Red Sox Notes: Alex Cora Wouldn’t Change Anything About ‘Weird’ Game

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To say Tuesday’s Red Sox game was a doozy would be an understatement.

Boston ultimately won in 11 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays, but it was no easy task and a lot went on over the course of four-plus hours.

The Red Sox blew a 5-2 lead only to open things back up in the 11th with a four-run frame that featured Connor Wong, who was making his Major League Baseball debut after being added to Boston’s roster Tuesday, scoring what proved to be the game-winning run.

The Sox had their chance to win in the 10th when Bobby Dalbec moved to third on a Danny Santana single. He tried to score on a wild pitch but was thrown at home. Pete Fairbanks appeared to block the plate as he took the throw from his catcher, but because he was fielding the ball it was completely legal.

Still, manager Alex Cora knows his team needed to do all it could to beat the Rays.

“For as weird as it was, it was the way we wanted to play against these guys,” Cora said over Zoom after the game. “We’re not gonna sit back against them and let them do what they do. You saw what happened. We put pressure on (Ryan) Yarbrough, we scored a lot against Collin (McHugh), … they got back to the game. But against the bullpen, we kept pushing, grinding at-bats and we did an amazing job.”

Weird certainly is one way to describe it. But a win is a win at the end of the day.

Here are some other notes from Tuesday’s Red Sox-Rays game:

— The win helped move the Red Sox 1.5 games ahead of the Rays for first place in the American League East Division standings.

— There were a lot of bizarre plays Tuesday, particularly on the basepath.

Kevin Kiermaier hit Kiké Hernández’s elbow to try to knock the ball out of his glove on his way to second. He was successful, but ultimately was ruled out after a review.

Brett Phillips also seemed to forget he had to run to third on a sharp groundout. Rafael Devers was able to just tag third with his glove for the out.

“There was a lot of stuff,” Cora said. “At the end, it’s a big league win against a team, they’re the American League favorite. Everyone thought coming into the season they had a chance to get back to the World Series. We did a good job against them.”

— Eduardo Rodriguez struggled in another start. He got yet another no-decision and has not won a game since May 7. The southpaw did have seven strikeouts, but surrendered five runs (three earned) on seven hits.

And while this start certainly wasn’t as ugly as his other recent ones, it doesn’t help that he was unable to get the win and gave up the game-tying home run to Wander Franco, despite being the league’s No. 1 prospect.

— This was the first game Red Sox pitchers were checked under MLB’s new rules regarding pitchers using foreign substances. Everyone passed, which obviously is good news, and Cora thought the whole process was “smooth.”

“You know, everybody, they understand what’s going on,” Cora said. “And the guys that came in late in the game, they actually waited or went straight to the umpire. So I think it went well.”

That certainly cannot be said for others around the league. Just look at Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals and Sergio Romo of the Oakland Athletics.

— Franco homered in his debut, and his dad had the purest reaction to witnessing it live. The round-tripper tied the game at 5-5, and certainly is one he’ll remember for a lifetime.

— The Red Sox can win the series Wednesday night when the two teams meet again Wednesday night at 7:10 p.m. ET.

Boston Red Sox catcher Connor Wong, shortstop Xander Bogaerts
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