Rays win as bullpen finally delivers against Boston

by Gary Shelton on July 31, 2019 · 0 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Garcia drove in three runs for Tampa Bay./CHUCK MULLER

Wednesday, 4 a.m.

It's hard to overcome the Boston Red Sox.

It's hard to overcome David Price. It's hard to overcome the Rays' bullpen. It's hard to overcome a rare wobbly start by Charlie Morton.

But in Tuesday night's 6-5 victory over the Sox at Fenway Park, did the Rays have to overcome a quick trigger on the part of manager Kevin Cash?

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Pagan earned his eighth save./JEFFREY S. KING

Perhaps. Morton was struggling, as was opposing starter David Price. Neither player made it out of the fifth inning, and Price gave up nine hits to Morton's seven.

But with two outs in the bottom of the fifth, Cash pulled Morton from the game with a 4-3 lead. On the first pitch after Morton's departure, Andrew Benintendi hit a two-run homer off of Adam Kolarek for a 4-3 lead.

"He deserves the opportunity to finish that inning," Cash said. "I wish I had given it to him."

Morton seemed frustrated with the early pull from the game, but the Rays' bullpen -- which has struggled all season -- performed well. Six relievers gave up only one run. Kolarek got the win and Emilio Pagan -- who worked his way out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth -- got his eighth save.

“It was a really, really difficult decision," Cash said of pulling Morton. "If I had to go back and do it again, I don’t know if I could come up with the same result. Charlie certainly deserves the opportunity to finish that inning. There were some thoughts and match-ups involved. I thought about that throughout the game. We have so much trust in him, we don’t want to question that by any means."

The Rays scored three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth. Travis d'Arnaud hit his eighth home run of the month, and Avi Garcia hit his 13th of the season.

Matt Duffy had two hits for the Rays, as did d'Arnaud, Austin Meadows, Garcia and Nate Lowe.

The Rays pulled 1 1/2 games ahead of Boston in the Wild Card race. They were temporarily tied with Oakland (which played late) for the second slot.

Tampa Bay has not announced a starting pitcher for tonight's game, but Rick Porcello will start for Boston. The game begins at 7:10 p.m. at Fenway Park


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