Rick Porcello continued Boston’s strong stretch of starting pitching with 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball and Xander Bogaerts hit a solo home run and had two RBIs as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Saturday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Porcello (1-0) allowed six hits and a walk while striking out four for the Red Sox, whose starters have given up only one run and struck out 18 batters over the first 18 1/3 innings in the first three games of the season.
Carlos Gomez hit a solo homer and Joey Wendle added an RBI for Tampa Bay, which was a come-from-behind, 6-4 winner in Thursday’s season opener against Boston but was defeated 1-0 in the second game of the series Friday night.
Bogaerts added an RBI double, his fifth of the year, and finished 3-for-4 to raise his early-season batting average to .667. Hanley Ramirez scored the Red Sox’s other run when Eduardo Nunez reached on a throwing error. J.D. Martinez went 2-for-4, his first hits as a Red Sox, with a run.
Andrew Kittredge (0-1) gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits and a walk and struck out one in his 3 1/3 innings for the Rays, who implemented their “bullpen day” plan for the first time this season as four relievers combined to pitch the game.
Bogaerts blasted his homer an estimated 392 feet to center field on a 3-1 pitch two batters into the second inning.
Ramirez scored on the throwing error with two outs in the fourth and Bogaerts stretched the lead to 3-0 when he doubled in Martinez with nobody out in the sixth.
Wendle’s sacrifice fly to left field with one out in the bottom of the sixth put the Rays on the board.
Gomez clocked a hanging curveball from Red Sox reliever Bobby Poyner, who was making his MLB debut, into the left field seats with one out in the eighth to bring the Rays within a run.
After relieving Poyner, Boston’s Carson Smith allowed a quick single but got a strikeout and a flyout to crush the threat.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save of the season.
Boston’s Hector Velazquez and Tampa Bay’s Jake Faria make their 2018 debuts on Sunday afternoon in the finale of the teams’ four-game, season-opening series.
—Field Level Media