For every issue the Boston Red Sox bullpen has faced over the last couple of weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays found a new way to inflict damage Monday.
With the Rays by a run entering the top of the ninth at Fenway Park on Labor Day, Austin Meadows led off the inning with a shot to straightaway center field which Alex Verdugo was unable to track down cleanly. Next thing you knew, Meadows was crossing home plate with an inside-the-park home run.
New Red Sox addition Jose Iglesias -- a shortstop, mind you -- tracked the ball down in deep center field after right fielder Hunter Renfroe failed to back up Verdugo's path to the wall. Iglesias struggled to pick up the ball right away, and a poor relay throw enabled Meadows to cross home plate and result in a blown save for Garrett Whitlock.
It was the 24th home run of the season for Meadows, a player with modest speed. He entered Monday's game with three stolen bases and two triples in 2021.
Boston went on to lose the game, 11-10, in extra innings to fall to 79-61 and nine games behind Tampa Bay in the American League East standings.