Tampa Bay Rays' Christian Bethancourt, left, and Shawn Armstrong, right, hug after they defeated the Boston Red Sox in a baseball game, Sunday, June 4, 2023, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Little League Home Run Closes Door to Rays Victory Sunday

In the cold showers of Boston’s spring rainy weather, the Tampa Bay Rays claimed a 6-2 win against the Boston Red Sox Sunday at Fenway Park.

Tampa’s Sunday contest marked game three of its midseason series against its American League East rivals. It started with Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz at-bat against Boston right-handed pitcher Tanner Houck. The Tampa leadoff batter was struck out, but second baseman Josh Lowe followed the out with a single.

The single was the only hit allowed by Houck in the opening frame.

Rays right-handed pitcher Taj Bradley started on the mound. He struggled to get balls into the catchers glove, but Tampa’s fielding was able to hold Boston away from any early runs.

Houck, who pitched through five innings and struck six batters out, ended the Rays’ time at the plate in the second inning with three consecutive outs in order.

Bradley had a few walks to open the bottom of the inning with two outs on the diamond. Though, he struck out Red Sox second baseman Emmanuel Valdez swinging to end the inning.

Runs Start Crossing the Plate

The runs opened up in the third inning for the Rays. A Josh Lowe sacrifice fly allowed catcher Christian Bethancourt to reach home safely for the first run of the game.

Boston immediately answered back with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning off a single from left fielder Masataka Yoshida that brought in right fielder Alex Verdugo.

The hit marked the Japanese outfielders 500th RBI as a professional.

After two base hits and a walk to start the fourth inning, Rays center fielder Manuel Margot hit a line drive to left field with the bases loaded. Two runs scored and Tampa took a 3-1 lead in the fourth inning.

The Rays tacked on another run in the top of the fifth inning off a double by right fielder Luke Raley that set up Lowe to score from second base.

Verdugo gave the Red Sox life support with a triple to open the bottom of the inning. He scored after a sacrifice fly by third baseman Rafael Devers.

Bradley, who pitched through five innings, held Boston from anymore runs to close out the inning.

Chaos broke loose with two outs in the top of the sixth. A chopper that grounded to right field by Diaz gave Margot the opportunity to show off his jets.

 The Little League Home Run

Margot ran home in time before the Red Sox could throw the ball to catcher Connor Wong. The starting catcher then threw the ball out of reach of the second baseman in an attempt to get Diaz out.

The ball rolled deep into center field and Diaz scored a little league home run.

Despite bleeding through two pitchers, Tampa Bay held Boston from any chance at a comeback and closer Shawn Armstrong struck out three batters through the finals innings – including the final out of the game against Devers to end the contest in the bottom of the ninth.

The Rays will stay in Boston with a chance to win the series Monday at 4:05 p.m.

About Brandon Hernandez

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