The Game: The Tampa Bay Rays defeated their AL East Rival Boston Red Sox 6-4 on Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Sports Park. The Rays used three home runs to help secure the victory and improve to 3-1 on the spring.
Boston took an early lead as Andy Sonnanstine struggled, walking the first three batters he faced. Andre Beltre followed and delivered a bases loaded single that scored Marco Scutaro. Josh Reddick then drove home Dustin Pedroia to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.
The Rays scored their first run in the home half of the third inning. Kelly Shoppach lead off the inning and reached on an error. Shoppach was later erased from the bases on a ground ball by Gabe Kapler. Shoppach was out at third but Kapler remained on first base. Jason Bartlett then singled to right to move Kapler to third. Carl Crawford drove him home with an RBI single to left to score Kapler and cut the lead in half 2-1.
The Red Sox got the run back the very next inning. Lars Anderson drew a walk to lead off the inning. Darnell McDonald followed with a single to center followed by a walk to Che-Hsuan Lin to load the bases for the Sox. Mark Wagner then hit into a double play but the leading runner crossed the plate to increase the lead to 3-1.
But the Rays fought back in the bottom of the inning and took the lead courtesy of two long balls. Ben Zobrist lead off the inning with a solo home run. BJ Upton then reached base with a one out single to center. Upton would not stay they long as the next batter, Shoppach delivered a two run home run to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.
Boston tied the game in the seventh inning. Jose Iglesias reached on error and then advanced to second on the throw. Oscar Tejada then move Iglesias to third on a sac bunt. Brett Harper drove home the run with a single to right to tie the game.
Tampa Bay won the game in dramatic walk-off fashion in the ninth inning. Fernando Perez led off the inning with a triple to center. Justin Ruggiano then struck the game winning two run homer to left field, giving the Rays the 6-4 victory.
Andy Sonnanstine pitched an inning and allowed 2 runs on 1 hit with 3 walks. Randy Choate followed with a no hit inning, recording a strikeout. Wade Davis was next on the schedule allowing 1 run on 2 hits with 3 walks and a strikeout in 1 2/3 inning. Dale Thayer pitched 2 1/3 shut-out innings allowing a hit and striking out 1. Joe Bateman recorded a blown save allowing an unearned run on 1 hit with a walk and 3 strikeouts. Richard De Los Santos picked up the win by throwing a no hit inning with a strikeout and a walk.
RP Top Prospect Watch:
Tim Beckham: 0 for 1.
Wade Davis: 1 run on 2 hits with 3 walks an a strikeout in 1 2/3 inning.
A Look Ahead: The Rays (3-1) travel to Clearwater’s Bright House Networks Field to play the Philadelphia Phillies (1-1-1) on Sunday. James Shields will get the start followed by Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Dan Wheeler, Lance Cormier, Jason Cromer and Heath Phillips.