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Zunino, Diaz Show Off Power In Rays Loss

Yandy Diaz homers against Boston's Raynel Espinal (photo: Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Rays)

Mike Zunino hit his second spring home run, and Yandy Diaz went deep for the first time this Grapefruit League season, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead as the Tampa Bay Rays dropped a 11-7 decision to the Boston Red Sox Friday at JetBlue Park.

Zunino wasted no time getting things started in the top of the first, as he took a Nathan Eovaldi fastball up in the zone, and sent it over the batters eye in straightaway center field.

The Rays continued to pile on in the second inning, as back-to-back triples by Willy Adames and Joey Wendle off Eovaldi made the game 2-0.

Ryan Boldt brought in Wendle with a base hit to extend the lead to 3-0, and Yoshi Tsutsugo‘s RBI single made it 4-0 before Brandon Lowe‘s base hit capped the inning and led to Tampa Bay taking a 5-0 advantage.

Rich Hill kept Boston off the scoreboard in the first two innings, but the Red Sox jumped on the left-hander in the third.  A base hit by Kike Hernandez started the inning, and Jarren Duran put the home team on the board with an RBI double.  Hill struck out J.D. Martinez, but Xander Bogaerts cut the lead back to 5-2 with another double.  Hill struck out Rafael Devers before being replaced by Louis Head, who gave up a two-run blast to Hunter Renfroe, turning the game back into a one-run contest.

Diaz gave the Rays some breathing room in the fifth, blasting a two-run homer off Raynel Espinal.

Chris Archer started the fourth and pitched two shutout innings, striking out a pair.

But Boston would rally back with a run on an RBI groundout by Marwin Gonzalez in the sixth off Ryan Sherriff to cut the deficit back to 7-5, and Michael Chavis‘ solo shot off Andrew Kittredge in the seventh made it 7-6.  The Red Sox would score five times in the eighth off Joey Krehbiel: an RBI single by Triston Casas, a two-run  base hit by Jarred Duran, and a two-run homer from Chris Herrmann.

Tamps Bay returns to Fort Myers Saturday, heading across town to take on the Minnesota Twins.  Michael Wacha will get the start, taking on Kenta Maeda.  First pitch is scheduled for 6:05.

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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