Stellar defense propels Rays in shutout victory over Red Sox
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays made the most of a replay reversal. Alex Cobb led the way.
Cobb pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning and the Rays beat Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox 1-0 on Saturday.
“Their guy was outstanding,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said, “our guy was just a tick better.”
Cobb (7-6) retired 11 straight over one stretch. Alex Colome got the final four outs for his 24th save.
The Red Sox put runners on second and third with one out in the ninth. Hanley Ramirez then struck out swinging. After rookie Andrew Benintendi was walked intentionally, Chris Young popped out to end the game.
“A great game,” said Mookie Betts, who had one of Boston’s three hits. “You can’t ask for a better pitchers’ duel.”
Porcello (4-11) became the majors’ first 11-game loser despite pitching a gem. The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked none in his first complete game of the season.
“There’s a lot that’s out of your control as far as wins and losses go,” said Porcello, who was 11-2 at the All-Star break a year ago. “I’ve just got to go out there and give us a chance to win every fifth day, and we’re going to win a lot more games than we’re going to lose.”
Jesus Sucre drove in the game’s only run with a sacrifice fly in the second after singles by Steven Souza Jr., and Brad Miller.
The inning was kept alive by a replay reversal of a double-play call. A 94-second review determined Adeiny Hechavarria had beaten Dustin Pedroia’s throw to first base. Porcello then hit Shane Peterson with a pitch before Sucre hit a fly ball to center, driving in Souza.
“A bang-bang play at first that they overturned to give them an extra out, and the sacrifice fly, otherwise that’s the end of an inning,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “So unfortunately the way things have gone for Rick, he pitches well and yet we come up on the short end offensively.”
Xander Bogaerts beat out an infield chopper in the first, Betts singled to center in the third and Mitch Moreland doubled in the ninth for Boston’s only hits.
Mallex Smith had two of Tampa Bay’s six hits, including a two-out triple in the seventh.
The win got the Rays within 4 1/2 games of the AL East-leading Red Sox with one game left before the All-Star break.
“When you’re walking off the mound you feel like that was just cool to be part of it,” Cobb said. “The magnitude of it being the Red Sox and going into the All-Star break and us being in and out of the wild card — all those factors come into play when you think about tonight.”
Porcello received no run support for the ninth time in his 19 starts. He is 0-3 against the Rays this season after going 5-0 in six starts against them last season.
Porcello is the second reigning Cy Young Award winner to have 11 losses by the All-Star break the following season. Gaylord Perry did it in 1973.
SETTING THINGS UP
Farrell said left-hander Drew Pomeranz will start Friday night’s first game after the All-Star break against the New York Yankees, with left-hander Chris Sale starting Saturday. Porcello and lefty David Price face the Yankees in a Sunday doubleheader.
Red Sox: Bogaerts, who sat out Friday’s game with a sore right hand, returned to the lineup. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee) will make a third rehab appearance Sunday with Triple-A Pawtucket.
Rays: 1B Rickie Weeks Jr. (right shoulder) is set to resume on-field batting practice.
Tampa Bay All-Star RHP Chris Archer (7-5) and one-time Rays ace Price (4-2) are Sunday’s starters. Archer is 2-11 with a 5.14 ERA in 17 starts against Boston.