BOSTON — Rick Porcello only had to wait five extra days to pick up his 18th win.
The Red Sox right-hander limited the Tampa Bay Rays to three runs over seven innings Monday night, which proved to be more than enough cushion for Boston’s powerful offense in the club’s 9-4 victory at Fenway Park.
Porcello improved to a Major League Baseball-best 18-3 with the win, helping the Red Sox bounce back after a 1-4 skid.
Here’s how this one went down.
GAME IN A WORD
The Red Sox’s bats exploded for nine runs on 14 hits, and they could have scored even more, as Hanley Ramirez and Sandy Leon both were thrown out at home plate in the second inning.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Boston broke out for three runs in the fourth inning.
The Rays plated two runs in the third to tie the score early, but the home team responded in a big way, as Chris Young’s two-RBI single helped give the Red Sox a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
ON THE BUMP
— Porcello had a bit of a bumpy start but got stronger as his night went on.
The right-hander allowed four consecutive hits in the third inning to allow the first Rays run to score, then surrendered a leadoff double in the fifth to Corey Dickerson, who scored on a Logan Forsythe groundout to knot the game at 2-2.
Porcello was nails from that point on, however, striking out four of the last six batters he faced. The 27-year-old gave up three runs on six hits over seven innings while recording seven strikeouts and walking none. That was enough to improve Porcello to a perfect 13-0 at home this season.
— Clay Buchholz labored through the eighth inning, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while throwing 29 pitches. He also struck out a batter.
— Fernando Abad allowed one hit in an otherwise clean ninth inning.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Mookie Betts got things started in the second inning with home run No. 30, a monster solo shot to left field. Betts also roped an RBI double in the fifth and finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
— Young helped break the game open in the fourth with a two-RBI double down the left field line that scored Hanley Ramirez and Travis Shaw. Brock Holt then brought Young home with a clutch, two-out double.
— Holt had a huge night, going 3-for-5 with a pair of two-out RBI hits at the top of the Red Sox’s order.
— Shaw was right there with him. The third baseman broke out with a 3-for-4 effort that included a double, two runs scored and an RBI.
— David Ortiz ripped his Major League Baseball-leading 42nd double of the season in the fifth inning. His career high in a season is 52.
— Leon tacked on two more runs in the seventh with a double and went 2-for-4. Ramirez, who scored on Leon’s double, had a 2-for-4 night with two runs scored.
— Xander Bogaerts (0-for-5, two strikeouts) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (0-for-3, one walk, one strikeout) were the only Red Sox players without a hit.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Fenway Park organist Josh Kantor paid a special tribute to legendary actor Gene Wilder, who died Monday at the age of 83.
Left-hander Drew Pomeranz gets the start Tuesday for the middle game of Boston’s series with Tampa. The Rays will counter with right-hander Jake Odorizzi. First pitch at Fenway is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Mark L. Baer/USA TODAY Sports Images