Wander Franco. Devers moves to second, giving Boston two on with two out.

Bobby Dalbec lines out to third baseman Yandy Diaz

Rays at bat (Nick Pivetta pitching)

Manuel Margot grounds out sharply to pitcher Nick Pivetta

Mike Zunino bloops an opposite-field single into right centerfield

Kevin Kiermaier grounds into a 4-6-3 double play

(Rays lead 3-0 after four innings)

Third inning

Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan delivers a pitch in the first inning, when he struck out three of the four batters he faced.
Rays starting pitcher Shane McClanahan delivers a pitch in the first inning, when he struck out three of the four batters he faced. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (Shane McClanahan pitching)

Christian Arroyo grounds out to third baseman Yandy Diaz, who makes a nice back-handed grab on an in-between hop.

Enrique Hernandez grounds out up the middle to second baseman Brandon Lowe

Kyle Schwarber grounds out to second baseman Brandon Lowe. Shane McClanahan gets through the inning on just 11 pitches.

Rays at bat (Nick Pivetta pitching)

Wander Franco strikes out swinging on an 86 mph slider

Brandon Lowe grounds out to second baseman Christian Arroyo in short rightfield

Nelson Cruz homers off the C-ring in centerfield. Rays 3, Red Sox 0.

Yandy Diaz draws a walk

Jordan Luplow strikes out swinging on a 78 mph knuckle curve

(Rays lead 3-0 after three innings)

Second inning

Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena (56) scores on a double by Wander Franco in the first inning.
Rays leftfielder Randy Arozarena (56) scores on a double by Wander Franco in the first inning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (Shane McClanahan pitching)

Hunter Renfroe singles off the leftfield wall, Randy Arozarena saving a base by playing the carom off the wall and making a strong throw to second.

Alex Verdugo reaches on an error by second baseman Brandon Lowe. Renfroe advances to second, giving Boston two on with none out.

Bobby Dalbec hits into a 4-6-3 double play, Brandon Lowe to Wander Franco to Brandon Luplow. Renfroe moves to third with two outs.

Christian Vaqzuez flies out to Kevin Kiermaier in shallow centerfield

Rays at bat (Eduardo Rodriguez pitching)

Manuel Margot draws a leadoff walk, the second straight inning Rodriguez has allowed a walk to open the inning.

(Garrett Richards is up throwing in the Red Sox bullpen)

Mike Zunino flies out to Enrique Hernandez at the warning track in deep centerfield. Margot advances to second with one out.

Kevin Kiermaier strikes out swinging on an 86 mph changeup

(Garrett Richards relieves Eduardo Rodriguez)

Randy Arozarena grounds out to shortstop Xander Bogaerts. First baseman Bobby Dalbec makes a nice scoop to complete the out.

(Rays lead Red Sox 2-0 after two innings)

First inning

Rays shortstop Wander Franco doubles to centerfield to drive home Randy Arozarena in the first inning.
Rays shortstop Wander Franco doubles to centerfield to drive home Randy Arozarena in the first inning. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]

Red Sox at bat (Shane McClanahan pitching)

Enrique Hernandez strikes out swinging on a curveball

Kyle Schwarber singles

Xander Bogaerts strikes out swinging, Schwarber steals second

Rafael Devers strikes out on a 100 mph fastball

Rays at bat (Eduardo Rodriguez pitching)

Randy Arozarena draws a leadoff walk

Wander Franco, in yellow sleeves, gloves, socks and shoes, lines a double into centerfield. Kike Hernandez bobbles the ball, and Arozarena scores all the way from first. Rays 1, Red Sox 0.

Brandon Lowe lines out to rightfielder Hunter Renfroe

Nelson Cruz flies out to Alex Verdugo in left centerfield. Franco advances to third.

Yandy Diaz dives headfirst into first base to beat out a groundball to third base. Franco scores on the play. Rays 2, Red Sox 0.

Jordan Luplow grounds out to third baseman Rafael Devers

(Rays lead Red Sox 2-0 after one inning)

Lineup cards

Mhas changed since the Rays met the Blue Jays in the best-of-three wild-card series to open the 2020 postseason at Tropicana Field little more than a year ago.

Rays outfielder Brett Phillips walks across the field just prior to the start of Game 1 of the ALDS Thursday at Tropicana Field.
Rays outfielder Brett Phillips walks across the field just prior to the start of Game 1 of the ALDS Thursday at Tropicana Field. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Much has changed since the Rays met the Blue Jays in the best-of-three wild-card series to open the 2020 postseason at Tropicana Field little more than a year ago.

The Rays again won the American League East but got to skip the wild-card game as the playoff field was restored to its normal 10 teams after being expanded to 16 last season. The Blue Jays failed to make the playoffs while the Red Sox, who finished last in the East a year ago, beat the Yankees in the wild-card game.

The Rays’ top two starters, Charlie Morton and Blake Snell, are gone. In their place atop the rotation are a couple of rookies who had never started a regular-season game before this season: Shane McClanahan and Shane Baz. The bullpen, which might be the team’s biggest strength, has been almost completely remade.

Outfielder Randy Arozarena, a relative unknown entering the 2020 playoffs, is now on everyone’s radar following a ridiculous 20-game run last postseason in which he had 29 hits, including a record-tying 14 extra-base hits, a record 10 home runs and 64 total bases.

The Rays lineup has been bolstered by the long-awaited promotion of heralded prospect Wander Franco and the addition of designated hitter Nelson Cruz, one of the most prolific power hitters in the game.

And though the pandemic persists, teams are back playing postseason games in their home stadiums with fans in the stands, about 30,000 expected for each of the first two games at the Trop.

But one thing hasn’t changed: the Rays continue to seek their first world championship.

After advancing to the World Series last season, they fell two wins short of their ultimate goal. The Rays hope to take the first step back toward that objective when they face the Red Sox in the best-of-five division series that gets underway tonight at the Trop.

McClanahan, a surprise addition to the postseason roster a year ago — when he became the first pitcher in major-league history to make his debut in a postseason game — will start Game 1 for the Rays. He will face Eduardo Rodriguez, who missed the entire 2020 season with heart complications after a bout with COVID.

The Rays got the better of the Red Sox during the regular season, winning 11 of the 19 games between the teams, though only outscoring them 106-104. The Sox swept an April series in Boston and the opener of a June series at the Trop before the Rays won 11 of the last 15. Tampa Bay moved into first place after sweeping Boston July 30-Aug. 1 and never gave it back, finishing eight games ahead of the Sox.

The teams have met twice before in the playoffs. The Rays beat the Red Sox in seven games in the 2008 American League Championship Series to advance to the first of their two World Series. Boston returned the favor in 2013, winning the ALDS three games to one.

The Rays’ set their 26-man roster for the series earlier Thursday, including relievers Matt Wisler and Josh Fleming but leaving off outfielder Brett Phillips and pitcher Ryan Yarbrough. Tampa Bay decided to carry 13 pitchers, which led to Phillips — the unlikely star of Game 4 of the 2020 World Series — being excluded.

Postseason rosters

Pregame scene

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