Red Sox beat Rays in 15 innings
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Boston Red Sox were determined not to let the New York Yankees gain ground on them in the American League East, even if it took 15 innings.
Deven Marrero had a two-run double as part of a seven-run outburst in the top of the 15th as the Red Sox posted a 13-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night at Tropicana Field.
Boston (84-63) maintained a three-game lead over the New York Yankees in the AL East. The Red Sox’s magic number to reach the postseason dropped to seven.
Tampa Bay (72-76) got tremendous individual efforts from Wilson Ramos and Kevin Kiermaier but has lost three of its past four games and remains 5 1/2 games behind the Minnesota Twins for the second AL wild card.
The Red Sox are now 13-3 in extra-inning games.
“We’re certainly comfortable, we don’t panic,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “There’s a relaxed attitude and energy in the dugout, knowing that someone’s going to step up big ... there’s something to be said for the confidence that comes from that. There’s certainly no panic.”
Jackie Bradley Jr. scored on an error by Rays second baseman Brad Miller to give Boston a 7-6 lead in the 15th. Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland added RBI singles to make it 9-6.
“We can say that we’ve been there,” Bradley Jr. said. “To play those long games, you become accustomed to it physically. We know that we can still battle back and get the job done.”
Bradley almost got the go-ahead hit during the Red Sox’s rally in the ninth, but Kiermaier robbed him of extra bases with a highlight-reel diving catch in the left-field gap.
“I knew Jackie hit it well and it was just one of those things where I needed to make that catch and I wanted to preserve the game,” Kiermaier said. “It was probably one of the better (catches) I’ve had.”
Brandon Workman (1-1) picked up the win for Boston. Austin Pruitt (7-5), the 11th of 12 pitchers used by the Rays, took the loss.
Adeiny Hechavarria had a home run for the Rays in the sixth inning, his seventh of the year, to put Tampa Bay ahead 4-2.
Ramos gave the Rays a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning with his second home run of the game, an opposing field shot to right off Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes.
The Red Sox rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth against Rays closer Alex Colome. Moreland led off the inning with a walk and scored on an error by Rays second baseman Danny Espinosa. Sandy Leon and Xander Bogaerts followed with RBI singles to tie the score at 5.
“Any time you’re up 5-2 going into the ninth with Alex you feel pretty good,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “(Colome) couldn’t find it. He couldn’t find the cutter. Spiking a lot of the cutters and kept trying to go to it, but it wasn’t there for him.”
Mookie Betts scored on an RBI single by Rafael Devers to give the Red Sox a 6-5 lead in the top of the 14th. But Kiermaier tied the score with a solo homer to right field in the bottom of the 14th.
Red Sox starter Chris Sale gave up four runs and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. He struck out nine batters but gave up two crucial home runs.
Ramos gave the Rays a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth with a two-run homer to right field off Sale.
“My fastball command was off, and I made some mistakes with home runs,” Sale said. “But it’s going to happen. It’s nice being able to sit here now after the fact.
“But winning this game, it boots the morale. It makes me not go home and stare at the ceiling.”
NOTES: The game had 37 strikeouts between the teams. Red Sox pitchers broke a club record wih 24. ... Red Sox SS Xander Bogaerts was hit by a pitch near his elbow by Rays RHP Matt Andriese. Bogaerts was examined by the team’s trainers and remained in the game. ... Rays RHP Jake Faria (left abdominal strain) was activated from 10-day disabled list. ...Red Sox 1B/DH Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) was out of the lineup and had an MRI that showed “nothing significant,” according to manager John Farrell. ... The Red Sox were fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball for “sending electronic communications from their video replay room to an athletic trainer in the dugout for the purpose of stealing signals.”