EditorsNote: Updates Red Sox 3 1/2 ahead of Yankees, Adds Porcello leads majors in losses
Ramos, Cobb help Rays salvage finale vs. Red Sox
BOSTON — There wasn’t anything the Tampa Bay Rays could do to help on Sunday as Hurricane Irma began to bear down on their home city of St. Petersburg nearly 1,500 miles away in Florida.
So they took those frustrations out on the baseball diamond against the Boston Red Sox.
Wilson Ramos and Lucas Duda each hit a solo home run, Boston native Alex Cobb pitched five strong innings and the Rays avoided a three-game sweep with a 4-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
“It’s really good to get on a flight with all the uncertainty and all the unknowns, knowing that we got a win under our belt,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Said Ramos: “It’s hard to not think about the situation. We have houses over there — all the families are from Florida, too. We (had) to concentrate on field.”
The Rays are now off to New York, where they will play a “home” series against the Yankees at Citi Field, the home of the Mets.
Tampa Bay’s three-game series from Monday to Wednesday, originally scheduled to be played at Tropicana Field, was moved by Major League Baseball to New York in advance of Irma making landfall.
Irma officially made landfall on Marco Island during the latter portion of Sunday’s game as a Category 3 hurricane, but was downgraded to a Category 2 storm shortly after that.
“That’s the first thing I did, got in and checked the phone (after the game),” Cash said. “I don’t know if it’s true or not, I heard it’s a Category 2, it’s slowing down. That’s great news. Marco Island and Naples, people are safe.”
Ramos’ solo blast was his seventh homer of the season and came one day after the Rays snapped their season franchise-record streak of 18 straight games with a home run.
Duda’s homer was his 12th homer of the year and Evan Longoria also drove in a run for Tampa Bay (71-73), which snapped its three-game losing streak.
Christian Vazquez drove in the only run for Boston (81-62) as the Red Sox saw their four-game winning streak come to a halt.
The Red Sox won the first two games of their series with the Rays by a combined score of 18-3.
Tampa Bay moved 3 1/2 games back of the Twins for the second American League wild-card spot after Minnesota’s 11-3 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Sunday.
Boston holds a 3 1/2-game lead ahead over the second-place Yankees atop the AL East.
Cobb (11-9) struck out five and allowed one run on four hits and three walks. Alex Colome pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his major-league-leading 43rd save.
“Cobb shut us down,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Good curveball, three or four different pitches for strikes.”
Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (9-17) took the loss after giving up two runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts over five innings. Porcells leads the majors in defeats.
“I didn’t feel too bad about it,” Porcello said about his start. “In the fifth inning, obviously, there were some things I’d like to correct but overall it wasn’t bad.”
Vazquez’s RBI single in the second inning gave Boston a 1-0 lead.
Boston nearly scored again later in the inning as Vazquez tagged from third on Sam Travis’ one-out fly out to Rays right fielder Mallex Smith, but he was thrown out at the plate.
The Red Sox challenged the out call at home, and video review showed Vazquez may have eluded catcher Ramos’ tag, but the call stood after a three-minute delay to end the inning.
“There was no question in my mind when I saw it that he was out, and then I saw the replay and I was like well, maybe my eyes deceived me a little bit,” Cobb said.
Tampa Bay scored two in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead after Porcello had crushed through the first four innings.
Ramos’ bloop single after Brad Miller’s leadoff double tied the game at 1. Longoria gave the Rays their first lead of the weekend four batters later with a long RBI single.
Ramos struck again in the sixth with a solo home run to straightaway center that traveled an estimated 392 feet.
Duda knocked his home run approximately 429 feet to center in the seventh.
NOTES: Boston INF/OF Eduardo Nunez (right knee contusion) was not in the lineup after a knee injury Saturday forced him out of the game. He is expected back Tuesday against the Oakland A’s. ... Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. (bruised left knee) missed his second straight game after leaving Friday’s contest following a collision with the right-field wall. ... Red Sox LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) is scheduled to a throw a three-inning simulated game Wednesday. ... Rays RHP Jake Faria (left abdominal strain) made a rehab start with Single-A Hudson Valley on Sunday. ... Red Sox, Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers players collected donations for the Red Cross to aid the Hurricane Irma relief effort at Fenway Park on Sunday. ... Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58 ERA) opposes New York Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91 ERA) on Monday (at Citi Field due to Hurricane Irma). Red Sox LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 4.33 ERA) counters Athletics LHP Sean Manaea (10-9, 4.33 ERA) on Tuesday.