BOSTON (AP) — Drew Smyly is still looking for his first win of the season despite striking out 22 over his past two starts.
It can wait.
Smyly allowed just one hit over eight innings and the Tampa Bay Rays bullpen preserved the one-hitter to beat the Boston Red Sox 3-0 in 10 innings Tuesday night.
“Drew kept us in that game and did a phenomenal job,” said Kevin Kiermaier, who led off the 10th with his first home run of the season. “He’s just so much fun to play behind. He works quick and just throws a bunch of strikes
Smyly struck out 11, tying his career high for the second straight start.
Smyly was in a pitching duel with Boston’s bullpen after starter Joe Kelly left in the first inning with stiffness in his right shoulder. The Red Sox used six relievers, and the first four preserved the shutout until Matt Barnes (1-1) faced Kiermaier to lead off the 10th.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had Boston’s hit, a single to center in the third. Erasmo Ramirez (3-0) threw a hitless ninth for Tampa Bay, and Alex Colome pitched the 10th for his second save.
“We did that as a team,” Smyly said. “It’s hard to score some nights.”
Nobody crossed the plate until Kiermaier. After falling behind Barnes early, Kiermaier fouled off a few pitches before driving a 2-2 curveball deep into the right field seats.
It was just the fourth hit of the night for the Rays, who added two more runs with two outs on a ground-rule double by Desmond Jennings after an error by third baseman Travis Shaw.
“Three runs can be had really quick here in this ballpark,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
Kelly faced just four batters, walking two, and left after the training staff visited the mound for the second time in the inning.
Heath Hembree, recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket earlier Tuesday, took over and went 3 1/3 innings. Hembree allowed two hits and struck out four. Robbie Ross Jr. started the fifth and also struck out four while allowing one hit over three innings.
The Red Sox needed the strong showing from the bullpen to keep up with what Smyly was doing to Boston’s lineup.
“He was good from pitch one to the last one,” Mookie Betts said. “He was just mixing it up and keeping the ball out of the middle of the plate.”
Boston had its best chance in the third. Chris Young and Ryan Hanigan began the inning with consecutive walks, and then Bradley’s single loaded the bases. The Rays got a force out at home when Mookie Betts hit a sharp grounder right to third baseman Evan Longoria. The Red Sox still had the bases loaded for Dustin Pedroia, but Smyly got out of the jam by getting Pedroia to ground into a double play.
It was Tampa Bay’s first ever shutout in an extra-inning game.
Smyly said he was willing to give up a run for a double play when he faced Betts, before Longoria’s heads-up play changed everything.
Cash said it wasn’t a set play because there wasn’t a need for one.
“Longo’s a baseball player,” Cash said. “He made some tremendous plays today over there. That was one of them.”
Manager John Farrell praised his bullpen despite the loss. Kelly faced just four batters and threw only 23 pitches before the Red Sox called upon Hembree.
“Outstanding,” Farrell said of his relievers. “Heath comes up, he’s pressed into long relief, long duty right away. They were efficient. They had good stuff. … All of them threw the ball exceptionally well.”
Rays: C Hank Conger will be back behind the plate Wednesday in his first start in nearly a week. Conger, acquired in an offseason trade with the Astros largely for his defense, allowed five stolen bases last Thursday in the Rays’ 6-0 loss against Cleveland.
Red Sox: 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder, felt “improved” Tuesday but was still a ways from returning to the lineup, manager John Farrell said. Sandoval went for a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews on Monday. “There’s nowhere near full range of motion, but there’s improvement,” Farrell said.
Rays: RHP Chris Archer (0-3, 5.87) has lost his last six starts dating back to last season.
Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (2-0, 5.11) allowed three earned runs on two hits over 6 1/3 innings against Toronto in his last start. Porcello also struck out eight and walked one against the Blue Jays on Friday.