BOSTON — The Rays stacked their lineup with eight right-handed hitters and one switch-hitter against soft-throwing lefty Rich Hill.
But no strategy was going to work against the 42-year-old on Saturday.
Hill left to a standing ovation. He tossed 7 scoreless innings, struck out 11, recorded 12 swings-and-misses and allowed just three hits and one walk.
The Red Sox won 5-1 over the Rays here at Fenway Park.
His 11 strikeouts were the most he has recorded in a game since punching out 13 while pitching for the Rays against the Royals on May 25, 2021.
Hill tossed a perfect 10-pitch first inning and a perfect nine-pitch second inning.
Yu Chang’s 74 mph infield single in the third inning and Randy Arozarena’s 87.4 mph single in the fourth were the only two hits he allowed in the first six innings. Isaac Paredes’ 98.6 mph single in the seventh was the only hard hit against Hill.
Hill topped out at 91.5 mph. His 28 four-seam fastballs averaged 89.4 mph, up from his 88.4 mph average in his first 18 starts, per Baseball Savant. He mixed in 22 curveballs, 21 cutters, 13 sliders, eight changeups, two sinkers and one slow curveball (66.9 mph), according to Baseball Savant.
Red Sox take 4-0 lead in first inning
The Red Sox jumped ahead 4-0 in the first inning when they sent all nine hitters to the plate against Jeffrey Springs who pitched for Boston in 2020.
The first three hitters reached. Tommy Pham singled. Alex Verdugo doubled. J.D. Martinez ripped a two-run single.
Bobby Dalbec also delivered a two-run single in the first inning.
Kiké Hernández’s 366-foot home run in the fourth put Boston ahead 5-0.