The Boston Red Sox battled all the way back from a no-hitter through nine innings, all for it to fall apart in the bottom of the 10th on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
Yes, the Red Sox — who have struggled offensively through much of 2022 — did not get a hit until the top of the 10th inning, when Bobby Dalbec tripled to score Jackie Bradley Jr., who was on second base as the ghost runner.
Boston had baserunners throughout the first nine innings courtesy of five walks and a fielder’s choice, but couldn’t make contact against a six-man Tampa Bay Rays pitching staff.
“I think it’s challenging, but they’re also all really good,” said bench coach Will Venable, who is serving as acting manager as Alex Cora recovers from COVID-19, on NESN’s postgame coverage.
“We know our work’s cut out for us when we play these guys. They have a lot of great pitchers and can mix and match and do a lot of different things. Always a challenge, but our guys are always up for it.”
The Red Sox were able to overcome the offensive struggles in the end, thanks to Dalbec. But they couldn’t hold on, as some tough fielding from Trevor Story, then a sure-fire home run from Kevin Kiermaier, allowed the Rays to seal a 3-2 win.
Story took credit for his role in the loss, as he was charged with a throwing error that allowed Taylor Walls to reach and Randy Arozarena to score ahead of Kiermaier’s two-run winning home run.
“Just a bad throw,” Story said, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I probably had a little more time than I thought. But that’s just on me. That’s all on me for sure.”
Here are more notes from Saturday’s Red Sox-Rays game:
— The loss spoiled a strong starting debut from Garrett Whitlock, who lasted four innings on the mound. He struck out seven and gave up just one hit — which didn’t come until the fourth inning on his second time through the order.
— Kutter Crawford also was impressive through three innings late, striking out five and allowing just one hit.
“That was really nice to see,” Venable said. “He pitched great. Guy’s still learning his way around the league. To be challenged in that situation where he got a lot of big outs in big spots down the stretch there was really good.”
— Based on the way things were going, there was some suspicion that some Red Sox history would be made. But Sean Manaya’s no-hitter of the Red Sox in 2018 stands as the last time Boston truly couldn’t get the bats going in a game.
— The Red Sox return to action Sunday, finishing out the series against the Rays at 1:10 p.m. ET. The game, as well as pregame and postgame coverage, will air on NESN.