Rays rally past Red Sox 8-4, extend lead in AL East

National Sports

BOSTON (AP)Tampa Bay’s Francisco Mejia singled with the bases loaded in the ninth, Boston’s Hunter Renfroe made a costly error on the play, and it helped the Rays rally past the Red Sox 8-4 on Tuesday night.

Tampa Bay’s lead in the AL East is now up to five games.

The Rays were 2 of 9 with runners in scoring position before Mejia, who entered the game as a defensive substitution in the seventh, delivered a single to right. The ball skipped past Renfroe for an error and that allowed all three runners to score, giving Tampa Bay a 7-4 lead.

The Rays added another run on Brandon Lowe’s single. Louis Head shut down Boston in order in the ninth to finish off the Red Sox, who lost for the 10th time in 12 games.

Lowe also homered for the Rays, who got a two-run double from pinch-hitter Ji-Man Choi to tie it at 4-all in the seventh after Boston had led 4-1. Andrew Kittredge (8-1) pitched two scoreless innings of relief for Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox blew a game they desperately needed, coming off a 2-8 road trip that started with a three-game sweep by the Rays at Tampa Bay. Matt Barnes (6-5) pitched the ninth for Boston and took his second straight loss.

Renfroe hit a three-run homer for Boston in the fourth and Rafael Devers led off the second with his 28th homer of the year.

Eduardo Rodriguez gave Boston a solid start, striking out eight over 5 1/3 innings. He allowed two runs on four hits and a walk, getting pulled in the sixth after Wander Franco’s RBI single scored Mike Zunino to pull the Rays within 4-2.

The only other run allowed by Rodriguez was Lowe’s 25th homer in the third.

Luis Patino pitched six innings for the Rays, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out seven.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rays: Reinstated outfield Randy Arozarena from the COVID-19 IL and had him batting leadoff. Arozarena drove the first pitch of the game for a single to center. … Tampa Bay also placed LHP Ryan Yarbrough on the COVID-19 IL and placed RHP DJ Johnson (right shoulder sprain) on the 10-day IL, retroactive to Monday. Manager Kevin Cash said Johnson could have a slight muscle tear and was getting second opinions. . RHP Nick Anderson (right elbow sprain) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Durham on Thursday after throwing some live batting practice Monday … After his pinch-hit double tied it in the seventh, Choi was immediately replaced by a pinch-runner because of soreness in his left hamstring.

Red Sox: OF/1B Kyle Schwarber (strained right hamstring, left groin soreness) has been working out and is getting closer to making his debut for Boston, but manager Alex Cora would not say when he hopes to have Schwarber added to the lineup. Schwarber was acquired from the Washington Nationals before the trade deadline and has yet to play for the Red Sox.

”He feels good,” Cora said. ”We’re feeling a lot better – much better today than actually over the weekend.”

Cora said LHP Chris Sale was still on track to rejoin the team and start Saturday against Baltimore. Sale is recovering from Tommy John surgery and has not pitched in the majors since Aug. 13, 2019.

UP NEXT

Rays: Tampa Bay hasn’t named a starter for Wednesday’s game. Cash said the could go with an ”opener” to pitch the first couple of innings, then turn it over to the bullpen, or possibly start LHP Josh Fleming (9-5, 4.12 ERA).

Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (9-7, 4.07) gets his first start since allowing a season-high seven runs over 4 2/3 innings Friday in a loss at Toronto. It was only the third time in 22 starts that Eovaldi failed to complete five innings.

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