ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP)—Tyler Walker surfed the Internet the past couple of days familiarizing himself with the roster of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He spent Friday night making a favorable impression on his new teammates.
The right-handed reliever earned his first American League save, coming on in the ninth inning to get a double-play grounder and a strikeout and close a 5-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Pretty impressive, especially considering Walker—obtained earlier in the day in a trade with the San Francisco Giants—arrived at Tropicana Field less than 45 minutes before game time following a cross country trip from California.
“It’s just been a whirlwind day. For it to end like this is beautiful,” said Walker, who was delayed two hours when he missed his plane connection in Denver. “I’m happy to be here, happy to be part of this team. It’s nice to be able to come in and produce on the first day.”
Fossum (1-1) limited the Red Sox to two singles and a triple that rightfielder Jonny Gomes lost in the lights, but he also walked five and hit two batters before a leadoff walk in the seventh ended his night.
Reliever Chad Orvella replaced Fossum and walked two to load the bases before getting Jason Varitek to pop out to end the inning. The Devil Rays lost the shutout bid in the eighth when Shawn Camp gave up an RBI double to Trot Nixon and a run-scoring single to pinch-hitter J.T. Snow.
Walker, who had 23 saves for the Giants last season, entered the game after Dan Miceli walked Manny Ramirez and Varitek to begin the ninth. He got Mike Lowell to ground into a double play and struck out Nixon to end the game.
In six appearances for the Giants this season, the right-hander was 0-1 with a 15.19 ERA.
“He walked in, I gave him the ball and I said the runners don’t count,” Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “He said something like: `Fine. Let’s go.’ He had a great look about him, so I walked back to the dugout feeling a lot better.”
Boston has been outscored 27-6 in losing three straight. The Red Sox were 0-for-12 with runners in scoring position before Nixon’s double, with Wily Mo Pena making the final out in those situations three times.
“We couldn’t cash in,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Wigginton delivered his two-run double off Matt Clement (2-2) in the first inning. Carl Crawford, Joey Gathright and Travis Lee also drove in runs off the Boston starter, who allowed five runs, five hits and six walks in six innings.
Fossum rebounded from giving up eight runs and 10 hits in four innings of an 8-3 loss to Texas last Sunday to pitch well against Boston for the second time this season. He worked into the seventh inning at Fenway Park on April 18, leaving with a 2-1 lead that the bullpen couldn’t hold in a 7-4 loss.
The left-hander worked out of jams with runners in scoring position in the first, second and fourth innings, with the Red Sox going 0-for-7 seven with runners in scoring position up to that point.
Fossum gave up a leadoff triple to Varitek in the second when Gomes lost a routine fly ball in the lights, but escaped when Lowell popped out to first, Nixon grounded to third and Pena struck out.
Pena also grounded into a force play to end the fourth after Fossum hit David Ortiz and Ramirez with pitches and walked Nixon to load the bases with two outs. Trailing 5-0, the Red Sox stranded runners at second and third in the sixth when Pena grounded to short.
In all, the Red Sox left 14 men on base and were 2-for-19 with runners in scoring position.
“This team can hit a lot better than we are right now, and I think we’re going to,” Varitek said. “I don’t know if it’s a cycle. I don’t know what you can call it. But I think this team can hit a lot better.”
The Devil Rays acquired Walker for right-hander Carlos Hines. … Varitek has nine career triples in 984 games. He now has one in each of the past seven seasons. … Wigginton’s 24 RBIs ties the Devil Rays’ franchise record for April. Fred McGriff also drove in 24 in April 1998. … Fossum has hit 33 batters with pitches since 2004, five this year.