Thursday is often a travel day for teams, leaving yesterday with a pretty light slate. There was still a bit of action though, with the Yankees getting off to a horrid start in the series with the Twins, while the Blue Jays wrapped up their set with the Tigers, and the Rays attempted to extend their historic season-opening win streak to 13 games. Here’s what went down:
Boston Red Sox (5-8) 3, Tampa Bay Rays (13-0) 9
The Rays sent out one of their top arms with their win streak on the line, in the form of Jeffrey Springs. One of the hottest pitchers in the league, Springs looked sharp again, the only hit he allowed being a solo shot off the bat of one Rob Refsnyder.
Unfortunately for Springs and the Rays, the left-hander departed after just three innings with what’s been termed as “ulnar inflammation in his pitching arm”. It’s a shame, as despite the fact that he plies his trade for the rival Rays, it’s fun to watch Springs constantly make opposing hitters feel uncomfortable:
Jeffrey Springs, Gorgeous 79mph Changeup.— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) April 13, 2023
5th K pic.twitter.com/Ge2skriF4S
The Red Sox had a chance to seize the day once Springs departed, loading the bases with one out against reliever Garrett Cleavinger, but could only manage one run on a groundout. Boston tacked on one more in the top of the fifth, and then collapsed.
Corey Kluber had managed the first four frames admirably, but he couldn’t keep the dam from breaking. Harold Ramirez led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, Josh Lowe walked, and Francisco Mejía singled to cut the lead to 3-2. The Red Sox went to Richard Bleier, who had a chance to escape with two on and two down. The Rays greeted him as follows: Brandon Lowe RBI single, Randy Arozarena RBI single, Wander Franco HBP, Manuel Margot RBI bunt single, and Harold Ramírez three-run double. 8-3 Rays after five.
Lowe added a solo shot in the seventh to bring the score to its final at 9-3. With that, the Rays are a stunning 13-0. It’s been nearly 140 years since a team won more consecutive games to start an MLB season.
Detroit Tigers (3-9) 3, Toronto Blue Jays (8-5) 1
It’s been a miserable start to the year for the Tigers, coming off an equally disastrous 2022. True to form, even a nice victory for Detroit had to be marred by some controversy. Spencer Turnbull turned in a solid start to nab his first win of the year, but it was overshadowed by Javier Baez’s benching for some atrocious base-running:
Javier Báez got a late start out of the box watching his drive to LF that hit off the top of the wall for a double. Then he apparently forgot how many outs there were on Akil Baddoo's fly out to CF, resulting in an inning-ending 8-4 double play. The baserunning mishaps continue. pic.twitter.com/JJCDKWMiGk— Jason Beck (@beckjason) April 13, 2023
Tyler Nevin would give the Tigers the lead with a sac fly off Chris Bassitt in the third, with Vlad Guerrero Jr. tying things up in the bottom half with an RBI single. But that was all Toronto would manage off of Turnbull and the patchwork Detroit bullpen, with the Tigers staff turning in a stellar overall game with 10 strikeouts against just one walk.
Zach McKinstry drove in a run with an RBI double in the fifth that would ultimately provide the winning margin, and Jake Rogers doubled home another in the eighth for a 3-1 lead. Alex Lange closed out the game for his first save of the season, in contrast to yesterday’s strange bullpen management from AJ Hinch.
Ryan Mouncastle’s hot start continued, with the DH hitting his sixth homer as the Orioles jumped all over A’s starter to the tune of seven runs over 2.1 innings. But Baltimore’s Cole Irvin couldn’t hold the lead, with Brent Rooker leading the way for Oakland with five RBI. After five innings, the two sides were level at 7-7. The score stayed that way, until Adley Rutschman ended the game dramatically with his first career walk-off homer: