It was the pitchers’ duel we all expected tonight between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.
Nick Pivetta threw an absolute gem, going 6 2/3 innings until he was pulled amid a no-hitter. The bullpen got them the rest of the way, but the offense couldn’t execute once it finally got going.
But a ball in the dirt got away after closer Matt Barnes insinuated a swing-and-miss, and the Rays walked off on what technically was ruled a wild pitch.
After getting just two hits all game, Tampa Bay took it, 1-0. The Rays also stole the series, 2-1.
The Red Sox fell to 44-31 with the loss, while Rays improved to 45-31.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
As Major League Baseball news focuses on recently enforced checks for foreign substances, and hitters reap the benefits, the pitchers on Thursday absolutely dealt while the offenses couldn’t capitalize. And a pitcher was pulled with a no-hitter on the line.
ON THE MOUND
— Pivetta put together a wonderful start, beginning with the pitcher striking out the side in the first and dealing 1-2-3 innings until the fifth when he walked a batter and was bailed out by a great catch from Hunter Renfroe.
After that he went deep into the seventh, but was pulled after 6 2/3 innings amid his no-hitter. But he didn’t look even a little upset when Cora visited the mound. Company guy.
He threw 100 pitches total, 58 for strikes, and had eight strikeouts. The only traffic he saw came from two walks and a hit batter, but the defense was solid behind him.
— Josh Taylor came into the game to force an out and get the Red Sox out of the seventh, leaving a Rays runner out to dry after a Michael Chavis error allowed him on.
— Darwnizon Hernandez got into some trouble taking over in the eighth. He fanned the first batter he saw, but then gave up a double and walk consecutively before rookie wonder Wander Franco grounded into a fielder’s choice and stole second to put runners on second and third.
— Adam Ottavino got Hernandez out of the jam.
— Barnes entered for the ninth, got two quick outs then gave up a single to Manuel Margot. He intentionally walked Joey Wendle after Margot stole second. A swing-and-miss that got away from Vázquez resulted in Margot scoring the only run for the walk-off win.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Vázquez had the first hit of the game with two outs, blooping a single to center. After stealing second and making it safe to third on catcher Francisco Mejia’s throwing error, the Red Sox’s stolen base leader was stranded.
— Another opportunity was squandered in the sixth where with two outs, J.D. Martinez singled and Xander Bogaerts was walked. Rafael Devers grounded out toward the infield, and second baseman Brandon Lowe made a great play to end the inning.
— Renfroe dropped a double deep in center field to lead the seventh off, but was thrown out at home while trying to round the bases after a Vázquez single. Fittingly, the inning ended with Vázquez being picked off at second.
TWEET OF THE GAME
A game like this calls for two tweets.
A three-game homestand with the New York Yankees awaits the Red Sox back in Boston. The opener Friday night starts at 7:10 p.m. ET with full coverage on NESN.