Wade Miley

Closing Time: Wade Miley, bullpen lead Red Sox past Rays

Rob Bradford
April 21, 2015 - 5:57 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Who knows if Wade Miley will be an ace, but Tuesday night he did what aces do. The Red Sox lefty went toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay's best starter, Chris Archer, and came out on top, leading the visitors to a 1-0 win over the Rays at Tropicana Field. Miley, who was coming off a horrific 2 1/3-inning, seven-run outing, didn't allow a single run in his 5 2/3 frames. The quick-working southpaw held the offensively-challenged Rays to three hits, striking out three and walking four. Miley has never lost an April road game, having now gone 3-0 with an 0.47 ERA (19 IP, ER) in three starts against the Rays. This time around, he threw first-pitch strikes t 18 of 22 batters. His counterpart, Archer, was just as tough, limiting the Red Sox to a lone unearned run. The righty fanned nine in just 5 2/3 innings, giving up seven hits, putting his ERA at 1.07 for the young season. The Red Sox only managed to put a dent in Archer's line thanks to some aggressive baserunning by Mookie Betts in the third inning. With one out and Betts at first with Ryan Hanigan 90 feet away at second, Dustin Pedroia grounded back to Archer for what looked like a sure-fire, inning-ending double play. But Betts slid hard into second baseman Ryan Brett, forcing the rookie's to throw errantly to first for the game's only run. "Just breaking up a double play," Betts said. "Talking to some of the guys, the little things we talk about, ways to affect the game in some way. That was my opportunity, nothing dirty, just going in to try and break up a double play." "The one thing our guys have done a great job at is doing just that, breaking up a double play," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We stress the importance of it, but he'€™s such an instinctual baserunner. He'€™s got good speed so he'€™s able to get down on the pivot man in good time. A good hard slide to give us the error at first base and another unearned run ends up being the difference in this one. So a good night on the basepaths." The Red Sox have scored 71 runs this year and 19 have been unearned (26.8 percent), with their opposition committing 21 errors. The last time the Red Sox won 1-0 courtesy an unearned run was April 21, 2005. The Sox also went 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position, marking the first time they went hitless in that many at-bats in such a situation and won since April 24, 2004. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. With the help of solid defense behind him, the lefty looked a whole lot more like the pitcher first time around the rotation than what the Red Sox got in his second start of the season. Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win: WHAT WENT RIGHT - Farrell played his cards right at one of the game's most important moments. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Sox manager chose to take Miley after 88 pitches, replacing him with Alexi Ogando. The Sox reliever came on and induced an inning-ending ground out to shortstop off the bat of Desmond Jennings, who came into the at-bat 0-for-7 against the righty. It was the first time this season Ogando hadn't let his inherited runners score, having been unsuccessful in his only other chance (with a pair scoring). "We like the matchup," said Farrell. "Alexi has had good success against him prior to tonight over the last couple of years. But in a key moment where we need strikes and we need to get an out, he came through and delivered." - Filling in at shortstop, Brock Holt impressed once again. This time the jack-of-all-positions dove behind the second base bag on Rene Rivera's grounder, sprung to his feet and got the baserunner at first to end the second inning. He added an even more spectacular play to finish off the seventh, diving into the third base hole to gather Asdrubal Cabrera's grounder before firing a strike to first baseman Daniel Nava. "I think I just felt more comfortable on the one to my right than the one to my l left," Holt said. "He didn'€™t hit it as hard up the middle so I didn'€™t know if I'€™d have time, I was going to flip it to Pedroia at second but didn'€™t think we'€™d get him so I want to first and Nava picked me up over there." "The thing that really has stood out the last year or so as we'€™ve gotten to the left side of the infield is his arm strength," Farrell said. "He pops up and makes good strong throws and we didn'€™t know how strong his arm was because he came to us primarily as a second baseman. Over the course of a couple of years he'€™s lengthened it out, he'€™s gained some arm strength and it shows up tonight." - The Red Sox seemingly got a break in the sixth inning when a 2-minute, 6-second challenge went their way when video evidence suggested it shouldn't. With one out and Brandon Guyer at first, Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval chose to get the force play at second on Steven Souza Jr.'s slow grounder. While it appeared as though Guyer narrowly beat the throw, the umpires upheld the original out call. - Miley managed his second pickoff of the season, ruining Brett's night further with the successful throw to first in the third. Making it an even worse night for the rookie infielder was the fact he partially dislocated his shoulder on the play. - The combination of Ogando, Robbie Ross Jr., Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara held Tampa Bay scoreless for the final 3 1/3 innings. "I'm feeling better, and the way I'm releasing it is probably the best that I've been able to do in the last couple of years," said Tazawa, who was singled out by Farrell after the game for integrating a newly-refined curveball. "I think they are, and Taz gives us the option depending where we are in the lineup to be in the seventh or eighth inning, probably against the meat of their order," said Farrell when asked about the relievers uncovering their responsibilities. "Like Ross against the opposite side, he does a great job against right-handers. But some of those roles are being a little more defined." - Hanley Ramirez's steal of second in the third inning was the Red Sox' 10th stolen base of the season. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first season Red Sox base runners have had 10 stolen bases before being caught since the caught stealing stat started being tracked in 1920. WHAT WENT WRONG - Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Holt were the only three members of the Red Sox lineup not to garner at least one hit. Ortiz did walk, while Holt added a sacrifice bunt in the ninth. - The Red Sox failed to capitalize on a threat in the ninth when they got Shane Victorino to third with one out after the outfielder's leadoff double and Holt's bunt. But Ryan Hanigan struck out against reliever Jose Dominguez, who then got Betts to fly out to left field.