Advertisement
  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rays

Rays rally to complete a sweep of Red Sox

Taylor Walls and Yandy Diaz have the big hits in a five-run seventh inning after a quiet start to the night.
The Rays' Josh Lowe slides into home plate, scoring a run in the seventh inning as Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki awaits the throw Thursday night.
The Rays' Josh Lowe slides into home plate, scoring a run in the seventh inning as Red Sox catcher Kevin Plawecki awaits the throw Thursday night. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]
Published Jul. 15|Updated Jul. 15

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays were trudging out of Great American Ball Park on Sunday afternoon, having lost two key players to injury and been swept in a three-game series by a Reds team that started the weekend with the second-fewest wins.

More vexing, they were headed home to face the American League wild card-leading Red Sox in a four-game series that could have a pivotal impact on their season.

Yandy Diaz said not to worry, noting how the Rays tend to step up against the better teams. “I think,” he said, “we’re going to be all right against Boston.”

As with most of his trips to the plate these days, Diaz hit it on the barrel.

The Rays were more than all right, sweeping the Red Sox and taking over the top wild-card spot along the way, capping the series Thursday with a 5-4 come-from-behind win.

Appropriately, Diaz delivered the decisive run, bouncing a single over the drawn-in Boston infield to score two, capping a five-run seventh inning in which the Rays turned a 3-0 deficit into a 5-3 lead.

Yandy Diaz's single in the seventh inning ends up scoring two runs.
Yandy Diaz's single in the seventh inning ends up scoring two runs. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

“I’ve always said this team is the team that plays up when we play against these teams,” said Diaz, via team interpreter Manny Navarro. “And even though we may have the confidence with a team that may not be that good, something happens when we play against the teams that are this good and we just step it up.”

Shortstop Taylor Walls, who had the other big knock in the nine-batter, six-hit inning — a score-tying two-run single — said the Rays may need to focus more on themselves and less on the opponent.

“I think we’ve had the tendency this year to play down to competition, I guess you could say, or up to competition as well,” he said. “So I guess the focus thing, more of not really trying to pay attention to who’s on the other side, just trying to come in and just do the best that you can do. A little more focus, I think, and that’ll clean itself up.

“But guys in here know that that’s what it takes, and everybody’s coming to the field every day with the mindset of trying to get better and play every game as hard as you can.”

As the Rays (49-40) were shut down and shut out over the first six innings by Kutter Crawford, the Red Sox built a 3-0 lead off starter Drew Rasmussen, who pitched well overall.

Want more than just the box score?

Want more than just the box score?

Subscribe to our free Rays Report newsletter

Columnist John Romano will send the latest Rays insights and analysis to keep you updated weekly during the season.

You’re all signed up!

Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.

Explore all your options

But Rafael Devers homered off him on an 0-2 slider in the fourth inning. And an 0-2 to 4-2 walk of JD Martinez with two outs, and a run-scoring wild pitch that bounced past new catcher Christian Bethancourt, also factored in Boston’s two-run sixth.

But the Rays got to Crawford in the seventh, getting him out of the game. Rookie Jonathan Aranda doubled, Bethancourt singled and Josh Lowe doubled for one run.

“We had said in the dugout that if Aranda gets on base that something was gonna happen,” Diaz said. “So once he got on base, it all happened.”

Jonathan Aranda (62) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the seventh inning.
Jonathan Aranda (62) celebrates with teammates in the dugout after scoring a run in the seventh inning. [ IVY CEBALLO | Times ]

Walls greeted reliever John Schreiber, who had the majors’ best 0.60 ERA (minimum 30 innings) coming in, then laced a single to leftfield on an 0-2 pitch that scored two.

Luke Raley was hit by a pitch, Brett Phillips bunted the runners up and Diaz, the Rays’ hottest hitter and top prognosticator, bounced a single over second, scoring two to make it 5-3.

“That’s encouraging,” manager Kevin Cash said. “Good lineups figure out ways to do that.”

Jalen Beeks worked himself into and out of trouble in the ninth inning, allowing a run but getting the final three outs, as the Rays won for the third time this season after being down three or more runs.

The four-game sweep was the 20th in the Rays’ 25-season history and third over Boston, though first at Tropicana Field.

“When we have a series like we did against Cincinnati, it’s hard to stay positive,” Diaz said. “But as long as we stay positive, we knew we were going into a good series against Boston. So we were just prepared for that.”

• • •

Sign up for the Rays Report weekly newsletter to get fresh perspectives on the Tampa Bay Rays and the rest of the majors from sports columnist John Romano.

Never miss out on the latest with the Bucs, Rays, Lightning, Florida college sports and more. Follow our Tampa Bay Times sports team on Twitter and Facebook.

Advertisement

This site no longer supports your current browser. Please use a modern and up-to-date browser version for the best experience.

Chrome Firefox Safari Edge