Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson had a clean 12-pitch first inning in this ALDS Game 4 in Tampa Bay, but he allowed back-to-back walks to David Ortiz and Mike Napoli to open the top of the second and then a Daniel Nava single loaded the bases and abruptly drove the Rays starter from the game.
It’s a wonder — given the obvious lack of faith and poor regular season output — why Hellickson drew this assignment in the first place. But credit Tampa Bay for the pulling the plug right away. The Rays escaped damage in the second when Jamey Wright fanned Jarrod Saltalamacchia and James Loney turned a heads-up doubleplay on a hard Stephen Drew lineout. Matt Moore entered in the top of the third to do some inning-eating.
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy has thrown up zeroes through his easy first four frames.
It’s a 0-0 deadlock as the top of the fifth inning gets underway at Tropicana Field.
Angels DH Albert Pujols smacked his 597th career home run, a two-run shot in the top of the first inning during Wednesday night’s 5-2 loss to the Rays. The blast was off of Erasmo Ramirez and marked No. 6 on the season for the future Hall of Famer.
Pujols finished 1-for-3 with the homer and a walk. After Wednesday’s game, he’s hitting a lackluster .244/.296/.378 with 34 RBI and 14 runs scored in 186 trips to the plate.
Pujols currently ranks ninth on baseball’s all-time leaderboard and is three shy of joining the 600-homer club. He’s currently 13 home runs away from tying Sammy Sosa for eighth all-time.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale entered Wednesday’s outing against the Rangers with at least 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive starts, tying a record he already shared with Pedro Martinez. He failed do break the record, racking up only six strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings. Fortunately, the Red Sox scored seven runs in the bottom of the seventh to put him in line for the win. Sale gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits and a walk.
After Wednesday’s outing, Sale is sitting on a 2.34 ERA with a 101/14 K/BB ratio in 73 innings. So far, so good for the Red Sox, who acquired Sale from the White Sox in December.
Sale previously racked up 10 strikeouts in eight consecutive games between May 23 and June 30 in 2015 with the White Sox. Pedro Martinez accomplished the feat for the Red Sox between August 19 and September 27 in 1999.