ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBI record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win
Ortiz's 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old's 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.
Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.
Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.
The Red Sox traded infielder Deven Marrero to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a player to be named or cash.
Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski made the announcement on Saturday.
Marrero, 27, was fighting for one of the final roster spots as a bench player, along with utility man Brock Holt. The first-round pick in 2012 out of Arizona State had spent his entire pro career with the Red Sox organization. He appeared in 109 major league games from 2015-17, making 50 starts at third base, nine at second base, and five at shortstop.
In 2017, the right-handed hitter played in a career-high 71 major league games, batting .211 with four home runs and 27 RBI.
Red Sox ace Chris Sale is expected to be able to make his Opening Day start after he was struck in the left leg by a line drive off the bat of the Houston Astros' J.D. Davis in the first inning on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla., and had to leave his final spring training start.
After being examined by team medical personnel on the field, Sale walked back to the dugout. He was taken for precautionary X-rays which showed no structural damage.
The Red Sox said Sale sustained a contusion on his left leg. "I don't see anything lingering from this. It looked a lot worse than it was," Sale told reporters. "It scared the hell out of me,”
Sale is scheduled to be the Red Sox Thursday in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla. Manager Alex Cora and Sale said he'd be OK to make the start.