ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Shane McClanahan became Tampa Bay’s first starting pitcher to get a win this season as the Rays overcame a two-run, first-inning deficit and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Sunday.
After getting no hits in the first nine innings of Saturday night’s 10-inning loss, the Red Sox got four hits on the first nine pitches thrown by McClanahan.
“He just filled up the strike zone early on and they were ready for it,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “But he settled in and gave us an outstanding performance.”
Pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi had a tying, two-run double as the Rays rallied for three runs in the fifth.
McClanahan (1-1) gave up RBI singles to Kike Hernandez and Alex Verdugo in the first, then pitched shutout ball from the second through the sixth. He allowed six hits, struck out seven and walked none, becoming the first Rays pitcher to work seven innings since he did it on Aug. 7. His 86-pitch outing came a day after the Rays used seven pitchers in a 10-inning night game.
“I didn’t want the bullpen to come in at all,” McClanahan said. “I don’t think I had the luxury of not having my best stuff or my best outing. That bullpen needed a rest today.”
Colin Poche and Ryan Thompson followed with hitless relief, and Thompson got three outs for his second major league save, his first since Sept 19, 2020. Tampa Bay’s previous eight wins this year came from its bullpen.
Boston starter Rich Hill, activated from the bereavement/family medical emergency list, gave up four hits and three walks in four shutout innings that took 62 pitches.
“Give those guys credit. We’re in a tough division and it’s going to be a tough division all year long,” Hill said. “Obviously, we have work to do. Going up to Toronto is not going to be an easy series either, but we’re fully capable of going on a nice run here.”
Phillips Valdez (0-1) followed Hill and took his first big league defeat since 2020. He hit Randy Arozarena with a pitch, walked Wander Franco and then hit Diaz with a pitch, loading the bases with one out.
Choi, who has reached base in seven consecutive plate appearances as a pinch hitter, had a two-run double off Ryan Braisier.
“When he comes off the bench, you just think 100% of the time he’s going to get a hit,” Diaz said.
RHP Tyler Zombro was given an ovation by both teams, who came out of their dugouts, when he entered for the Rays’ Triple-A Durham team to pitch the second inning at Norfolk on Sunday. Zombro was hit on the head by a line drive against Norfolk last Jun 3, and this was his first game back. The 27-year-old allowed one hit in a scoreless inning.
Red Sox: RHP Tanner Houck will miss his turn in the rotation in the upcoming Toronto series because he is unvaccinated and is not allowed to enter Canada. Houck made his first relief appearance of the season after three starts and retired the Rays’ final five batters in order.
Rays: LHP Jeffrey Springs was placed on the COVID-19 injured list, marking the third straight day the Rays put a player on the list. … C Francisco Mejia remained on the list for a third straight game.
Rays: Seattle opens a three-game series at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night, the first of seven games in 13 days against the Mariners.