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Renfroe’s Big Night Keeps Rays From Sweeping Sox

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The Boston Red Sox can thank one player for preventing the Tampa Bay Rays from a series sweep at Fenway Park, as Hunter Renfroe‘s two-run homer erased a 1-0 deficit, and his throw from center field to third base nailed Joey Wendle to end Wednesday night’s contest, as Boston salvaged a 2-1 victory in the finale of their three-game series at Fenway Park.

The Rays and Red Sox saw Wednesday as a pitcher’s duel between left-hander Shane McClanahan and Nathan Eovaldi.  McClanahan allowed just three hits in five innings of work, while Eovaldi did the same in two additional frames, with neither factoring in the decision.

Tampa Bay finally broke the scoreless tie in the top of the eighth, as Garrett Richards allowed a two-out infield single to Brandon Lowe, then walked Wander Franco, extending his on-base streak to 38 games, and Nelson Cruz singled in Lowe to make it 1-0.

After getting scoreless innings of relief from Andrew Kitrredge and Pete Fairbanks, the Rays went to Matt Wisler to start the eighth, but after a base hit by Alex Verdugo, the right-hander would leave with a recurrence of his finger injury, prompting Kevin Cash to bring in JT Chargois, who got Kyle Schwarber to ground into a fielder’s choice, then induce a fly ball from Enrique Hernandez, but Renfroe got a slider that caught too much of the strike zone, and he launched it over the wall in left-center for his 27th home run of the season.

Hansel Robles got the first two outs of the ninth quickly on strikeouts of Ji-Man Choi and Manuel Margot, but Wendle’s line drive got past a diving Danny Santana in center and began rolling toward the fence.  Wendle tried to extend his double to three bases, but Renfroe unleased a throw from deep center that reached Bobby Dalbec on a bounce, and he was able to apply the tag just before the Tampa Bay third baseman could reach the bag safely.

The loss not only drops Tampa Bay back to nine games in front of Boston, but the Red Sox leapfrog the New York Yankees, who lost again to Toronto, into second place in the American League East.

The Rays will have Thursday off before starting a three-game series with the Detroit Tigers Friday at Comerica Park.

Written By

Steve Carney is the founder and publisher of St. Pete Nine. One of the people most associated with baseball coverage in Tampa Bay, he spent 13 seasons covering the Rays for flagship radio station WDAE, first as producer of Rays Radio broadcasts, then as beat reporter beginning in 2011. He likes new analytics and aged bourbon, and is the owner of one of the ugliest knuckleballs ever witnessed by baseball scouts.

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