BOSTON (AP) — Emilio Pagán was sitting at his locker nearly 30 minutes after the game was over and still had a big smile.
Sent down the minors at the end of spring training and then brought back up in mid-April, he has his first three big league saves.READ MORE: Kyle Van Noy Hosts Christmas Party For Foster Children In Need
Yandy Diaz hit David Price’s second pitch over the Green Monster for a home run, Charlie Morton pitched six shutout innings and the Tampa Bay Rays held off the Boston Red Sox 2-1 Saturday.
“Yeah, it’s a lot of fun,” Pagán said. “I closed in college and closed in the minors. That’s not to say I’m a closer. It’s definitely fun when you get the opportunity to do it.”
He’s the fifth Rays’ pitcher with a save this season. Tampa Bay has converted 11 of 13 opportunities.
“They’re pretty selfless,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. “They recognize that we’re mixing and matching trying to get the best matchup for each individual.”
Pagán allowed Christian Vázquez’s leadoff single in the ninth, then threw a called third strike past Andrew Benintendi. He gave up a popup to Betts that Diaz lost in the wind and allowed to drop on the infield dirt. The first baseman grabbed the ball and threw to second to force Vázquez, and Pagán struck out Mitch Moreland for his third save.
Mookie Betts hit an eighth-inning homer into the center-field batter’s eye against Diego Castillo. The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs before José Alvarado struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. swinging on a sharp slider.
“Those guys are pretty good,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “They made some good pitches when they had to.”
Mike Zunino had a fourth-inning RBI single off the Monster for the AL East-leading Rays, who were swept at home by Boston in a three-game series last weekend.
Morton (3-0) gave up two hits, struck out five and walked four, and five relievers completed a five-hitter.
Price (1-2) gave up two runs, four hits and three walks in six innings. He entered 10-2 with a 2.78 ERA in his previous 17 starts in Fenway Park
Boston slugger J.D. Martinez was scratched from the lineup because of back spasms.READ MORE: 'Get Vaccinated And Get Boosted': Gov. Baker Pushes COVID Shots In Brockton
Tampa Bay had lost five of seven coming in and had not played since Wednesday afternoon.
Seventeen years earlier, Red Sox right-hander Derek Lowe no-hit the Rays in a 10-0 victory. It was the first no-hitter in Fenway Park since Boston’s Dave Morehead accomplished the feat on Sept. 16, 1965.
WINDY CITY II
A stiff 18 mph breeze was blowing straight out at the first pitch, with wrappers flying around the outfield grass, at times, during the game.
It might have helped Diaz’s drive, too.
“Yeah, you’re aware of this stadium and how it can play with the wind,” Rays manager Kevin Cash, saying it reminded him of Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
Rays: RHP Hunter Wood is on the family medical emergency list after the premature birth of his daughter.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (IL, left knee irritation) and INF Eduardo Nunez (IL, mid-back strain) took grounders and appeared to be moving freely when they ran down the first-base line and from first to third before Boston took batting practice. … Benintendi was hit on the left foot by a pitch, limped to first and stayed in.
Plate umpire Chris Segal took a Castillo fastball off his left shoulder after it nicked Zunino’s glove.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (4-0, 1.53 ERA) is set to start the series finale Sunday. He has allowed two runs or fewer in all five starts, including last Sunday over 5 1/3 innings against Boston.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (0-4, 7.43) has gone without a win in his first five starts for the first time in his major league career.
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