Willy “The Kid” went 2-3 with 2 RBI, 3 runs, and a homer last night. (Photo Credit: Tampa Bay Rays)

The Tampa Bay Rays scored nine two-out runs in the second, third and fourth innings on Friday night, propelling the team to a 10-3 win at over the Boston Red Sox. The Rays have won a season-high six consecutive games, and are seven games over .500 for the first time this season.

Diego Castillo opened the game and posted 1-2/3 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits while striking out four. His first two punchouts came against the first two batters of the game and on just six pitches. Castillo was followed by Jalen Beeks, who worked his way out of a runners on the corners two-out jam by coaxing a fly-ball to shallow left from Boston’s catcher Blake Swihart.

Tampa Bay got on the board in the second inning against Hector Velazquez, who allowed just one run to the same team less than a week ago.

Designated hitter Ji-Man Choi started the rally with a double to right field before Willy “The Kid” Adames worked a free pass. And while Kevin Kiermaier went down swinging on five pitches, Choi and Adames pulled a double steal to get into scoring position ahead of Carlos Gomez — looking a lot like the Rays of old in the process. Gomez chopped a ball to third which allowed Choi to score the first run of the game, with Adames moving up 90 feet. After Brandon Lowe worked the second free pass of the inning, Michael Perez hit a two-run double off the glove of a diving Jackie Bradley Jr. in right-centerfield, capping the rally.

Yet Boston struck back for a pair of runs off left-hander Jalen Beeks in the top of the third inning on a bases-loaded two-out single by Xander Bogaerts, putting the Rays up by just one. Beeks walked Mookie Betts on four pitches — as it appeared that he wanted nothing to do with one of the best hitters in the American League — before Steve Pearce and J.D. Martinez both reached on infield hits that took awkward bounces, making plays against nearly impossible. Beeks ended the night with a .412 BABIP against, largely due to his unlucky third.

Be that as it may, Tampa Bay answered with a big two-out rally in the bottom of the frame. With none on, Choi and Adames hit back-to-back singles before Kiermaier snuck a hit under the glove Steve Pearce for a run. Then Gomez and Lowe sprayed run-scoring base hits to left and right (respectively) to put the Rays up by four. After Lowe stole the third bag of the night, Perez capped the five-run rally with a two-run single to right, chasing Velazquez and making it 8-2.

Beeks allowed one more run in the fifth inning after he relinquished back-to-back-to-back singles to Andrew Benintendi, Pearce and Martinez. Yet the southpaw worked around seven hits and three walks while striking out four across 5-1/3 innings — his longest outing in a Rays’ uniform. He was helped by double plays in the fifth and the seventh innings.

Beeks didn’t have his best stuff, yet he spotted his fastball and made some pitches when he had to.

(The) offense exploded, Beeks said, and that made it a lot easier on the pitchers.

Meanwhile, the Rays capped their scoring in the fourth inning against Drew Pomeranz. Choi walked with two outs before Adames blasted a two-run homer to dead center (his eighth) for an eight-run advantage.

Hunter Wood took the mound for the final two innings of the game, allowing four hits but no walks while striking out three. All told, Tampa Bay collected 12 hits. Adames and Choi teamed up to score six runs and Lowe reached base four times.

The New What Next

Ryne Stanek (1-3, 2.58 ERA) will open the game for Tampa Bay in the second game of the set, and will likely be followed by Ryan Yarbrough(12-5, 3,84 ERA). They will face RHP Rick Porcello (15-6, 4.14 ERA).

Yarbrough picked up the win on Monday after he fired off 5-1/3 scoreless innings against Kansas City. He struck out six. Yarbrough relinquished two hits and one walk in the outing. The southpaw replaced opener Hunter Wood midway through the second inning and recorded the final out with two runners on the base paths. Tampa Bay plated their lone run in the bottom half of the inning, making Yarbrough the pitcher of record while he and the bullpen shut down the Kansas City offense for the rest of the game. Yarbrough has kept the opposition off the board in each of his last three appearances while posting a 0.53 WHIP and 10-to-1 K/BB across 11-1/3 innings.

Porcello took the loss Monday night after he gave up five runs on six hits and one walk over seven innings against Cleveland. He struck out six. The game was tied at three apiece heading into the seventh inning when Porcello got the first out before walking the next batter. After he was then hit in the stomach by a comebacker off the bat of Yan Gomes, which led to a fielder’s choice, Greg Allen broke the tie with a two-run home shot, proving to be the difference in the game. Porcello is 3-1 against the Rays this season, although his sole loss came on May 24, the last time he took the mound against Tampa Bay. In that game, the right-hander allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks over 3-2/3 innings. Key Matchups: Willy Adames (1-2), Ji-Man Choi (2-5, 2B, RBI), Matt Duffy (7-18, RBI), Carlos Gomez (3-9, 2B, HR, RBI), Joey Wendle (3-10, 2B)

Rays 8/25/18 Starting Lineup

MENDLE 2B
DUFFMAN 3B
JI DH
PHAMTASTIC LF
BIG FELLA 1B
OUTLAW CF
THE KID SS
LOWE RF
MYKII C
STANNY RHP

You can read about the series in our preview.

The New What Next: Rays vs Red Sox — one last time with feeling

Noteworthiness

— After waking up at 3:00 AM Friday morning feeling ill, OF Mallex Smith has been hospitalized due to a viral infection. He has been placed on the 10-day disabled list. According to Matt Baker (Tampa Bay Times), the illness is serious enough to elicit a stay in the hospital but does not appear to be life-threatening.

Smith was admitted to an area hospital and was receiving antibiotics via IV, the team said but was not expected to stay long. His condition is not considered anything like the life-threatening bacterial infection that led to Cleveland OF Leonys Martin being hospitalized earlier this month and sidelined for the rest of the season.

Rays manager Kevin Cash spoke on Smith’s status after the game:

I don’t get the sense it’s serious. The kid’s in the hospital, so that’s concerning enough. I don’t know much other than that.

The team has recalled Andrew Kittredge to take Smith’s place on the active roster in the short-term, adding an extra arm to the bullpen, although they could call up an outfielder since they have two days off next week. Austin Meadows would be an option.

— OF Tommy Pham hit off the machine Friday as he continues to progress from the dislocated right ring finger he suffered on Tuesday.

He’s going to feel it for a while, Cash said. It’s okay to feel it, but we don’t want him changing his bat path or the mechanics of his swing.

He was available off the bench last night and could start this evening.

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