Rays rally late to top Red Sox, 6-2


Tonight’s Red Sox tilt with the Rays featured pitchers who have had drastically different campaigns.  Clay Buchholz has struggled to find the form he showed last season when he sported an ERA below two.  This season, Buchholz’ ERA is three times that, starting the game at 5.29.  Alex Cobb, though missing time with injury, has had a tremendous year, entering the game with a 2.82 ERA.  Cobb had not surrendered a homer in over 70 innings entering the game.

The Red Sox got on the board courtesy of Yoenis Cespedes and Daniel Nava.  Cespedes beat out a slow chopper that bounced out of the reach of Rays’ first sacker James Loney.  With two outs, Nava hit a long drive to left field that Brandon Guyer could not reel in.  Cespedes was running all the way and scored easily from first.  In the seventh, the Red Sox squandered a good scoring chance that would soon come back to haunt them.  Nava was hit by a Cobb pitch on a 1-2 count.  Garin Cecchini hit a ringing single to right which set up Christian Vazquez, who had reached base in both of his previous plate appearances.  Vazquez killed the rally, though, grounding into a routine double play.

The Rays rallied in the top of the eighth inning.  A walk and hit by pitch put runners on first and second with two outs.  With the Red Sox bullpen busy, Ben Zobrist hit a liner to deep left field that Cespedes could not reach with a leap in front of the wall.  It seemed he could have taken another step back to the wall, but misjudged the distance.  The ball caromed back toward the field allowing two runs to score, giving the Rays the lead, 2-1.  Since Buchholz was not yet at 100 pitches, Manager John Farrell saw no need to take him out.  David DeJesus followed with a single to make the score 3-1.  Now that the horse had bolted from the barn, Buchholz plunked Evan Longoria with pitch number 100, which finally spurred his removal from the game.  Tommy Layne could not stop the bleeding, allowing Dejesus and Longoria to advance to second and third on a wild pitch.  Loney drove them in to seal the game for the Rays.

The five runs charged to Clay Buchholz do not adequately reflect how well he pitched tonight, but in the end he is still the starter with the second highest ERA among pitchers with 160 plus innings, at 5.31. Though this writer does not believe fans should care about whether they reach 70 wins, they will try to inch toward that goal again tomorrow night against these same Rays at 7:30 p.m.

You know you will be watching to see if they can do one better than the sons of Bobby Valentine.