J.D. Martinez, Red Sox look to complete sweep of Rays

MLB

Following a miraculous comeback victory Tuesday night, the Boston Red Sox will look to finish off a three-game sweep of the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon.

A J.D. Martinez two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the 12th inning made the Red Sox 6-5 victors in Game 2 of the series. Boston trailed 3-1 entering the eighth inning and forced extras on a Christian Vazquez home run to lead off the ninth.

The win was the Red Sox’s second in a row after an 11-2 rout in Monday’s series opener.

“It was overall a great game,” said manager Alex Cora. “I think the most important thing out of this is we won a series against the defending American League champions.”

A victory Wednesday would even Boston’s record after a disastrous three-game home sweep at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles to begin the season.

The Rays, meanwhile, are looking to snap a three-game skid after beginning the year 2-0.

Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough (0-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the start for Tampa Bay in Wednesday’s matinee. Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (0-1, 1.69) will go for Boston.

The game will start just over 12 hours from the conclusion of Tuesday’s contest. The extra-inning affair was the first of the season for both the Rays and Red Sox and brought added quirks with the format of a runner starting each inning at second base in extra innings.

“The rules … it’s tough on pitchers, man,” Tampa Bay skipper Kevin Cash said. “You feel for all pitchers — they work so hard to keep guys off, and then you say, ‘Here, you get one on base to start the inning.'”

The Rays had multiple chances to win after scoring in both the 11th and 12th innings. Ryan Thompson got the first two outs of the 12th before hitting Alex Verdugo to set up Martinez.

“We were one strike away,” Cash lamented.

Martinez has been red-hot for the Red Sox with four straight multi-hit games. He is the first Red Sox player to record at least one extra-base hit in each of Boston’s first five games of a season since David Ortiz in 2005.

Yarbrough will look to quiet the slugger’s bat after limiting the Miami Marlins to four hits over 5 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start of the season. Yarbrough is 3-2 with a 5.64 ERA in 11 games (five starts) against the Red Sox, with all three wins coming at Fenway Park.

Eovaldi took a tough-luck loss in his Opening Day start against the Orioles, allowing one run on four hits in 5 1/3 innings. He is 2-5 with a 5.48 ERA in 10 games (eight starts) lifetime against the Rays.

Tampa Bay entered the series having won eight straight at Fenway. It is the team’s first series loss to the Red Sox since July 2019 and its first in Boston since August 2018.

–Field Level Media

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