Red Sox flex their muscles against Tampa Bay

by Gary Shelton on August 18, 2018 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Chirinos struggled for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Chirinos struggled for the Rays./JEFFREY S. KING

Saturday, 3 a.m

Oh. So that's why the Boston Red Sox are baseball's equivalent to Attila and his backup band, the Huns.

Because they hit like that.

And they pitch like that.

And they field like that.

Yeah, the Red Sox -- 51 games over .500 -- put on a show for the Tampa Bay Rays Friday night. Boston spotted the Rays a three-run lead in the top of the first, then shellacked the Rays for the rest of the game.

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Smith and Wendle lead the Rays' hitters again./JEFFREY S. KING

Smith and Wendle lead the Rays' hitters again./JEFFREY S. KING

Tampa Bay had won five of its previous seven games, and allowed just nine runs in its previous six games. On this night,  however, it could barely slow down the Red Sox.

Once again, the Rays lost a chance to return to its high-water mark of four games over .500. It was the sixth time in a row the Rays have lost when three above .500.

Most of the reason, of course, is that the Rays' pitching, for a change, was not sharp. Yonny Chirinos, for instance, threw six innings and gave up nine hits and

Stanek couldn't stop Boston in the first./JEFFREY S. KING

Stanek couldn't stop Boston in the first./JEFFREY S. KING

five runs. Opener Ryne Stanek, spotted a 3-0 lead, immediately gave back two in his one inning of work.

“I thought Yonny uncharacteristically was up in the zone," said Rays' manager Kevin Cash. "He left his fastball there. He really didn’t have an off-speed pitch to go to. Every time he threw a slider or a split, it was strike up or ball up. When you go  (with) limited weapons, the Red Sox are going to get you.

"He got hit maybe as hard as I’ve seen, but he’ll bounce back. He’ll make some adjustments. He’ll bounce back. The slider was up a little last time, so it’s two outings in a row. I think he’ll go out and get some side work in and really focus on getting that ball down and getting some depth on it. He's a sinkerball pitcher, and when it's not sinking, it's not a good thing."

Cash saw the Red Sox score seven straight runs./JEFFREY S. KING

Cash saw the Red Sox score seven straight runs./JEFFREY S. KING

Stanek struggled, too.

"His pitch count got up," Cash said. "He gave them the momentum right back. Ryne’s done such a good job in that role. Today was a hiccup."

The Rays had four hits in the first inning off Brian Johnson, but only three the rest of the way.

Once again, Tampa Bay's offense was led by Mallex Smith and Joey Wendle, each with two hits. Smith is now hitting .301 and Wendle is hitting .295.

Boston trailed 3-2 going into the fourth inning but scored five runs in four innings to pull out the win. Xander Boegarts had three extra-base hits for the Red Sox.

Tonight, the teams play again. Tyler Glasnow pitches for the Rays against former Tampa Bay star David Price (12-6) at 7:05 p.m. at Fenway.

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