Rays beat Red Sox behind unlikely heroes

by Gary Shelton on August 26, 2016 · 1 comment

in general, Tampa Bay Rays

Odorizzi has been on a tear since the all-star break.

Odorizzi has been on a tear since the all-star break.

Friday, 5:30 a.m.

Who are those guys?

Imagine being in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse and wondering. Who are these fleas who have kept you from taking hold of the AL East the last couple of days.

Mikie Mahtook? Really?

Enny R0mero? Honestly?

Luke Maile? Swear to goodness?

The Rays, the last-place Rays, found a way to knock off the Sox on Thursday, 2-1.

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Mikie Mahtook had three hits to lead Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Mikie Mahtook knocked in the winning run for  Tampa Bay./JEFFREY S. KING

Mahtook, mired in 0-for-34 slump, knocked in the winning run with a seventh-inning double. He's hitting .138 for the year.

Romero was summoned from the bullpen to take on David Ortiz with two outs in the ninth. Romero struck out Ortiz to earn his first save of the year.

Maile, who scored the winning run on Wednesday night on an error — scoring from second on an infield ground ball — had a single on Thursday.

“Great win,” Rays' manager Kevin Cash said. “Man, we needed a lot of things to come together for us to get that win, and it seemed like they all did today. Outstanding. Offensively, Pomeranz was tough. First time a lot of our guys had seen him. He had really good carry to the fastball, his curveball was breaking really sharp today. You could tell we just weren’t able to make some adjustments. He made it difficult for us. But the little adjustments we did make counted quite a bit. Brad Miller’s big hit through the shift to score Longo (in the 6th), and Mikie Mahtook’s overall tremendous day. He needed that for him. He’s been struggling and it’s nice to see a player that comes in and directly contributes to a big team victory like he did today.”

Only three other Rays have had longer hitless streaks than Mahtook.

“You go in every day expecting to get hits and expecting to do well. Day after day, it just kind of gets on you,” Mahtook said. “Finally, to break through like that, was nice. It was a relief, but it was more of me feeling good about all the work that I put in leading up to it to finally see the results. It’s nice that I don’t have to have that record on the books.”

The Rays won because Jake Odorizzi threw seven innings and allowed only one earned run to improve his record to 9-5. Matt Duffy had two hits. Odorizzi has allowed one run or fewer in five of his eight starts since the All-Star break. He’s 6-0 with a 1.59 ERA since the break. Still, he praised the team’s bullpen for his latest success.

“It’s been incredible,” Odorizzi said. “A lot of guys have been asked to go back-to-back with 20 pitches one outing, then have to go the next day. So it really shows how deep we are that those guys are able to answer the bell every single time. They’ve held down a great offense the last couple games.”

The Rays are in Houston today, where Drew Smyly will face Mike Fiers.

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