The Boston Red Sox have been a resilient ball club all season, and that trend continued Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Trailing the Tampa Bay Rays 5-2 in the ninth inning, the Red Sox rallied to tie the score en route to a 13-6 win in 15 innings.
Chris Sale had a below-average night for his standards. The left-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits to go along with nine strikeouts and three walks.
Boston’s bats got off to a slow start, but the offense came alive late as the team finished with 21 hits in the series opener.
With the win, the Red Sox improve to 84-63, while the Rays fall to 72-76.
GAME IN A WORD
Boston looked doomed for defeat as it faced Alex Colome — the Major League Baseball leader in saves — in the ninth inning. The Sox rallied, though, and hung on for a hard-fought win.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
The Red Sox exploded for seven runs in the top half of the 15th inning.
ON THE BUMP
— The Rays didn’t wait around to get things going against Sale, as Kevin Kiermaier led off the game with a single. After Kiermaier advanced on a fielder’s choice, Evan Longoria knocked in the Rays’ first run of the game with an RBI single. The left-hander walked two consecutive batters following Longoria’s knock but managed to get out of the inning with just the one run allowed.
After getting Peter Bourjos to pop out to lead off the second, Sale ripped off five consecutive strikeouts in overpowering fashion. Trouble arose in the fourth inning, though, as Wilson Ramos walloped a two-run homer to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 lead.
Sale responded with a clean fifth inning, but the Rays did more damage on the scoreboard in the sixth when Adeiny Hechavarria clobbered a solo shot to put Tampa Bay up 4-2. After Bourjos tripled with two outs in the frame, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to pull his starter.
— Austin Maddox notched the final out of the sixth inning. The right-hander stayed on for the seventh and tossed a scoreless inning.
— Matt Barnes came on in the eighth and allowed a solo homer to Ramos before being yanked with two outs in the frame.
— Fernando Abad gave up a single to Corey Dickerson but struck out Danny Espinosa to end the eighth inning.
— Craig Kimbrel struck out the side in order in the ninth inning.
— Addison Reed tossed a scoreless tenth, punctuating the frame with a strikeout to second baseman Brad Miller.
— Joe Kelly didn’t allow a hit over three innings of work from the 11th to the 13th inning.
— Brandon Workman allowed a game-tying home run to Kiermaier to lead off the 14th. The right-hander allowed two more runners to reach base before getting out of the inning.
— Blaine Boyer hurled a scoreless 15th inning with two strikeouts to preserve the comeback win.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Andrew Benintendi (2-for-8 with a run and two RBIs) drove in the Red Sox’s first run of the game with an RBI single in the first inning.
— Mitch Moreland (3-for-7 with three runs, two RBIs and a walk) gave Boston the lead in the fourth inning when he belted a solo home run.
— Moreland kicked off the ninth-inning rally with a walk and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. Rafael Devers (1-for-6 with two runs, two RBIs and two walks) followed with a routine grounder, but Rays second baseman Danny Espinosa botched it, allowing Moreland to score and Devers to reach second base.
— Christian Vazquez (1-for-1) followed with a pinch-hit single and promptly was pinch-run for by Rajai Davis. Sandy Leon (2-for-4) then plated Boston’s fourth run with an RBI single to left field.
— Jackie Bradley Jr. (2-for-6 with a run and a walk) appeared to have given the Red Sox the lead when he sent a booming shot to the left-center field gap, but Kiermaier robbed JBJ with a sensational diving catch. Xander Bogaerts (4-for-7 with two runs, two RBIs and a walk) would get the job done, though, lining an RBI single to even the score at 5-5.
— Boston broke the tie in the 14th. Mookie Betts (3-for-8 with a run) led off the inning with a single, followed by a base knock from Moreland. With a runner in scoring position, Devers laced an RBI single up the middle to give the Red Sox a 6-5 edge.
— The Sox kept things rolling in the 15th. After Bradley walked, Bogaerts followed with a single. With a runner in scoring position, Dustin Pedroia (0-for-9 with a run) lined a grounder that ate up Brad Miller, allowing Bradley to score the go-ahead run.
— The offense didn’t stop there, as Benintendi blooped an RBI single to push across Boston’s eighth run. Two batters later, Moreland roped an RBI single to make it 9-6. After Devers reached base via error, Deven Marrero (2-for-4 with a run) sliced a two-RBI double the opposite way to push Boston’s advantage to 12-6. A Bogaerts RBI single capped off the Red Sox’s seven-run inning.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Well, this is embarrassing.
The Red Sox and Rays will play the middle game of their three-game series Saturday night. Rick Porcello will get the ball for Boston and will be countered by Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb. First pitch from Tropicana Field is set for 6:10 p.m. ET
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images