Bobby Dalbec led a late Red Sox rally, but it was too little and far too late against the first-place Tampa Bay Rays, who left Fenway Park on Tuesday with a 12-7 victory.
The Red Sox, who have dropped the three-game series, fell to 79-62 with the loss while Tampa Bay improved to 88-51.
You can check out the full box score here.
ONE BIG TAKEAWAY
Red Sox starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez was no match for the Rays offense, and unfortunately for Boston, the two pitchers who relieved him — Michael Feliz and Brad Peacock — weren’t much better. Tampa Bay finished the game with 12 runs on 14 hits including five home runs. The Rays peppered the Green Monster in left field with six additional extra-base hits. Rodriguez allowed one hard hit after another in his 3 2/3 innings on the mound. The left-hander gave up six runs on eight hits with three runs on four hits coming in the second inning alone.
Feliz relieved Rodriguez in the fourth inning and allowed two home runs with a pair of walks in 2 1/3 innings. And then it was Peacock, who took over in the sixth and went the rest of the way. The right-hander allowed four runs on three hits with another home run.
STARS OF THE GAME
— Nelson Cruz was an absolute monster Tuesday as the 41-year-old designated hitter smashed a pair of home runs and finished the game 4-for-5 with three runs and four RBIs. Cruz hit a two-run shot 410 feet to right-center in the third inning and then unleashed another blast 438 feet to left-center in the fifth.
— Rays catcher Mike Zunino was another who put together an exceptional showing as he hit a pair of home runs, as well. Zunino, who went 3-for-4 at the plate, concluded with four RBIs and two runs after his blasts came in the fourth and sixth frames.
— Dalbec replaced Rafael Devers at third base with the game decided, but proved there was plenty of time for him to continue his scorching hot stretch. Dalbec sent a breaking ball over the Green Monster in the eighth inning and then hit an absolute no-doubter 413 feet to deep, deep left field. It was Dalbec’s third multi-home run game of the campaign, and the Red Sox infielder now has 20 on the season. Dalbec finished the game 2-for-2 with four RBIs, despite the fact his first plate appearance came in the eighth.
If you placed a $100 bet that Cruz would hit a home run Tuesday night you’re walking away $300 richer as Tampa Bay’s designated hitter entered the night with 3-to-1 odds he would hit one out of the park, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
ON DECK AT NESN
The Red Sox may have lost the series to Tampa Bay with Tuesday’s defeat, but they still have a crucial game as they try to remain in the playoff picture at Fenway Park on Wednesday. The Red Sox-Rays series finale is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch it live on NESN.