Boston Red Sox Game Recap: April 16, 2017 vs. Tampa Bay Rays

On Easter Sunday the Red Sox faced the Tampa Bay Rays with lefty Drew Pomeranz on the mound while the Rays sent out righty Alex Cobb.

Pomeranz started off the first inning by throwing six straight balls, walking Steven Souza on four pitches before walking Kevin Kiermaier on seven pitches. After striking out Evan Longoria, Pomeranz surrendered a Brad Miller triple off the Green Monster that gave the Rays an early 2-0 lead. Miller scored while Rickie Weeks was at the plate on a passed ball. Pomeranz struck Weeks out, but then allowed his second hit of the inning on a slow roller past the pitcher that second baseman Dustin Pedroia could not make a play on. Dickerson would advance to second on a wild pitch, but Pomeranz was able to strike out Daniel Robertson to keep the score at 3-0 Rays.

Andrew Benintendi hit a check-swing double down the third-base line, following a Dustin Pedroia groundout. Mookie Betts drove Benintendi home on a double down the first-base line that bounced into the stands. Betts advanced to third base on a Hanley Ramirez line-drive single to the opposite field. The Red Sox chipped away at the Rays’ lead with a seeing-eye single by Mitch Moreland that scored Betts and advanced Ramirez to third. Cobb was able to induce an inning-ending double play from Xander Bogaerts to hold his team’s lead at 3-2.

After Pomeranz’s rocky start, the lefty retired eight straight batters, including five straight strikeouts, before allowing a solo shot by Dickerson that gave the Rays a 4-2 lead. Pomeranz bounced back, though, striking out Roberson and Jesus Sucre to end the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fourth, Bogaerts hit a one-out double down the third-base line and was driven home on a Pablo Sandoval two-run shot over the Green Monster. Chris Young then shot a hard ground ball by third baseman Daniel Robertson for a single. Christian Vazquez joined the party with a single through the right side of the infield, moving Young to second base. A long fly ball by Pedroia allowed Young to tag up and advance to third base. That’s as far as he would go, however, as Benintendi popped out, keeping the score knotted at four all.

The Rays retook the lead on a leadoff solo shot by Tim Beckham. Pomeranz then got Souza to fly out to right before Kiermaier smacked a single up the middle. The Kiermaier hit prompted Red Sox manager John Farrell to hop out of the dugout and replace his starter with righty reliever Joe Kelly. Pomeranz threw 103 pitches through 4 ⅓ innings including a 28-pitch first inning. The lefty struck out 10 Rays, allowing five runs on five hits and two walks. Kelly induced an inning-ending double play on his fourth pitch, holding the score at 5-4 Rays.

Danny Farquhar replaced Cobb in the bottom of the sixth. The Rays righty went five innings, giving up four runs on 11 hits and a walk. Farquhar struck out the first two batters he faced before getting Christian Vazquez to fly out to right field to end the inning.

After Kelly threw a scoreless top of the seventh, Farquhar came back out and allowed back-to-back one-out singles by Benintendi and Betts. The righty then walked Hanley Ramirez, spelling the end of his day.

Lefty Xavier Cedeno replaced Farquhar to face left-handed hitting Mitch Moreland with the bases juiced. Moreland smacked an opposite field single, chasing Benintendi and Betts home to give the Red Sox a 6-5 lead. Ramirez came up gimpy at second base, however, resulting in the designated hitter being removed from the game. Steve Selsky replaced Ramirez on the basepaths. Cedeno then retired Bogaerts on a fly to center and Sandoval on a fly to left that required an excellent diving catch by Dickerson.

Setup man Matt Barnes entered the game in lieu of Kelly, who allowed just one hit over 2 ⅔ innings of relief. Kiermaier greeted Barnes with a single to center field. The speedy Ray center fielder then stole second with Longoria at the plate. Barnes then struck out the next two batters before walking pinch hitter Logan Morrison. The walk was all John Farrell needed to see as the manager ambled out to the mound and called for left-handed Robby Scott. The lefty forced Dickerson to pop out to Sandoval to end the inning with the Red Sox maintaining their 6-5 advantage.

Austin Pruitt relieved Farquhar in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a leadoff single by Chris Young. The Red Sox outfielder was brought home by a Vazquez double down the third-base line. It was Vazquez’s third double of the season and the catcher is hitting .667 on the early season. Vazquez was then thrown out at third base trying to advance on a Pedroia flyout to left field. Benintendi followed the double play with an opposite field double, which was followed by the intentional walk of Mookie Betts to bring up Selsky. Pruitt sat Selsky down by way of the K, holding the Rays’ deficit at 7-5.

Craig Kimbrel came out to the mound with the two-run lead and an opportunity for his fifth save of the season. The Red Sox closer got Robertson to pop straight back behind the plate and Vazquez made a fantastic play, leaping into the protective netting to make the catch:

Pinch hitter Shane Peterson and Tim Beckham then struck out to end the game. Kimbrel has now converted his last 23 save opportunities.

The Red Sox will face the Rays for the fourth and final game of the series at 11:05 AM for the annual Patriots’ Day celebration with Steven Wright on the mound to face Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell.


Follow Pete on Twitter @PeterWHodges

Featured image courtesy of Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau

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