ST. PETERSBURG, FL — The Rays took control of the American League East division Saturday night, with a 9-5 win over the Red Sox, who failed to cash in on several opportunities. Tampa Bay is now 0.5 games ahead of Boston.
Boston drew first blood in the top of the first, as J.D. Martinez plated Rafael Devers with an RBI single before Xander Bogaerts swatted a two-run homer over the centerfield wall to make it 3-2.
Tampa Bay would have an answer though, as Ji-Man Choi crushed a two-run homer in the bottom half of the first. The Rays would tie it in the third as after two fielding errors on routine ground balls by Jonathan Arauz, Brandon Lowe came in to score on his second error.
It would only get worse for Boston’s starter Nathan Eovaldi, as the righty served up a two-run blast to Francisco Mejia to put the Rays in front, 5-3, in the fourth. However, Bobby Dalbec would tie it in the fifth, as Dalbec crushed a two-run shot of his own to tie up at 5-5.
The Sox would leave the bases loaded in the sixth, as a pair of strikeouts from Christian Vazquez and Dalbec would retire the side. The Rays would regain the lead in the bottom of the sixth, as Alex Cora made a surprising decision in leaving Eovaldi in the ballgame.
The decision would be costly, as Eovaldi would summon an RBI triple off the bat of Wander Franco before Josh Taylor would come in for relief, and strand Franco on third as he got out of the inning.
The Sox would manage to get the bases loaded again in the seventh, but Hunter Renfroe would strikeout to retire the side.
Adam Ottavino had duties of the eighth, and he would give up an RBI single to make it 7-5. Newly acquired Austin Davis came in for relief but would give up a two-RBI single scoring both of the base-runners Ottavino let on in order to make it 9-5.
Boston would go scoreless in the ninth, as the Rays captured the 9-5 win.
(Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)