By MARK DIDTLER Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Taylor Walls and Yandy Díaz had two-run singles during a five-run outburst in the seventh inning, helping the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 Thursday night and completing a four-game sweep.
The Red Sox appeared to be in control with rookie Kutter Crawford taking a three hitter into the seventh and Boston leading 3-0.
The right-hander, whose longest big league outing had been 5 1/3 innings, quickly allowed three consecutive hits in the seventh that included Josh Lowe’s RBI double, ending his night.
“Bullpen-wise we were limited,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “He was throwing the ball well so we rolled the dice with him. It was kind of like Kutter, Schreiber, (closer) Tanner (Houck), but is just didn’t happen.”
Cora went to normally reliable reliever John Schreiber, who entered with an 0.60 ERA and had stranded all 14 inherited runners this season.
Schreiber (2-1) gave up Walls’ game-tying hit and Díaz’s go-ahead single. His ERA climbed to 1.16 after giving up two runs and three hits in one inning. It was just the second time in 32 appearances this season that he allowed an earned run.
Díaz is hitting .440 (22 for 50) with 11 RBIs since July 1.
Tampa Bay was coming off a weekend series at Cincinnati in which the NL Central last-place Reds swept a three-game set.
“I think we’ve had the tendency this year to play down to competition, and I guess you could say up to competition as well,” Walls said.
Crawford ended up allowing three runs and six hits along with six strikeouts. He had held the Rays in two previous relief outings this year to three hits over 8 1/3 scoreless innings.
“From the side you can tell why Kutter Crawford has pitched well against us,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “The cutter and fastball, our guys are not picking it up, but liked that we put enough pressure to get him out of the game.”
Tommy Romero (1-0) worked a scoreless seventh to get his first major league win. He is the 20th Tampa Bay pitcher to win a game this season.
Jalen Beeks got his first save since Aug, 19, 2020, and third overall, despite allowing Alex Verdugo’s RBI double with no outs. The lefty struck out pinch-hitter Bobby Dalec and coaxed a grounder from Jeter Downs with two runners on to end it.
Boston All-Star Rafael Devers opened the scoring with a solo homer in the fourth off Drew Rasmussen.
Xander Bogaerts had a two-out double that drove in J.D. Martinez, who had walked, during a two-run fifth inning that put the Red Sox up 3-0. Jarren Duran had a leadoff single and scored on a wild pitch earlier in Bogaerts’ at-bat.
Rasmussen gave up three runs and four hits in six innings.
The four-game series at Tropicana Field drew a total of 43,728 fans. In comparison, the average attendance during a three-game series between the teams at Fenway Park July 4-6 averaged 33,774.
Red Sox: RHP Josh Winckowski tested positive after allowing three runs over six innings in Wednesday night’s 4-1 loss to the Rays. Winckowski, who is vaccinated, was placed on the COVID-19 related IL.
Rays: RHP Shane Baz (right elbow sprain) went on the 15-day injured list. The Rays are tied with Cincinnati for the most players on the IL with 17.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-2), out since June 9 with lower back inflammation, is expected to start Friday night against New York Yankees’ LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2). Reliever Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) is also expected to rejoin the Red Sox.
Rays: RHP Luis Patiño, sidelined since April 12 with a left oblique strain and blister issues, is expected to start Friday night’s game against Baltimore RHP Tyler Wells (7-4). The Orioles are on a 10-game winning streak and are 45-44 overall. They didn’t get their 45th win last year until Sept. 8, the 138th game of the season.