ST. PETERSBURG (620 WDAE) -- Nathan Eovaldi pitched six innings of one-hit baseball, but the Tampa Bay Rays needed to survive a wild ninth inning in order to cap off a two-game sweep of the Washington Nationals with a 1-0 victory.
Tampa Bay got the only run of the contest in the bottom of the first inning, as Kevin Kiermaier singled off Max Scherzer on the right-hander's first pitch of the game. Matt Duffy then worked a ten-pitch at-bat before singling Kiermaier to third, and Jake Bauers grounded into a fielder's choice that allowed Kiermaier to come across the plate.
Scherzer would allow just two other hits in the game along with three walks, but took his fourth loss of the season.
Eovaldi retired the first nine batters in a row before hitting Adam Eaton with a pitch and walking Bryce Harper to begin the fourth. Harper would spoil Eovaldi's no-hit bid leading off the top of the sixth inning with a double that just missed going over the cutout down the left field line.
Diego Castillo worked a pair of scoreless innings of relief, but it was the top of the ninth that had people talking. Jose Alvarado began the inning by walking Harper, and manager Kevin Cash came out to make a defensive shuffle, bringing in Chaz Roe to pitch, moving Alvarado to first base, shifting Jake Bauers to left field, and Mallex Smith going to right field. The move paid off with Roe striking out Anthony Rendon, and Cash put Alvarado back on the mound, Bauers back at first and Smith in left, bringing Carlos Gomez to play right. The left-hander then walked Juan Soto and allowed a base hit to Daniel Murphy that loaded the bases. That forced Cash to bring in Sergio Romo, who got Trea Turner to pop out to shallow right, and Michael A. Taylor struck out to end the game.
After the game words were exchanged between Romo and the Nationals, causing the benches to clear.
"Everyone knows what that was about, even guys on their side," Romo said after the game. "Amongst all of that, I got told a couple things by guys that I know on that side, and they know I'm not that type of person. I'm not going to start something over nothing. I'm the smalles guy on the field, to be honest. But I will defend my team. I will put myself out there for this squad, this team, for the guys who strap on those spikes every day. I'm here for them. Just letting them know that we aren't going to be a team that you can pad stats on, that's pretty much it."
Tampa Bay Rays (39-40) vs. Houston Astros (52-28), 7:10 p.m. first pitch, with coverage on WDAE beginning at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch presented by Crown Eurocars.
Rays starter - TBD
Astros starter - TBA
Friday - Rays vs. Houston Astros, 7:10 p.m. first pitch
Saturday - Rays vs. Houston Astros, 4:10 p.m. first pitch
Sunday - Rays vs. Houston Astros, 1:10 p.m. first pitch