Rafael Devers delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the sixth inning as the Boston Red Sox claimed their third straight victory with a 2-1 win against the Tampa Bay Rays in the series finale Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Devers (1-for-4, walk) drove in four runs in the series for the Red Sox (3-1), who won the remainder of the season’s inaugural series after blowing a 4-0 lead in Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory in Thursday’s opener.
Brad Miller (1-for-3, walk) clubbed a solo blast for the Rays (1-3), who pushed across only three runs over the final three games of the series.
Red Sox starter Hector Velazquez (1-0) pitched 5 2/3 one-run innings while allowing five hits and a walk and striking out five. Boston’s starters allowed just two runs and struck out 23 batters over 24 2/3 innings in the series.
It was the first time in the Red Sox’s 118-year history that the team’s starters permitted one or fewer runs in each of the season’s first four games.
Rays starter Jake Faria was gone after four innings, giving up a run on four hits and three walks with a pair of strikeouts. Jose Alvarado (0-1) took the loss after allowing the go-ahead hit in his one inning of relief.
Miller put Tampa Bay ahead 1-0 when he blasted a first-pitch fastball from Velazquez approximately 385 feet into the right-field bleachers to lead off the Rays’ second.
J.D. Martinez tied it and notched his first RBI as a Red Sox two batters into the fifth when his single to left plated Mookie Betts, who reached on a single and moved to second after a walk to Devers.
Devers’ big hit came with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, rifling a 1-2 fastball into right field to bring in Jackie Bradley Jr.
After Boston’s Joe Kelly recorded the first two outs of the Rays’ ninth, Mallex Smith singled to right and Adeiny Hechavarria put runners on the corners with a single to center. Kelly got Denard Span to strike out swinging to end the game.
It was Kelly first-ever major league save. Red Sox All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel was unavailable after pitching back-to-back days.
Boston begins a two-game series in Miami on Monday. Tampa Bay visits the New York Yankees for two games starting Monday.
—Field Level Media