Rays look to defeat Red Sox in 4-game series finale

June 5 – After losing the opener of a Saturday doubleheader to start a four-game series in Boston, the Tampa Bay Rays affirmed their dominance in the AL East by following up with a pair of wins over the Red Sox.

The major league-leading Rays will look for their third straight win to claim the series when they take on host Boston in a rescheduled game on Monday afternoon.

The game was originally set as the Friday series opener before being postponed due to persistent rain and thunderstorms.

Tampa Bay won 6-2 on Sunday while playing through various injuries. Wander Franco (hamstring), José Siri (shoulder) and Brandon Lowe (back) were all out of the lineup, prompting Rays manager Kevin Cash to map out several possible lineup combinations before the game.

“There was a lot of stuff right there at the end that fell apart,” Cash said. “It was a bit hectic.”

Without Siri available, Manuel Margot had to jump back into the outfield after a terrifying collision on the Green Monster during Saturday’s double feature.

The string of injuries prompted changes to planned days off, but it didn’t faze the disinterested Rays.

“We’re kind of a pinwheel group,” Tampa Bay outfielder Luke Raley said. “We play for each other. Sometimes people are upset and you know you have to go benchless and you have to play through that. So it is what it is.”

The Rays’ Shane McClanahan (8-1, 2.07 ERA) appears to be reeling from his first loss of the season, when he allowed two runs and six hits in 5 2-3 innings last Tuesday against the Chicago Cubs. The lefty had allowed just one run in consecutive seven-inning outings before the setback.

McClanahan pitched a gem on April 11 against the Red Sox, striking out nine in five one-run innings. It was his fourth win in six career starts against Boston.

The Red Sox will turn to right-hander Brayan Bello (3-3, 3.89) in the series finale. Bello has had back-to-back losses despite allowing just three runs combined against the Los Angeles Angels and Cincinnati Reds in his last two starts.

Bello is 0-1 with a 10.13 ERA in two career starts against the Rays, both last season. He gave up nine runs in eight innings between those games.

While the Red Sox haven’t scored more than three runs in eight of their last 13 games, it’s the defense that has plagued Boston manager Alex Cora of late.

“I am the manager of this club and we have been careless,” Cora said. “It’s not about pointing fingers, is it? The roster is the roster and we’ve got to play better baseball.”

The Red Sox have committed seven errors in their last six games, including two costly ones on Sunday.

“We just have to clean it up in every facet,” Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo said. “We are all professionals, we are all in the big leagues, we all know how to play.”

Verdugo, who hits leadoff, has done his part at the plate, registering three hits in two of his last three games. All three of his hits Sunday were extra-base hits, as he had two doubles and a triple.

–Field level media

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