Red Sox, Rays meet again after 12-inning thriller

The Boston Red Sox will look to ride the momentum of a walk-off win in 12 innings when they continue a four-game series against the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.

The teams have split the first two games of the set. Romy Gonzalez’s hard single down the first-base line gave Boston the 5-4 victory on Tuesday.

“It was a good one. It took a lot,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said of the win.

Boston’s Tanner Houck (3-4, 2.24 ERA) will aim to continue his consistent season-opening run on Wednesday. The 27-year-old right-hander has worked at least 5 2/3 innings in each of his eight starts, seven of which have been quality starts.

However, Houck has gone four straight starts without a win dating to his April 17 complete-game shutout against Cleveland.

Houck will look to lead Boston following an all-around Tuesday effort in which Nick Pivetta pitched into the sixth inning, the final four relievers combined to allow one unearned run, and Ceddanne Rafaela homered.

Rafaela, who also is a versatile defensive player in the infield and outfield, leads the Red Sox and all MLB rookies with 23 RBIs.

“He’s legit, honestly,” Cora said. “We knew it coming into the season.”

Houck took a loss Friday against Washington despite working seven innings of three-run ball. Three two-out hits with runners in scoring position were the difference in the game.

“Chalk it up as finding a hole, seeing-eye singles,” Houck said. “Try not to beat yourself up too much about it, but it definitely stings.”

Houck is 0-3 with a 7.47 ERA across five career appearances (three starts) against Tampa Bay.

After a 10-hit effort in a series-opening, 5-3 win on Monday, Tampa Bay was limited to eight hits in the 12-inning Tuesday game. Josh Lowe, Isaac Paredes and Amed Rosario each had two hits, while Randy Arozarena joined Lowe in homering.

Rosario drove in three runs in the series opener.

“I think the bats are starting to produce a little bit, and thank God we were able to do that,” Rays first baseman Yandy Diaz said Monday.

Tuesday marked the Rays’ fourth loss in six games following a five-game winning streak.

After New England native Aaron Civale took the Fenway Park mound for the first time as a big leaguer on Tuesday, the Rays will hand the ball to 23-year-old right-hander Taj Bradley (0-1, 1.50) for his second start of the season following an opening stint on the injured list due to a right pectoral strain.

Bradley enjoyed a strong start to his season on Friday with seven strikeouts over six innings of one-run ball, but he received no run support in a 2-0 loss to the New York Yankees.

“I could not be more impressed with the way Taj threw the ball (in his first start),” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

Prior to returning to the big league club, Bradley struck out 15 across two rehab starts for Triple-A Durham.

Bradley started and won twice against Boston during his rookie year in 2023, logging 14 strikeouts and a 4.50 ERA in 10 innings.

–Field Level Media