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Tampa Bay Rays hammer Rick Porcello, Boston Red Sox

By
Mike Shalin, The Sports Xchange
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer throws a pitch. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Chris Archer throws a pitch. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

BOSTON -- If you looked at the pitching matchup heading into Friday night's game at Fenway Park, there was every reason to believe the Red Sox would open a four-game series with a victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

After all, Boston had Rick Porcello, the reigning Cy Young Award winner who beat the Rays five straight times last season, on the mound.

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On the other side, you had Chris Archer, who had an 11-game losing streak against Boston and had suffered 11 of his 51 major league losses against the Red Sox.

Naturally, Porcello got hammered and Archer pitched into the sixth inning and allowed one run to end his streak in a 10-5 Rays rout.

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"I really don't think about that stuff. Every year is a new year," Archer said after his 5 2/3 solid innings in front of a powerful attack led to the win.

Archer, 9-19 last year but 2-0 in 2017, beat the Red Sox to start his career back in 2012 but was 0-11 since, the longest string of futility against Boston since Floyd Bannister's 12-game streak from 1982-86.

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But the Rays got homers by Shane Peterson, in his first at-bat as a Ray, Logan Morrison (a grand slam), Brad Miller and Steven Souza Jr., the last two back-to-back to KO Porcello. The power display staked Archer to an 8-0 lead and the Rays (6-5) ended a three-game losing streak.

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"I'm really smart for putting him in the lineup," manager Kevin Cash said of Peterson, who had played 95 previous major league games, 93 with the Milwaukee Brewers. "He was having good at-bats in Triple-A (where he had eight RBIs) and glad to see him get an opportunity.

"(His new teammates) were all pumped for him. He's a pretty quiet guy. When he came into the dugout you couldn't knock the smile off his face."

Peterson, selected from Triple-A Durham to replace the injured Mallex Smith, and Souza also singled home runs while Miller had three hits and Morrison also had a double in the rout. Morrison is 10-for-24 lifetime against Porcello.

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Said Peterson: "I envisioned hitting it hard. I had all day to pretty much think about it. I had all day to pretty much visualize (the at-bat).

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"It sunk in more after the inning. I'm sure it'll sink in more later tonight."

Rookie Austin Pruitt worked into the ninth, but Cash had to go to his closer when the Red Sox scored three runs -- and Alex Colome got the final two outs.

Porcello (1-1) had never allowed more than three homers in a game. His 4 1/3-inning failure came two games after Boston's Steven Wright allowed four homers in 1 1/3 innings against Baltimore in a 12-5 Orioles win.

The Morrison slam came after a pair of walks, something Porcello almost never does.

"Obviously, the walks in the third inning caused a big problem for me," he said. "Got put into a jam. They left the ballpark four times. Gotta make better pitches.

"There's no secret to it. It's really pretty simple: execute the baseball better."

Porcello has allowed 25 hits and 14 earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, good for a 7.56 ERA.

"(It's) not physical, not a lingering effect of innings a year ago, nothing like that," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He's strong physically, work has been consistent, it's a matter of in-game location."

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Added Porcello: "I've been in this situation before. Everybody gets roughed up a little bit. Just take a deep breath, slow the game down, and make some pitches."

Mookie Betts had four hits and an RBI on his bobblehead night, while Xander Bogaerts delivered three hits and an RBI. Hanley Ramirez drove in two runs and Andrew Benintendi one for the Red Sox (5-5).

Porcello also allowed two doubles, the second one coming in the second inning when Morrison doubled with two outs. He scored when Peterson homered.

NOTES: The Rays, wary of the flu bug that gripped the Red Sox, came prepared with a pair of air filtration systems for the clubhouse and plan to bring them along for all road games. ... Red Sox CF Jackie Bradley Jr., on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee strain, ran in the outfield wearing a brace and then hit for the first time since getting hurt in Detroit. ... The Rays moved RHP Brad Boxberger from the 10-day to the 60-day DL to make room for OF Shane Peterson on the 40-man roster. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi, 3-3 lifetime against Boston but 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA in eight Fenway starts, pitches for the Rays Saturday and faces Chris Sale, a hard-luck 0-1 with a 1.23 ERA in two starts with his new team. 3B Evan Longoria is 1-for-21 with eight strikeouts against Sale. ... Struggling Red Sox RHP Steven Wright has worked with fellow knuckleballer Tim Wakefield this week and also threw in the bullpen late in Friday night's game -- the Red Sox holding his throw day back in case he was needed in the game early.

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