BOSTON — The Rays would rather have been at home Monday, playing golf, hanging out at the beach or even just sleeping in, somehow enjoying a rare off day.
But due to Friday’s rainout, they were forced by Major League Baseball and the Red Sox to work. Again in cold and wet conditions, they made the best of it.
With the usual sturdy start from Shane McClanahan, who moved up a day to face the Red Sox, and a five-hit rally that led to three fifth-inning runs, the Rays rolled to a 4-1 win. And they — finally — returned home with a 4-3 mark on the extended trip to Chicago and Boston, and a majors-best 43-19 record.
“Anytime we get to bump Shane up and pitch against a good division rival, we’d like that opportunity,” manager Kevin Cash said prior to the 4:06 p.m game played in 58-degree weather.
“As far as missing the off day, I’d like for our players to get the off days that are on the schedule. It’s unfortunate that it played out this way. But MLB decides we’re going to play, we need to play.”
The Rays would have preferred to make up the game during their Sept. 26-27 return visit to Boston, or at least on the off day preceding that series. Or even an earlier start time on Monday.
McClanahan got off to an uncharacteristic rough start, walking two of the first three batters, with eight of his first 13 pitches for balls. But he got a ground ball from Rafael Devers that shortstop Wander Franco, back in the lineup after missing two games with a sore left hamstring, turned into a double play and pretty much cruised from there.
McClanahan worked six solid innings, allowing five hits and the two walks, but only one run, on Justin Turner’s homer in the sixth. He also struck out five in improving to 9-1 with a 2.02 ERA for the season.
Luke Raley, who was robbed twice of other hits, doubled to lead off the fifth. Manuel Margot singled him in and hustled his way to second. That mattered, as he moved up on a groundout and scored on a single by Francisco Mejia. Singles by Yandy Diaz and Franco loaded the bases, and good hustle by Josh Lowe on a grounder to second prevented a double play, making it 3-0.
The Rays added a run in the seventh when Franco doubled in between three walks by Sox reliever Nick Pivetta.
Francisco Mejia also had a big day, with two hits and catching Alex Verdugo stealing in the eighth.