Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Randy Arozarena races for home on Wander Franco's double off Boston Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez during the first inning of Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo by Steven J. Nesius/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 8 (UPI) -- Randy Arozarena and Nelson Cruz homered, while pitcher Shane McClanahan allowed just five hits over five scoreless innings to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 5-0 shutout of the Boston Red Sox in Game 1 of the ALDS.
Arozarena went 1 for 2 with three runs scored, two walks and an RBI in the victory Thursday at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Rays star outfielder also stole home in the seventh inning.
"He is a special player," Rays manager Kevin Cash told reporters, when asked about Arozarena at his postgame news conference. "He certainly gets up for the moment.
"He has proven that day in and day out, and definitely when it's postseason time."
The Rays chased Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez out of the game in the second. He allowed two hits, two runs and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. The Red Sox offense left 20 runners on base.
McLanahan allowed a single in the second at-bat of the game, but escaped the inning with three strikeouts. Rodriguez walked Arozarena to lead off the bottom of the first. Rays shortstop Wander Franco smashed a 1-1 changeup to center field for an RBI double in the next at-bat.
Rays infielder Yandy Diaz drove in Franco with an RBI single later in the inning. Cruz swatted his first homer of the postseason in the bottom of the third to give the Rays a 3-0 lead.
That 406-foot solo shot to left field came off a 3-1 pitch from Red Sox reliever Nick Pivetta.
Arozarena smacked another solo shot off Pivetta in the bottom of the fifth. The Rays outfielder hit that leadoff shot off a 3-2 fastball. Arozarena's homer to left field traveled an estimated 397 feet and sped 107 mph off his bat, according to Statcast.
Rays catcher Mike Zunino and center fielder Kevin Kiermaier flew out to start the bottom of the seventh. Pivetta issued a walk to Arozarena in the next exchange. He allowed a Franco double in the fourth at-bat of the inning. That hit sent Franco to third base.
The Red Sox brought in Josh Taylor to replace Pivetta for the next exchange with Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe.
Taylor missed the strike zone with a slider on his first pitch. He then jumped ahead 1-2 in the count. Taylor did a slow wind up for his fifth offering, looking at first base as Arozarena took off from third.
The Rays outfielder slid in and touched home just before Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez could apply a tag.
"I noticed that the pitcher wasn't really watching for me or covering for me, and I saw the third baseman was pretty far away in respect to where I was at," Arozarena said. "I was looking over to [third-base coach Rodney] Linares and telling him, 'Hey, I'm going to go. I'm going to go.'
"I peeked over and saw Cash give him the green light as well, so that's when I decided to take off."
Neither team scored another run for the final two innings. The Rays bullpen allowed four hits and no walks over the final four innings.
Franco went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored in the victory.
Red Sox designated hitter Kyle Schwarber and shortstop Xander Bogaerts each went 2 for 4 in the loss. Second baseman Christian Arroyo went 2 for 3 for the Red Sox.
The Rays host the Red Sox in Game 2 at 7:02 p.m. EDT Friday at Tropicana Field. Red Sox left handed pitcher Chris Sale is expected to face Rays right handed pitcher Shane Baz.
The Houston Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 6-1 in Game 1 of the other ALDS on Thursday in Houston. The winner of that series battles the Rays or Red Sox in the ALCS. The Astros host the White Sox in Game 2 at 2:07 p.m. EDT Friday at Minute Maid Park.
The Milwaukee Brewers host the Atlanta Braves in Game 1 of the NLDS at 4:37 p.m. EDT Friday at American Family Field in Milwaukee. The San Francisco Giants host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 1 of the other NLDS at 9:37 p.m. EDT Friday at Oracle Park in San Francisco.