Red Sox

BSJ Game Report: Red Sox 11, Rays 2 – First win of the year is a convincing one

(Matt Stone/Boston Herald)

All you need to know about the Red Sox' win, complete with BSJ analysis and insight:

BOX SCORE

HEADLINES

Rays' Fenway dominance comes to an end: Coming into the game, the Tampa Bay Rays had won the last eight meetings at Fenway, and dating back a few years, had won 13 of the last 14. After the Red Sox looked so overmatched against the Orioles over the weekend, this series looked like a mismatch and big trouble for the slumping Sox. Instead, the Sox grabbed their first lead of the season in the second inning and never looked back, pounding out 11 hits and rolling to a lopsided win. That it came against the defending American League champions was impressive; that it came against a team that had had their way with the Sox of late made the win feel all the more meaningful. Of course, at this point, the Red Sox weren't about to be choosy when it came to earning their first victory of 2021.

Balanced attack rules: Having been held to a measly five runs in the first three games combined, the Red Sox Monday night matched that by the fifth inning, then kept adding on. There were plenty of contributors, too, with every member of the starting lineup except Rafael Devers collecting at least one hit while six different players registering at least one RBI. Not until J.D. Martinez drove one off the foul pole in the eighth did the Sox have a homer in this one --  Martinez is the only Boston hitter to go deep through the first four games -- but there were some quality at-bats throughout the order, with the team demonstrating a willingness to go the other way. Both Franchy Cordero and Alex Verdugo smacked opposite-field doubles, and though he had to settle for a single in his first at-bat, Martinez almost drilled a hole in the center field wall with a bullet that reached straightaway center on the fly.

Pivetta labors, but wins: Nick Pivetta, making just his third start since joining the Red Sox at last summer's trade deadline, shut out the Rays over five innings, giving up just two hits. He also issued four walks, which not only put him in hot water on occasion, but also served to drive up his pitch count and limit how deep he could go into the game. After 92 pitches, he was through after just five innings. At times, Pivetta appeared to be effectively wild, filling up every quadrant around the plate, and sometimes, not around the plate. Of his five innings, Pivetta had just one 1-2-3 inning, but to his credit, he worked himself out of every jam he got into. That included a mess in the first inning when Pivetta temporarily lost the plate and threw seven straight balls, leading to consecutive two-out walks. But he dug in and fanned Manuel Margot to escape further trouble and seemed to gain some confidence from that.

TURNING POINT