EditorsNote: Minor tweaks throughout
A two-hit, three-RBI performance from Avisail Garcia pushed the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-5 victory over the host Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.
Despite falling behind in the first and again in the fifth, the Rays responded both times to claim the first contest of a three-game set.
In the top of the sixth, Red Sox reliever Marcus Walden forced the first two batters to ground out before walking Travis d’Arnaud.
Josh Taylor (0-1) then came on and gave up a single to Austin Meadows. Colten Brewer replaced Taylor and the next batter, Garcia, lasered a double high off the Green Monster in left field to give the Rays the 6-5 lead.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth for Rafael Devers, but he fisted an easy fly ball to left off Emilio Pagan for the final out of the inning. Pagan then pitched around two two-out singles in the ninth for his eighth save.
The Red Sox opened the scoring in the first inning. Mookie Betts walked, J.D. Martinez singled and Andrew Benintendi walked to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who ripped a two-RBI single.
After both teams exchanged runs in the third, Red Sox starter David Price started to unravel in the fifth inning. D’Arnaud led off the frame with a solo home run, and one batter later, Garcia roped his own solo shot. A single and a double led to Price being pulled after 4 1/3 innings for Walden. The next batter, the newly acquired Eric Sogard, grounded out to second base but brought home a run to make the score 4-3.
With two outs and a man on in the bottom of the fifth, Rays manager Kevin Cash surprisingly decided to pull All-Star right-hander Charlie Morton for left-hander Adam Kolarek to face Benintendi.
On the first pitch from Kolarek (4-3) — an 88 mph sinker over the plate — Benintendi rocked a two-run home run over the Monster to give the Red Sox a 5-4 lead.
Price finished with nine hits and four runs allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts.
Morton went 4 2/3 innings with seven hits, four runs, two walks and two strikeouts.
With the victory, the Rays moved a 1 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the American League East standings.
—Field Level Media