BOSTON — On a night when the Red Sox celebrated a veteran’s milestone, the team’s young star emerged as the hero.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts rescued Boston in the eighth inning with an ultra-clutch, two-out grand slam that erased a two-run deficit and helped lift the Red Sox to an 8-7 win over the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park.
The Sox now have passed the Rays and moved into fourth place in the American League East.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox and Rays combined for 10 runs over a span of just two innings in the seventh and eighth, but Bogaerts got the last laugh. His grand slam put the Sox ahead for good and gave him five RBIs on the night, a career high.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Bogaerts blasted his first career grand slam.
The Sox trailed 6-4 in the eighth inning when the Red Sox shortstop launched Brandon Gomes’ offering into the Green Monster seats to put Boston back on top 8-6.
ON THE BUMP
— After a rough start, Eduardo Rodriguez turned in a pretty decent outing.
The rookie left-hander surrendered a hit to the first four Rays batters he faced — including a leadoff home run to Brandon Guyer on his second pitch of the night — to put Boston in an early 3-0 hole.
The rookie quickly settled down after that, though. He retired nine of the next 10 Tampa Bay batters and allowed just two more hits over the course of his outing.
Rodriguez was lifted after the sixth inning having allowed three runs on six hits while striking out four, walking one and hitting a batter.
— Heath Hembree entered in the top of the seventh and got into some trouble, loading the bases on a hit, a Xander Bogaerts error and an intentional walk.
— Tommy Layne replaced Hembree with two outs in the inning and got out of the jam, getting James Loney to ground out to first base on the first pitch he threw.
— Alexi Ogando relieved Layne with one out in the eighth, and things didn’t go so well.
Ogando gave up a walk, a single then a two-RBI double to Grady Sizemore that put the Rays ahead 5-5. He intentionally walked Evan Longoria before getting the hook without recording an out.
— Jean Machi came on and surrendered a sacrifice fly to Logan Forsythe but struck out Asdrubal Cabrera to escape the jam.
— Robbie Ross Jr. made things interesting in the ninth, allowing a solo homer to Richie Shaffer to cut Boston’s lead to 8-7. He was able to retire the next two batters to earn the save.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Chris Archer didn’t hit his target too often, but neither did the Red Sox in the game’s early stages.
Archer walked five batters and threw two wild pitches over five innings, but Boston collected just one run on three hits during that span.
— Travis Shaw notched the Sox’s first hit when he doubled down the right field line in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Brock Holt singled home Shaw two batters later for Boston’s first run.
— Boston’s offense finally woke up in the seventh inning.
Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia started things off with back-to-back singles, and Xander Bogaerts ripped a double off the Green Monster to score Betts.
Ortiz then hit a grounder that scored Pedroia to collect his 99th RBI, and Travis Shaw brought Bogaerts home on a sacrifice fly to put Boston ahead 4-3 at the time.
— The Sox broke through in the eighth.
After two strikeouts to start the inning, Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on a hit-by-pitch, and Betts and Pedroia singled to load the bases.
That set the stage for Bogaerts, who deposited one onto the Monster to put Boston ahead for good.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Is that good?
Rookie Henry Owens will get the start Tuesday night in the teams’ second contest of a four-game series at Fenway Park. He’ll be opposed by Rays left-hander Matt Moore. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images