The Red Sox are steadily turning things around after being swept by the Baltimore Orioles to start the season. After picking up their first win of the season via a blowout on Monday night, the team sent fans home happy with a dramatic ending on Tuesday.
Down 3-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays entering the eight inning, the Red Sox strung together their first consecutive hits of the night. After Alex Verdugo doubles, JD Martinez drove him in with a double of his own, making it 3-2.
It looked like Boston was about to tie the game, but Martinez was doubled up after misjudging a Rafael Devers line drive, ending the inning. After the game, manager Alex Cora told reporters Martinez lost track of the number of outs.
Oof, looks like JD Martinez forgot how many outs there were. pic.twitter.com/opWmNdTDCn— Alex Fast (@AlexFast8) April 7, 2021
Leading off the ninth, catcher Christian Vazquez hit an absolute blast off of Diego Castillo. The ball went an estimated 383 feet. After Castillo retired the next three hitters in order, the Red Sox were off to extra inning for the first time in 2021.
After neither team scored in the 10th, both added in the 11th. Each run was driven in by the leadoff hitter, thanks to baseball’s new rule that starts all extra innings with a runner on second base.
The Rays would add another run in the top of the 12, giving them a 5-4 lead. Tampa reliever Ryan Thompson retired the first two Red Sox hitters quickly, and had Verdugo on an 0-2 count before hitting him with a pitch.
A wild pitch put two men in scoring position for the next batter, which was Martinez. He was able to make up for his earlier baserunning blunder by sending a line drive over the head of Rays’ left fielder Randy Arozarena. Arozarena flailed for the ball, which allowed both runners to score easily.
This continues what’s been a red hot start for Martinez, who is looking to rebound from a wildly disappointing 2020. It’s been quite the rebound so far – through five games he’s hitting .476 with five doubles, two home runs, and 9 RBIs.
Phillips Valdez picked up the win for the Red Sox, his first of the season. He pitched the 12th without allowing a hit, and was charged with just one unearned run as the designated runner scored on a wild pitch and ground ball. Thompson took the loss for Tampa, dropping his record to 1-1.
With the win, the Red Sox move to 2-3 on the year. They’ll go for the sweep of the Rays tomorrow with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound. First pitch is scheduled for 1:10 p.m.. After that, the team heads on the road for the first time this season – they’ll be in Baltimore on Thursday for the Orioles’ home opener.
Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.