Red Sox Wrap: Mike Napoli’s Big Homer Lifts Boston To 7-5 Win Over Rays

BOSTON — The intact Red Sox scored a victory.

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington didn’t pull off any major moves before Friday’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, saying that nothing compelling enough presented itself. Boston then went out and won a baseball game in rather dramatic fashion.

The Red Sox defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 7-5 in a back-and-forth affair at Fenway Park. Boston has won back-to-back games in the wake of losing three straight stomach-churners to the Chicago White Sox.

GAME IN A WORD
Valuable.

The Red Sox opted not to trade Mike Napoli before Friday’s trade deadline, but he still could be traded in August. The first baseman just would have to pass through waivers first, a likely scenario given the money remaining on his contract.

If Boston explores that option, Napoli’s value should only increase with each positive performance. And the slugger provided one Friday night when he launched a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.

IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Napoli dropped a two-run homer on top of the Green Monster.

Napoli’s home run was hit about eight miles into the air, but it just cleared the left field wall. It came moments after David Ortiz worked an 11-pitch walk against Jake McGee with two outs.

The Red Sox actually relinquished a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh inning. Napoli’s homer put Boston right back in front 6-5.

ON THE BUMP
— Eduardo Rodriguez lasted just five innings. He allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out four and walking four.

The left-hander finished OK after a shaky start, though the Rays made some hard contact in the fourth inning that went for naught. Rodriguez’s four walks marked a career-high.

— Alexi Ogando worked around a two-out single for a scoreless sixth inning. Ogando, who was a trade candidate leading up to the deadline, entered with a 7.36 ERA in nine July appearances.

— Ross Ross Jr. issued a one-out walk to Joey Butler and plunked Mikie Mahtook with two outs in the seventh inning, paving the way for John Jaso’s two-run double off Junichi Tazawa.

Jaso, pinch-hitting for Curt Casali, smoked a line drive over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head. Butler and Mahtook both scored, and Jaso coasted into third base after catcher Blake Swihart failed to corral the relay throw home. It was scored a double for Jaso and an error on Swihart.

— Tazawa also pitched the eighth inning. He induced a huge double play to preserve Boston’s lead.

— Koji Uehara earned his 23rd save with a scoreless ninth inning.

IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Alejandro De Aza, like Napoli, could be an August trade candidate. If so, he also boosted his value with a pair of RBI singles.

— Swihart delivered a two-run single into left field in the first inning. He also doubled in the eighth inning and scored on Brandon Gomes’ wild pitch to extend Boston’s lead to 7-5.

— Brock Holt had two hits atop the order.

— Rusney Castillo went 0-for-4, snapping a four-game hit streak to begin his return.

— Bradley went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He’s 1-for-10 since rejoining the Red Sox.

TWEET OF THE GAME
Someone believes. Do you?

UP NEXT
The Red Sox and Rays will continue their three-game series Saturday afternoon. Joe Kelly will square off with Matt Moore in a tilt scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.

Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images

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