The Red Sox were totally in charge early in this game. Jhoulys Chacín was dominant and the offense was all over Blake Snell and then the relievers that came in early. They had a 4-0 lead after three and a half, and it easily could have been more. It would have been nice if it was more. Chacín fell apart in the fourth and then Bobby Poyner helped push the game in the Rays favor. That was enough for Tampa Bay to take three of four in this series. The good news is Mookie Betts made one of the best defensive plays you’ll see.
As the Red Sox were looking for a split in Tampa Bay in their last series that means anything in the context of the 2019 MLB season, they got off to an outstanding start on the road. They were going up against Blake Snell, one of the best pitchers in the American League, but also a guy coming fresh off injury. This was his second appearance since being activated off the injured list, and the Rays are in a tough spot of trying to get him ready for October while still trying to lock down a spot in October. For this night at least, he did not look ready for prime time.
He got himself into trouble right away with a clear lack of command, walking two batters in the top half of the first as well as throwing a wild pitch that put both runners in scoring position. However, Snell would strike out the other three batters he faced, and no runs crossed the plate for Boston.
That would not be the case for the next couple frames. In the second, Jackie Bradley Jr. kicked things off with a base hit, and after he stole second Chris Owings drew a walk. Eventually, Marco Hernández would come up with the runner at second base and two outs. He struck out in his first plate appearance, but this time he ripped a line drive into the right field corner that bounced into the stands. That was actually a break for the Rays as Owings likely scores if it stays in play, but it was a run for Boston.
They’d keep things going in the third, too, this time with a little two-out magic when Mitch Moreland and Bradley smacked back-to-back doubles. In the fourth, it was more two-out magic. This time Hernández started the rally with a walk before Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers came through with back-to-back base hits to knock in another run. J.D. Martinez then smacked a single of his own, giving him his 100th RBI of the year and the Red Sox their fourth run of the night.
On the other end, Jhoulys Chacín got the start in what should be his second-to-last audition start before he hits free agency, and he was terrific early on. The righty did issue a walk in a scoreless first, but he was perfect in the second and third and had allowed no hits through 3 1⁄3 innings.
Then, everything went downhill. And fast. Chacín lost it in the blink of an eye, and the Rays went from being overmatched to swinging in BP just like that. Austin Meadows broke up the no-hitter with a single into right field, and then Ji-Man Choi broke up the shutout with a three-run shot out to right-center field. Just like that, the Red Sox lead was cut to just one. After the second out of the inning was recorded, Brandon Lowe came up and hit an absolute bomb out to right field for one of the longest homers I can remember at the Trop. It also tied the score at one and ended Chacín’s once promising evening.
Bobby Poyner would come on next, and he immediately hit the first batter he faced before giving up the third homer of the inning. This one put the Rays up 6-4. Mercifully, the inning did end after that but the damage was clearly already done.
Now the Red Sox were in a position where they had to come from behind, and it didn’t go well. Boston went down in order in each of the next three innings after the Rays’ outburst. Tampa Bay would then score another run on an Avisaíl García double in the sixth, but García was thrown out going for a triple on one of the most outrageous throws you’ll see, courtesy of Mookie Betts.
Also of note from the latter portion of this game: Heath Hembree made his return to the mound in his first appearance since August 1. The righty was perfect, tossing a 1-2-3 seventh inning.
The Red Sox did get the first two runners on in the ninth, but they couldn’t get anyone home and that was that. Sorry Cleveland.
The Red Sox now travel to Texas for both their final road trip of the 2019 season as well as their final trip ever to Texas’ park. They are building a new one for the 2020 season. The first game will have Eduardo Rodriguez on the mound against Ariel Jurado.