Xander Bogaerts

Red Sox rally for seven runs in 15th to beat Rays, 13-6

red_sox_xander_bogaerts_091517.jpg

Red Sox rally for seven runs in 15th to beat Rays, 13-6

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Xander Bogaerts kept getting on base - for six hours.

It paid off in the 15th inning Friday night when the Boston shortstop contributed two hits in a seven-run inning that lifted the Red Sox to a 13-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

"The more you get on base, the more there's a possibility of you scoring, so just creating the opportunity is huge," said Bogaerts, who was hit by a pitch in the first inning and reached base five straight times from the ninth inning on.

By winning the 6-hour, 5-minute game, the Red Sox maintained their three-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. It was their 13th win in 16 extra-inning games this season.

"We can say that we've been there. To play those long games, you become accustomed to it physically," said Jackie Bradley Jr., who had two of Boston's 21 hits. "It stinks, but we know that we can still battle back and get the job done."

Austin Pruitt (7-5) walked Bradley to lead off the 15th. Bogaerts followed with a single, and Dustin Pedroia hit a ground ball that was misplayed by second baseman Brad Miller, allowing Bradley to score the lead run. Andrew Benintendi, Mitch Moreland, Deven Marrero and Bogaerts drove in extra runs for the Red Sox, who have won seven of nine.

Brandon Workman (1-1) got the win. Blaine Boyer, the 21st pitcher to appear in the game, pitched the 15th for Boston.

Nine Red Sox pitchers set a club record with 24 strikeouts.

Boston rallied for three runs in the ninth off closer Alex Colome to tie the game, a rally cut short by Kevin Kiermaier's diving catch of a line drive hit by Bradley with two men on. Kiermaier also leaped in front of the center-field wall to take an extra-base hit away from Betts leading off the 10th, and homered in the 14th to tie the game 6-6.

Colome blew a save for the first time since July 27.

"Anytime you're up 5-2 going into the ninth you feel pretty good," said Rays manager Kevin Cash. "(Colome) couldn't find it. He couldn't find the cutter. He kept trying to go to it but it wasn't there for him."

Wilson Ramos hit two home runs for the Rays, including a two-run shot off Chris Sale in the fourth. He added an opposite-field homer, his ninth of the season, off reliever Matt Barnes in the eighth to make it 5-2.

Adeiny Hechavarria also homered off Sale, his seventh of the season.

Sale gave up four runs, six hits and three walks while striking out nine in 5 2/3 innings.

"My fastball command was off and I made some mistakes with home runs, but it's going to happen," said Sale, who is 3-3 since the beginning of August after starting the season 13-4. "It's nice being able to sit here now after the fact, but winning this game boosts the morale. It makes me not go home and stare at the ceiling."

It was the first game at Tropicana Field since Hurricane Irma stormed through the Tampa Bay area late Sunday night. A three-game series scheduled earlier this week against the Yankees was moved to Citi Field in New York.

CASE CLOSED?

Dave Dombrowski, president of baseball operations for the Red Sox, said the fine levied on the club Friday for using electronic equipment to steal signs was "pretty much what we had thought," and said he hoped the matter was closed. "There won't be any internal fines," Dombrowski said. "The topic's been discussed internally and addressed, and I'm sure it will not happen again."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez missed a second straight game, and an MRI revealed "some signs of inflammation in the bicep area," according to manager John Farrell. ... INF Eduardo Nunez is showing encouraging signs while recovering from a knee injury and might return to the lineup during the current road trip.

Rays: RHP Jake Faria was activated after missing 25 games with a left abdominal strain. The rookie, who has started 13 games, will be in the bullpen until further notice.

UP NEXT

RHP Rick Porcello, who was 5-0 against the Rays on his way to winning the AL Cy Young Award last season, is 1-4 against them going into Saturday night's start.

RHP Alex Cobb, who won at Boston on Sunday, will pitch for Tampa Bay.

Drellich: Chris Sale's biggest start of the season is about his hitters, not him

red_sox_chris_sale_082417.jpg

Drellich: Chris Sale's biggest start of the season is about his hitters, not him

NEW YORK — Chris Sale will be making his biggest start since joining the Red Sox on Sunday, in the final scheduled game between the Yanks and Sox this season.

The spotlight will shine brighter on the hitters behind him.

Eduardo Nunez made his Red Sox debut on July 28. From that day through Saturday’s 5-1 Red Sox loss to the Yanks, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez are hitting a combined .225.

The Red Sox cannot continue to receive that level of production and expect good results. What’s really amazing is how well the team has played in spite of such numbers, in spite of the absences of key injured players.

MORE: Robby Scott, one year into the big leagues: 'Nothing’s going to stop me'

The Sox are 21-12 since Nunez arrived, with the third-best win percentage in baseball. (Some Saturday games were still underway at the time this was written.) Their 3.86 ERA was the eighth best in the majors.

The pitching’s excellence has been consistent most of the year. The questionable nature of the lineup has been as well. 

“Just kind of going along with the ride,” Betts said Saturday. “Just doing what I can to help the team win that’s all I’m focused on.”

