Red Sox walk off with ALDS win, eliminate Rays
The 100-win Rays, champions of the daunting AL East, watched their shot at defending their 2020 pennant slip away at Fenway Park on Monday night as the Red Sox advanced to the ALCS with a Game 4 win.
With both teams improvising on the pitching front after Sunday’s marathon Game 3, the Rays had summoned Game 1 starter Shane McClanahan to work the third inning in relief. The rookie lefty was clearly not sharp on this occasion after a strong performance in the series opener, quickly allowing two baserunners. He had gotten to two outs without surrendering damage, but then Rafael Devers stepped in and obliterated a 97.7 mph fastball that McClanahan right in the middle of the zone.
Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo and J.D. Martinez rattled off three consecutive hits following the homer, notching two more runs to chase McClanahan and give the Red Sox an upper hand.
Opposite the Rays’ search for steady work on the mound, Boston’s Eduardo Rodriguez delivered. After a rough Game 1 start, he returned for Game 4 and gave manager Alex Cora a much easier roadmap to a win by firing 5+ innings, allowing only three hits and two runs, striking out six with no walks.
But the Rays, in an echo of Game 3, roared back against the Red Sox bullpen. Wander Franco smashed a two-run homer in the sixth, and then Kevin Kiermaier and Randy Arozarena came up big to tie the game in the top of the eighth.
In the bottom of the frame, the Red Sox were threatening to retake the lead until Kiermaier zipped a throw to third base to nail Verdugo trying to advance on a flyout.