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Red Sox shutout Rays at the Trop on Monday

Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers played a major part in Boston's Monday series opening win over Tampa Bay - Image Credit: MLB

ST. PETERSBURG, FL — The Tampa Bay Rays returned to Tropicana Field from a 5 and 2 road trip to Boston and Toronto, quite successful despite their Sunday loss at the hand of Blue Jays revived starter Alek Manoah. Manoah’s last two outings have him returning to form after a ‘nightmarish’ 2023. He held the Rays to one hit in seven innings and the Jays avoided their first sweep of the season.

An eleven game Rays homestand began on Monday. Tampa Bay was looking for some “separation” between them and the visiting fourth place Red Sox. Rays’ right-hander Taj Bradley was making his third start after opening the season on the IL with a right pectoral strain. The first time through the Red Sox lineup, Bradley struck out eight Red Sox.

But the second time through was completely different with leadoff batter Jarren Duran crashing a triple off the left field wall, Willyer Abreu (Maracaibo, Venezuela) doubling him home, and Rafael Devers (Sanchez, Dominican Republic) launching an opposite field home run to put Boston ahead 3-0 — his sixth straight game with a home run, a new Red Sox franchise record. 

They added a two-run HR by shortstop Ceddanne Rafaela (Willemstad, Curacao) in the fourth inning to make it 5-0, and Sox starter Tanner Houck lowered his 2.17 ERA to 1.94. 

A rare infielder positioning violation occurred in the Rays second inning when DH Jonathan Aranda (Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico) grounded up the middle. Sox shortstop Rafaela threw him out at first but a challenge showed that he was not on the left side of second base. The Rays took the called ball, which was ball four and a walk for Aranda.

Instead of gaining another game on the Red Sox, the teams are now just a half game apart. Last week’s passing them in the standings at Fenway Park is in jeopardy for Tampa Bay, with two more games to play this week.

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