EditorsNote: adds Kimbrel postgame quote
Rafael Devers’ RBI single in the seventh inning proved to be enough offense for the Boston Red Sox after a solid start by David Price paved the way to a 1-0 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Price (1-0), who spent the first seven-plus seasons of his MLB career with the Rays, tossed seven shutout innings with five strikeouts while allowing only four hits and walking none. Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in the ninth for his first save of the year.
“We played a great game,” Kimbrel told NESN after the victory. “David pitched a great game. We got the one run we needed and we made it work today. ... It was a big game for us, especially after losing yesterday, to come back and win today.”
It was another solid outing for a Red Sox starter after Chris Sale tossed a six-inning one-hitter with nine strikeouts in the season opener Thursday, only for Boston to blow a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning in an eventual 6-4 defeat.
The outings from Price and Sale marked the first time that the Red Sox’s first two starters in a season posted consecutive scoreless efforts since Lefty Grove and Jim Bagby Jr. in 1940, according to STATS LLC.
Tampa Bay’s Blake Snell tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings with three hits, two walks and two strikeouts in a no-decision. Chaz Roe (0-1) allowed a run in 1/3 of an inning and took the loss when Jose Alvarado gave up the RBI hit to Devers.
Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run and Hanley Ramirez was 2-for-4 with two strikeouts for Boston. No Rays batter had more than one hit, as Tampa Bay totaled only four hits.
The win was the first for new Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who was hired to replace John Farrell this past offseason.
Bogaerts led off the top of the seventh with a double and was promptly brought home by Devers as he rolled a single into center for the game’s only offense.
Boston’s Rick Porcello makes his season debut Saturday night for the third of four games against Tampa Bay to start the season. The Rays will implement their “bullpen day” plan Saturday, using a combination of relievers to pitch the game.
—Field Level Media