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Tampa Bay Rays Game 16: Rene Rivera Wins It With Walk-Off

By RobKillette
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Jake Odorizzi was the second piece the Tampa Bay Rays received in the Wil MyersJames Shields trade, but he may wind up as the best known of the Rays’ acquisitions when it is all said and done. Odorizzi led the Rays to 2-1 walk-off win over the Boston Red Sox. The Rays roared back from four straight losses and a rough opening game of the three-game set to win their series with Boston two games to one.

The play of the game was when Rays catcher Rene Rivera came through in a 1-1 game in the ninth inning. Allan Dykstra led off the inning against Anthony Varvaro with a single before being pinch-run for by Tim Beckham. Two batters later, Kevin Kiermaier followed with an opposite-field base hit that moved Beckham to second base. Rivera’s at-bat began inauspiciously as he made contact with a pitch that bounced, but he later pulled a pitch down the third base line to drive in Beckham for the walk-off win.

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The Rays wouldn’t have had the opportunity to win the game if it wasn’t for sophomore pitcher Jake Odorizzi.  Odorizzi continued his year with another phenomenal performance, pitching 6.2 innings while allowing only one run on three hits. Odorrizi is 2-1 with a scarce ERA of 1.65 on the year. He has stepped up big-time while other Rays starters have been injured. Odorizzi didn’t have his best stuff in the game, leaving too many pitches up as he struggled with his command, but it says a lot about his maturity as a pitcher that he was able to succeed nonetheless.

Despite his great night, Odorizzi didn’t earn the win in the const. Brad Boxberger was awarded the victory instead as the pitcher of record following his three-up, three-down ninth inning. Boxberger is now 2-1 on the year with a 2.45 ERA. Kevin Jepsen (1.0 innings) and Brandon Gomes (0.1 innings) also pitched, with neither allowing a hit.

The Red Sox’ pitching was also excellent. Clay Buchholz was in a duel with Odorizzi all game and dominated the Rays, striking them out 10 times in 6 innings and allowing just one run. The Rays’ offense was unproductive against Buchholz, Alexi Ogando, and Junichi Tazawa before finally breaking through against Varvaro.

Not many Rays hitters produced in the series finale against Boston, but Logan Forsythe put together another solid game. He drove in the Rays’ first run with a single to centerfield and walked once. Evan Longoria scored on Forsythe’s hit after he led off the second inning with a ground-rule double. Asdrubal Cabrera also had a nice performance, going 1 for 3 with a walk.

After finishing up their series with the Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays start off a three game home series against the Toronto Blue Jays tomorrow. The first pitch is set for 7:10 PM EST, and the game will feature a pitching battle between the Rays’ Drew Smyly pitching against Toronto’s Cy Young winner, R.A Dickey. This will be Smyly’s first game of the year after he began the season on the disabled list, and he could provide a major boost to the Rays’ rotation.

Next: Tampa Bay Rays: Anaylzing Kevin Kiermaier’s Strong Start

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