The Boston Red Sox ended their brief trip to Tampa Bay on a high note.
The Sox trounced the Rays 8-2 at Tropicana Field on Wednesday night to complete a quick two-game sweep.
Rick Porcello turned in one of his best performances of the season, as the right-hander tossed six-plus innings, allowing just two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts.
Boston’s bats more than backed up Porcello, including a three-hit night from Andrew Benintendi and a 2-for-5 effort from Eduardo Nunez.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 65-59, while the Rays fall to 58-57.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Rays were flat-out atrocious on defense, as the Red Sox scored two runs via a wild pitch and another crossed the plate via past ball.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox exploded for five runs in the fifth inning. Porcello hasn’t gotten much run support from the offense this season, but he certainly made the most of it in the series finale.
ON THE MOUND
— It looked as though Porcello was in for a rough outing from the get-go. The right-hander allowed a one-out double to Brad Miller and then walked Evan Longoria. But after getting out of the first unharmed, Porcello went into total cruise control.
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner tossed four consecutive perfect frames, including an immaculate inning in the fifth, in which he struck out the side on nine pitches. But after four-plus innings of domination, the wheels began to fall off a little bit.
Adeiny Hechavarria spoiled Porcello’s shutout bid when he led off the sixth inning with a solo home run. Two batters later, Miller followed suit with a long ball of his own to trim Boston’s lead to four. Porcello would finish the sixth inning and come out for the seventh, but after allowing a single and a walk to start the frame, manager John Farrell pulled his starter.
— Matt Barnes followed Porcello and got the Red Sox out of the messy seventh inning unscathed.
— Brandon Workman tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
— Joe Kelly posted a scoreless ninth to lock down the victory.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— The Red Sox were pretty lucky to score their first run of the ballgame. With two outs in the third inning, Mitch Moreland laced a hard grounder down the first-base line, which looked to be the final out of the frame. But after first baseman Trevor Plouffe fielded the ball, Rays starter Jake Odorizzi wasn’t able to secure his toss, which allowed Benintendi to scamper home to give Boston an early lead.
— After knocking on the door in the previous four innings, the Red Sox’s offense finally erupted in the fifth. After Nunez and Benintendi led off the inning with singles, Mookie Betts brought home Boston’s second run with an RBI base knock.
Following a walk to Hanley Ramirez that loaded the bases, the Red Sox received some more luck when a passed ball allowed Benintendi to score and boost Boston’s lead to 3-0. Two batters later, it was déjà vu all over again when a wild pitch plated Betts for the Red Sox’s fourth run.
Boston wasn’t done, though, as Sandy Leon’s two-out single knocked in Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt to cap off the Red Sox’s five-run inning.
— Tampa Bay’s sloppy play continued in the eighth. Holt led off the inning with a double and was able to score on Leon’s ground ball after Plouffe committed another throwing error. And after being moved over to third on a Jackie Bradley Jr. ground out, Leon crossed the plate on a wild pitch from Sergio Romo.
TWEET OF THE DAY
The Red Sox were joined by a very special guest, who once threw a pretty iconic touchdown pass down in Florida.
After a day off Thursday, the Red Sox open up a three-game series in New York against the Yankees on Friday. Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to get the start for Boston and will be opposed by New York’s Jamie Garcia. First pitch from Yankee Stadium is set for 7:05 p.m. ET
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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