ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Kiermaier broke up a combined no-hit bid by the Boston Red Sox with a one-out double in the eighth inning and Manuel Margot scored on a wild pitch in the ninth to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 victory Thursday night.
Margot got Tampa Bay’s second hit, a two-out single in the ninth off Matt Barnes (3-2). He stole second and went to third on a throwing error by catcher Christian Vázquez.
Joey Wendle was intentionally walked, and Margot dashed home on Barnes’ wild pitch with Francisco Mejía batting.
“We really didn't have an offense going,” Margot said through a translator. “I was just trying to be aggressive.”
Margot came off the bench to pinch-hit in the seventh and was intentionally walked.
J.P. Feyereisen (4-1), the fifth Tampa Bay pitcher, worked the ninth inning of a four-hitter.
Kiermaier lined his opposite-field double to left off Darwinzon Hernández, the third Red Sox pitcher. The Gold Glove center fielder also threw out a runner at the plate in the seventh.
“It was a tied ballgame,” Kiermaier said. “We were just trying to stay the course and try and get something going.”
Boston starter Nick Pivetta was pulled with a runner on second and two outs in the seventh after throwing 100 pitches. His career high is 116.
Josh Taylor, who had his 22nd consecutive scoreless appearance, got the final out in the seventh before giving way to Hernández.
“To be honest with you, it was the right call. It made the most sense,” said Pivetta, who wanted to stay in the game. “We're all about winning.”
Pivetta finished with eight strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter. He joined Babe Ruth, on May 20, 1916, against the St. Louis Browns, as the only Red Sox pitchers to be removed with a no-hitter after six or more innings.
“It was amazing,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “He was into it.”
Boston was trying to throw the seventh no-hitter in the majors this season. That would have matched 1990, 1991, 2012 and 2015 for the most since 1900, one shy of the record eight in 1884 — the first season overhand pitching was allowed.
Despite a tough loss that dropped the Red Sox a half-game behind first-place Tampa Bay in the AL East, Cora saw a lot of positives.
“A lot of people, they didn't believe in this team before the season," he said. “I think the way we played against these guys tonight shows how good we are. We have a lot of work to do, we know that. We belong in the conversation, we really do.”
“It's going to be a fun summer in Boston,” Cora added.
Tampa Bay starter Michael Wacha, who took a no-hitter into the fifth, allowed one hit and two walks in five innings. He had seven strikeouts.
Vázquez got the game’s first hit with two outs in the fifth when he lifted a soft fly ball to center on a half-swing against an 88 mph changeup.
Vázquez stole second and went to third on Mejía’s throwing error but was stranded when Bobby Dalbec struck out.
Hunter Renfroe had a leadoff double to deep center against Ryan Thompson in the seventh but was thrown out at the plate by Kiermaier on Vázquez’s single.
The seventh ended when Vázquez got picked off second by Mejía.
Rays reliever Diego Castillo said through a translator that he wasn’t worried when umpires confiscated his cap due to a discolored spot before pitching the ninth Wednesday night because there were no illegal substances on it.
“That’s the hat I’ve been using all season,” Castillo said. “I think it was just worn out because of the rosin I had consistently touching it.”
Castillo said the cap was returned to him but he can’t wear it.
Los Angeles Angels manager Joe Maddon, who led the Rays to the 2008 AL pennant, will manage his second series at Tampa Bay as an opposing skipper this weekend and first since being with Chicago Cubs in September 2017.
The Red Sox will honor Dustin Pedroia during pregame ceremonies before Friday night’s game against the New York Yankees. Pedroia spent his entire 17-year pro career in the Boston organization.
The no-hitters this season were thrown by San Diego’s Joe Musgrove (April 9), Carlos Rodón of the Chicago White Sox (April 14), Baltimore’s John Means (May 5), Cincinnati’s Wade Miley (May 7), Detroit’s Spencer Turnbull (May 18) and the New York Yankees’ Corey Kluber (May 19).
In addition, Arizona’s Madison Bumgarner pitched a seven-inning hitless game in a doubleheader on April 25 that is not recognized as a no-hitter by Major League Baseball.
The Astros threw the most recent combined no-hitter in the majors, when Aaron Sanchez, Will Harris, Joe Biagini and Chris Devenski blanked Seattle on Aug. 3, 2019.
Red Sox: INF Christian Arroyo (bruised right knee) was placed on the 10-day injured list.
Rays: SS Taylor Walls (right wrist tendinitis) went on the 10-day IL. He got a cortisone shot Wednesday.
Red Sox: LHP Martín Pérez (5-4) and Yankees RHP Domingo Germán (4-4) are Friday night’s starters.
Rays: LHP Josh Fleming (6-4) will start or follow an opener Friday night against Angels RHP Griffin Canning (5-4).
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