Kutter Crawford struck out a career-high eight batters in 5 1/3 two-hit, shutout innings and Trevor Story homered in the fourth to propel the Boston Red Sox to a 4-0 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon.
Story went 2-for-4 and joined Rafael Devers and Christian Arroyo (both 2-for-4) as repeat hitters for Boston, which has won back-to-back games thanks to its seventh shutout win of the season.
The Red Sox were playing the first of 17 consecutive games against American League East rivals.
The Boston pitching trio of Austin Davis, Crawford (2-2) and John Schreiber held Tampa Bay to just a pair of singles by Yandy Diaz and Wander Franco.
Neither team scored until the fourth inning. With two outs, Story sent his 13th homer of the season into the Boston bullpen in right-center field.
Arroyo’s leadoff double inside the left-field line and Bobby Dalbec’s groundout set the table for the second Red Sox run in the fifth. Devers drove Arroyo home on a two-out infield single.
Devers, J.D. Martinez and Christian Vazquez began Boston’s eighth with consecutive singles before Alex Verdugo’s bases-loaded fielder’s choice comebacker slid under the glove of the Rays’ Josh Fleming to bring in a run. Franchy Cordero then made it 4-0 with a single to right.
Fleming (2-4) worked five innings of relief allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits.
Both starting pitchers received unexpected assignments and lasted two innings. Davis subbed in for Michael Wacha, who has “dead arm” and who Alex Cora hopes can start later this week. Davis pitched two scoreless, hitless frames with two strikeouts.
Boston had scheduled a bullpen game as a result, but Crawford took it over by facing just four batters over the minimum in the longest outing of his MLB career.
All of Boston’s traffic against Tampa Bay opener Jalen Beeks came in the second inning as Vazquez walked and Story and Arroyo singled. Beeks struck out Dalbec to strand the bases loaded.
Crawford worked a 1-2-3 seventh inning bookended by strikeouts before a one-out wild pitch in the eighth forced Schreiber into the game. Schreiber recorded the last five outs for his third save.
–Field Level Media