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Yonny Chirinos leads Rays to win in first game since 2020

Sportsnaut
Sep 7, 2022; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays shortstop Taylor Walls (0) hits a single and drives catcher Francisco Mejia (21) in the fifth inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Dave Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Reliever Yonny Chirinos won in his first appearance in more than two years, Taylor Walls singled in the only run and the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox in a 1-0 shutout Wednesday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Fully recovered from Tommy John surgery after multiple setbacks, Chirinos (1-0) took over for starter Jeffrey Springs in the fourth to pitch for the first time since Aug. 16, 2020.

He got the win with three innings using 53 pitches, allowing four hits and one walk plus four strikeouts as the Rays (77-58) won for the eighth time in nine games.

They are 12-4 against their American League East rival.

During Chirinos’ stint, Boston starter Nick Pivetta (9-11) yielded a double to Francisco Mejia leading off the fifth inning, then the Red Sox (67-71) were burned by the shift after Mejia advanced to third on a flyout.

With three infielders on the right side of second base and the infield in, Walls grounded a slow single into the shortstop area for the game-winning RBI.

Walls finished 2-for-3 with a double and a stolen base, and Randy Arozarena singled and walked.

Rays relievers Colin Poche, Jason Adam and Pete Fairbanks pitched scoreless innings behind Chirinos.

Enrique Hernandez produced a 2-for-5 showing with double as Boston outhit Tampa Bay 6-4 but scored just seven runs in the three losses.

Pivetta went five innings and allowed the single run on two hits. He struck out three and walked three to rebound from a three-inning start against the Texas Rangers on Friday.

Playing without third- and four-place hitters Xander Bogaerts (back spasms) and Rafael Devers (off day), Boston threatened in the first after Hernandez’s leadoff double and a walk to Trevor Story. But J.D. Martinez — out the three previous days with back tightness — flew out to right.

Despite going to a full count against eight of the first 10 Rays hitters, Pivetta kept the Rays hitless through the first four innings.

Walls tried to extend the advantage in the seventh with two outs, but he was thrown out at home while attempting to score from second base on a wild pitch.

Adam worked out of a second-and-third, one-out threat by getting Martinez on a shallow flyout and Christian Arroyo on a grounder to third in the eighth.

Fairbanks struck out two and walked one in the ninth for his sixth save.

–Field Level Media