Rays find a way to win in close game with Sox

by Gary Shelton on June 25, 2021

in general

Kiermaier gunned down another baserunner./JEFFREY S. KING

Friday, 4 a.m.

Manny Margot's legs. Kevin Kiermaier's arm. Frankie Mejia's eyes.

If you're wondering how the Tampa Bay Rays won their Thursday night game against the Red Sox, those are the first three places you start. Even on a night the bats disappeared, they were enough.

The Rays won a 1-0 game against the Boston Red Sox and returned to first place in the American League East. They won despite getting only two hits on the night -- and none until the eighth inning. They won despite striking out 10 times. They won despite a swing-and-a-miss on the game's deciding play.

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Somehow, however, they won.

Start with Margot, who didn't start the game. With two outs in the ninth, he came up with the team's second hit of the game. He stole second, then went to third when the ball got away. He scored on a wild pitch, which meant he did a lot of running to lead to a walk-off win.

"He's the best baserunner in the big leagues," said teammate Kevin Kiermaier. "I've said that for a while."

Want more reasons? How about the seventh inning, when the Rays' defense bailed them out?

It started with Kevin Kiermaier throwing out former Ray Hunter Renfroe on a bang-bang play. It was the 50th assist of Kiermaier's career. Then Mejia saw that Christian Vasquez was too far off of second base and picked him off to keep the game scoreless.

"I knew i had to get to it," said Kiermaier. "Hunter Renfroe is bigger guy but a very good runner for his size. I knew I had to get to it and I’m just glad I timed up that last hop perfectly.  I made a good throw to Frankie. Frankie put a good tag on him. I was glad to see the call stand.

"That's what I love doing . I love going out there and making plays and trying to make  a difference, especially on that side of the ball. That’s been my M.O. my whole career. I’m glad I took advantage of an opportunity there."

Said Cash:  “Odd way to win a ballgame, but we’ll take it. When you’re being pitched tough — and the Red Sox pitching was tough tonight. (Nick) Pivetta and everyone in the pulped. (Matt) Barnes is as good as anyone in the league. It’s tough to swing a bunch of hits together off of him. Tonight, we didn’t have to. You don’t see it very often, but I’m glad we were able to come out with a win.”

Pivetta had a no-hitter going through 6 2/3 innings, but was taken out after hitting 100 pitches.

Kiermaier broke up the no-hitter in the eighth on a double to left.

The Rays put together a solid night of pitching and defense to beat the Sox for the second straight night. Rays' pitchers gave up only four hits themselves, and the team had an impressive seventh inning defensively.

The Rays play the Los Angeles Angels tonight at 7:10 p.m. at Tropicana Field. The Rays will start Andrew Kittredge, and the Angels will start Griffin Canning.

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