Sox manager John Farrell said he hasn’t thought about a couple down days for Betts a la Bogaerts, namely because of how important Betts is even when not hitting well.

But Betts’ .313 slugging percentage since July 28, a 32-game stretch for him, is worse than all but 10 qualified players. 

Ramirez on Saturday had loud outs and has looked better of late. But the offense that powered the Sox in August could wind up looking like an outlier rather than a correction.

Rafael Devers’ growing pains have been realized, both at the plate and in the field. There’s no surprise there, because he’s a 20-year-old rookie.

Mitch Moreland didn’t help Devers on a throw to first base Saturday that was wide, yet not so wide that it needed to skip away. 

Devers had only himself to blame when he later took too long on a routine grounder from Brett Gardner, creating an infield hit.

“Yeah, he took his time,” manager John Farrell said. “Obviously, too much time. But I thought he was in good shape on the [wide] throw against [Gary] Sanchez and pulled it wide a little bit, and then took his time setting his feet against Gardner, and it cost him. These are key learning opportunities, learning moments, for him.”

Pennant races are an easier time to learn when there are others to lean on.

Nunez has eight home runs? How the heck did that happen? The surprise performances have come from all corners.

It’s very hard to be convinced they’ll continue.

Reality sets in. There’s a mean, a true ability and performance level, that typically shines through by the end of a season. That goes for both disappointing and bust-out performances, so you can find positivity in that thinking as well.

Bogaerts has been hurt, with a nagging right hand. Betts’ knee gave a scare in Cleveland, but there’s been no sense it’s holding him back at the plate.

Andrew Benintendi’s taken a step forward, hitting .322 since July 28. Bradley, fresh off the DL, has a .352 OBP in that stretch, so he has contributed as well.

But without Betts and Bogaerts close to form, the Red Sox offense is in an uncomfortable place. Others have picked up the slack, the pitchers included. But it’s a certain brand of optimism — more commonly called naivete — to think the Sox can find continued success with this formula.

August is gone. Now to find out if the offense is as well.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Slumping Xander Bogaerts gives way to Dustin Pedroia

red-sox-dustin-pedroia-072117.jpg

Slumping Xander Bogaerts gives way to Dustin Pedroia

NEW YORK — Dustin Pedroia’s return to the Red Sox on Friday had him at second base right away, rather than designated hitter. But his struggling double play partner, Xander Bogaerts, was the first to ride the bench as the Red Sox enter into a period of rotation among infielders (and the DH as well).

Bogaerts is slashing .198/.274/.305 since the start of July, bothered by his right hand after he was hit by a pitch there. It’s likely that Bogaerts is off on Saturday as well, manager John Farrell said.

“He’s out of the lineup tonight, trying to regroup here a little bit, get some additional work done,” Farrell said. “We know he’s been I think banged up a little bit and nicked up with some things physically and it’s, I think the combination of all of it … [coming] to a head here a little bit.

“There are times you probably, you see him shake the hand after a swing in which he’ll miss. When he makes square contact he doesn’t feel [the right hand pain]. But yeah there are some things he dealt with: the groin a while ago. We’ve given him days down to overcome some of those ailments, but knowing that the struggles offensively … felt like it’s time to back off him here for a bit.”

Pedroia’s usage will be staggered out of concern for his left knee, and Farrell’s already discussed that with Pedroia, who’s particularly unlikely to take himself out of the lineup.

“We’ve had a couple of sit downs in an early afternoon work session, so it wasn’t in the game, heat of the moment,” Farrell said. “So we’ve got some parameters in place with this and you love the fact that he feels good physically. That’s he most important thing. Yeah, he feels like and wants to go every day, but I think we’ve got to be prudent and take a, I think a calculated approach particularly to the early days of him getting back on the field. Those discussions have been had.

“If you see him come off the field tonight, before the ninth inning, know that that’s part of the plan.”

The decision to bat Pedroia fifth wasn’t made out of the blue.

“Had a couple of conversations with a few guys around that part of the lineup,” Farrell said. “Felt like, where we were at the top of the order, guys that are in the flow of the game more readily because of the timing, not dealing with the number of days missed by Pedey, but still, wanted to get him in a position where we feel like there’ll be guys on base when he comes to the plate. He’s had such a good year in terms of driving people in.”

 

Where's Brentz?

The 40-man roster appears to be the only thing keeping Bryce Brentz from a September call-up.

The 28-year-old outfielder has had a very good year at Triple-A Pawtucket. He entered Friday with a .273/.336/.531 line and 30 home runs. He’s been in the big leagues before but was taken off the 40-man roster, clearing waivers to go to the minor leagues earlier this year because he’s out of options.

But Brentz wasn’t part of the Red Sox’ first round of September call-ups Friday, which included Blake Swihart, Sam Travis, righty Austin Maddox and lefty Roenis Elias.

Farrell said the door hasn’t been closed on Brentz.

 

Price to try all his pitches

David Price threw 29 pitches off a mound on Friday in a session that Farrell spoke very highly of. He threw fastballs and changeups. The plan is to have him try all his pitches in his next session, which is expected Sunday or Monday.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE