As Tampa Bay prepares to conclude a three-game series with the Boston Red Sox, there is a good chance a lot of momentum will be on the Rays’ side in the Wednesday night finale at St. Petersburg, Fla.
On Tuesday night, the Rays fought back for a dramatic win when Brandon Lowe swatted a three-run homer to beat Boston 8-6 in 11 innings.
Tampa Bay (84-55) almost got the win in the 10th — then it almost didn’t happen at all.
With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th, Josh Lowe, representing the potential winning run, was doubled up at home on Christian Bethancourt’s fly to right. Adam Duvall’s throw was up the third base line but in time enough for catcher Connor Wong to tag the speedy Lowe.
The Red Sox (72-67) took a one-run lead into the bottom of the 11th when Luis Urias dropped a flare into right over the Rays’ drawn-in infield. Brandon Lowe appeared to catch the ball, bobbled it and saw it fall to the ground as Rob Refsnyder came home with the go-ahead run.
Though Urias was credited with a hit, Brandon Lowe atoned for his inability to make the play by crushing his game-winning homer to right off Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen after Yandy Diaz walked.
“It felt great, honestly, with us being up early and kind of playing some shoddy defense there in that inning,” said Lowe, who also made an error at second base in the seventh when Boston scored twice to tie it at 5. “I guarantee you half of our infield and some of our other guys felt horrible.
“Feeling that off (homer) the bat kind of relieved all that pressure from the stank of that inning.”
The Red Sox saw their three-game winning streak end and failed to clinch the series. They will try again on Wednesday, likely with outfielder Alex Verdugo (left hamstring tightness) on the bench.
“He’s doing OK,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll take it day by day, obviously. Playing here (on artificial turf) doesn’t help, obviously. We’ll see how he responds to treatment.”
Cora did not rule out the availability of Verdugo for the series finale but stressed that a return later in the week was more realistic.
“Maybe Wednesday, and then hopefully, he can get better throughout the week and be ready for Friday,” Cora said.
The left-handed-hitting Verdugo is batting .278 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs in 124 games.
On Wednesday, Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow (7-5, 3.17 ERA) will make his 10th career appearance (all starts) against the Red Sox. He look to improve on his 2-1 record and 3.59 ERA vs. Boston. Glasnow got a no-decision against the Red Sox on June 3 after giving up one run in 5 1/3 innings.
Boston has hit .215 against the Newhall, Calif., native and stolen 12 bases — the most by any team against him.
The Red Sox will send out Nick Pivetta (9-7, 4.49 ERA) in an effort to leave the Sunshine State with a series-clinching victory.
In 10 career appearances (nine starts) against the Rays, the right-hander is 1-5 with a 4.44 ERA and a .214 opponents’ batting average. He has no decisions and a 1.59 ERA in two games (one start) vs. Tampa Bay this year.
–Field Level Media