Big Papi and Adrian Beltre hit back to back homers in the 1st inning tonight, and rookie Ryan Kalish hit his 2nd grand slam of the season as the Red Sox thumped the Rays until they couldn't thump any more. They thumped and thumped until they went on to an 11-2 lead by the end of the 4th inning.
Jon Lester needed 33 pitches to get through the 1st inning, allowing 1 run in the process. He would only need 61 more pitches in the next 5 innings, leaving the game allowing a total of 4 hits, 3 walks, and 2 runs while striking out 10 Rays, (94 pitches total for the mathematically challenged.) His W-L stands at 16-8 with a 3.26 ERA.
At the end of 6 innings, the Sox still had that 11-2 lead, time to send in the rookies. The rookies didn't do so well, though. Robert Coello is so rookie that his stats page doesn't even have a photo up for him yet. That's probably a good thing, as he gave up 3 hits, 2 walks, 3 runs, and only registered 1 out. (OK kid, here's a bus ticket to Pawtucket. Actually, I don't know if he's on his way back just yet.) Richardson has a little more experience, but he walked the only batter he saw, scoring one of Coello's batters. Out comes Richardson, Tito wants this one bad, so he sent in Atchison, who then went 1.2 innings allowing only 1 hit. In his last 7.1 IP, he's allowed only 2 runs to score. Okajima looking much better since he came back off the DL worked a 1-2-3 9th inning.
The Rays didn't show up tonight as they (and a lot of others, too) probably thought the Sox had gone tits-up. They sent in 5 pinch hitters in that 3 run inning, 6 for the night, but didn't count on Atchison quietly becoming a reliable arm in the bullpen, or Okajima stepping up his game, too.
The Sox only had 9 hits, but also wore out the Ray's bullpen by drawing 10 free passes. The Ray's pitchers threw 176 pitches in this game.
The Yankees lost, which leaves them 9 games ahead of the Sox. In the Wild Card race, The Ray's hold a 6 game lead over the Sox and a 6.5 game lead ahead of the Sox.
Sox 12 Rays 5 BOX SCORE