It’s all coming up roses for the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox held off the Tampa Bay Rays for a 1-0 win in Tuesday’s series opener at Tropicana Field. The game’s lone tally was an unearned run scored in the third inning, but that wasn’t the only break the Red Sox caught, as Boston’s stretch of good fortune continued in the sixth inning.
Steven Souza Jr. followed Brandon Guyer’s one-out single in the sixth with a chopper to the left side. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval cut in front of shortstop Brock Holt to field the baseball and toss to second, where Guyer was called out on a bang-bang play.
Rays manager Kevin Cash challenged the call, contesting that Guyer slid in ahead of Sandoval’s throw. The umpires upheld the initial call, however, which proved huge as Boston clung to a 1-0 advantage. It also was a questionable ruling, as it looked on replays like Guyer should have been called safe.
Things hardly got easier for Red Sox starter Wade Miley in the sixth inning, as the left-hander issued back-to-back walks to Logan Forsythe and Evan Longoria to load the bases with two outs. Alexi Ogando entered and stomped out the threat by inducing an inning-ending forceout, though, making the controversial call earlier in the frame even more important.
Ogando retired the first two hitters of the seventh inning, too, before Robbie Ross Jr. recorded the final out with the help of an excellent defensive play by Holt. Junichi Tazawa then worked a 1-2-3 eighth inning on six pitches, and Koji Uehara overcame a leadoff single to nail down his second save.
The Red Sox plated their only run in the third inning when a hard slide by Mookie Betts forced Rays second baseman Ryan Brett to commit a throwing error that allowed Ryan Hanigan to score. From there, it was all about preserving the lead. And that effort was aided by the pivotal call in the sixth.
The Red Sox certainly will take it.