Red Sox

Despite getting shutout, Alex Cora ‘loved’ the Red Sox’ at-bats in Game 1 of the ALDS

The Red Sox out-hit the Rays 9-6 in Game 1, but lost 5-0.

Hunter Renfroe and the Red Sox offense had a frustrating night in Game 1 of the ALDS. Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

The Red Sox were shutout 5-0 in their Game 1 loss to the Rays. Even though they didn’t have a single runner cross home, Red Sox manager Alex Cora liked his team’s offensive approach on Thursday night.

And there’s some evidence for why Cora might think that way. For starters, they out-hit the Rays 9-6. As a team, the Red Sox combined to have 16 hard hits and struck out just four times in 35 total at-bats.

But where the Red Sox fell short was failing to take advantage of the opportunities they created. They went just 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base throughout the night.

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Their best opportunity came in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with one out and their fourth and fifth hitters due up. However, Rafael Devers whiffed at three 92 mph fastballs — including one right down the middle — and Hunter Renfroe hit a pop out in foul territory against reliever JP Feyereisen, leaving the Red Sox empty-handed.

Boson’s other issues? Failing to draw a single walk and not having an extra-base hit.

There is some bad luck factored into the Red Sox’ inability to score in Game 1. For instance, Bobby Dalbec had three hard-hit balls in Thursday’s game, but all three went straight to Rays fielders. With runners at first and second and no outs in the second, Dalbec’s hard-hit ball resulted in a 4-6-4 double play. With runners at first and second again in the fourth, Dalbec hit a line out to third baseman Yandy Diaz, who just had to stick his glove out to make the play. In his seven-pitch at-bat in the seventh, Dalbec hit a hard-hit ball to right that was caught right on the warning track, going 0-for-3 on hard-hit balls on the evening.

Cora acknowledged both realities of not taking advantage of key opportunities and a bit of unluckiness as to why the Red Sox didn’t score in Game 1.

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“We had traffic out there. We just didn’t cash in,” Cora said. “Bobby [Dalbec] hit a few missiles with men on. Obviously in the eighth, we loaded the bases. There were some good at-bats in the middle of the game. Grinding at-bats. Others were kind of empty. Overall, we did a pretty good job — hitting line drives and staying in the middle of the field.”

One of the Red Sox hitters that did have some success in Game 1 was Christian Arroyo. The second baseman went 2-for-3 hitting out of the nine spot, hitting singles in the fifth and eighth innings to help set up the top of the order.

Like his manager, Arroyo liked the team’s ability to get hits. He believes the difference in the game was the Rays’ ability to get extra-base hits.

“I think looking back, we left eight on base or something like that. Obviously in situations like this, you’ve got to score runners,” Arroyo said. “As an offense, I thought we did a good job of getting our knocks. But you’ve got to have that blow. Arozarena hit a homer. Nelson Cruz hit a homer. They started off the first inning with a couple knocks, RBIs, and stuff. We just didn’t have that gut-punching blow with runners in scoring position to get that stuff going. It’s baseball.”

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Looking forward, Cora has some optimism in his team’s offense following Game 1. Slugger J.D. Martinez, who missed Game 1 and the Wild Card Game due to an ankle injury, has a “a strong possibility” of returning to the lineup for Game 2, Cora told reporters. He also has his ace, Chris Sale, taking the mound on Friday.

“We’re good. I loved the at-bats today,” Cora said. “Like I said, we put some pressure on them. They made some plays. We hit some balls hard. But we’ve got Chris and he’s ready to go. Our bullpen’s rested. We’re OK.”

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