Christian Vázquez walks it off for Red Sox in 6-4 win in 13 innings over Rays in Game 3 of ALDS

With both teams presented with the opportunity to go up a game on their opposition, the Red Sox and Rays partook in an instant October classic at Fenway Park in Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Sunday that spanned more than five hours.

In the process of making some more postseason history, Boston held on for a 6-4 walk-off victory in 13 innings over Tampa Bay on Sunday night. They now lead this best-of-five ALDS two-games-to-one.

Nathan Eovaldi, making his second October start for the Sox after dazzling in last Tuesday’s Wild Card Game, put together yet another strong outing to add to his impressive postseason resume.

Over five solid innings of work, the veteran right-hander allowed just two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and one walk to go along with eight strikeouts on the night.

Both runs Eovaldi surrendered to his former team came in the top half of the first, as he yielded a one-out single to Wander Franco before serving up a two-run home run to Austin Meadows on a first-pitch fastball.

While Eovaldi’s miscue put his side in an immediate 2-0 hole, a revamped Red Sox lineup was able to back their starter up.

Matched up against Rays right-hander Drew Rasmussen to begin things on Sunday, Kyle Schwarber instantly cut that two-run deficit in half. The left-handed hitter greeted Rasmussen in the bottom of the first by crushing a leadoff home run 390 feet over the Green Monster.

Schwarber’s second homer of the postseason made it a 2-1 game in favor of Tampa Bay, though the Boston bats struck once more two innings later.

On the heels of back-to-back singles from Christian Arroyo and Kyle Schwarber to lead off the latter half of the third, Enrique Hernandez stayed hot by lifting a game-tying, RBI single that brought in Arroyo.

Following a pitching change that saw left-hander Josh Fleming take over for Rasmussen, Rafael Devers broke the tie by plating Hernandez on a run-scoring single that left his bat at 104.9 mph and gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2.

Eovaldi, meanwhile, was in the midst of a dominat stretch at the time Devers made it a 3-2 contest. After giving up the homer to Meadows, the righty settled in by retiring 14 of the next 17 batters he faced. His day came to an end as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth, at which point he had thrown 85 pitches.

Of those 85 pitches (58 strikes) thrown by the 31-year-old hurler, 33 were four-seam fastballs, 23 were splitters, 19 were curveballs, six were sliders, and four were cutters. He topped out at 99.3 mph and averaged 96.9 mph with his heater.

After Hernandez tacked on additional run to his side’s lead and made it a 4-2 game by clubbing a 424-foot solo blast over the Monster off newly-inserted reliever Pete Fairbanks to lead off the bottom of the fifth, Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora to begin the sixth inning.

Taylor issued a single to Nelson Cruz in between getting the first two outs of the frame before making way for Ryan Brasier, who retired the dangerous Randy Arozarena to end the inning while also getting the first two outs of the seventh.

Austin Davis was then dispatched and ran into some trouble before getting through the seventh unscathed when he got Brandon Lowe to fly out to center field.

Heading into the eighth inning with a 4-2 advantage still in tact, Hansel Robles was next up out of the Boston bullpen. Robles, who last yielded a run in late August, was quite simply unable to hold the Rays down for long.

Wander Franco led the top of the eighth off by taking Robles 364 feet deep into the Monster seats to trim the Sox’ lead down to one run at 4-3. A double from Meadows and groundout from Cruz put the potential tying run at third base in the form of pinch-running Manuel Margot.

Robles did manage to keep Margot at third momentarily by punching out Yandy Diaz on a foul tip for the second out of the inning, but Arozarena — as he has had the tendency to do — did not let Robles escape easily.

On an 0-1, 92 mph slider on the outer half of the plate, Arozarena added on to his October legend by lacing a line-drive double to left-center field past an outstretched Hernandez that allowed Margot to easily score from third to knot things up at four runs apiece.

Robles, who was charged with the blown save, was immediately removed from the game due to a stomach illness — as he left the field with head trainer Brad Pearson — and was subsequently replaced by Garrett Whitlock.

Whitlock, in turn, stranded the runner he inherited by intentionally walking Kevin Kiermaier before striking out Mike Zunino to retire the side. The right-handed rookie also sat down all three batters he faced in the top of the ninth to hold the Rays at four runs.

The Red Sox, however, could not take advantage of this in their half of the ninth, meaning this contest headed into extra innings with a score of 4-4.

Nick Pivetta, in his first relief appearance since Game 1 of this series, gave up a single to the speedy Margot to lead off the top of the 10th. After he got both Cruz to Cruz to fly out, though, Christian Vazquez threw out Margot as he attempted to steal second base while Arozarena was at the plate.

Arroyo was able to keep his tag on Margot’s leg as he slid over the bag, resulting in a confirmed third out upon a brief replay review.

In the bottom of the 10th, with former Yankees closer David Robertson on the mound for Tampa Bay, Verdugo reached base via a one-out single to left field.

J.D. Martinez followed by barreling a 375-foot fly ball to deep center field, but it was one that was caught on the warning track by an awaiting Kiermaier. Hunter Renfroe then popped out to first base for the final out.

Pivetta, called upon again for the 11th, got himself in and out of trouble after issuing a leadoff walk to Arozarena. The righty allowed the speedy outfielder to advance to second on a stolen base that came after a strikeout, but followed by fanning both Zunino and Jordan Luplow to escape a potential jam.

That sequence paved the way for the Sox to finally break through in their half of the 11th, but they could not muster anything even after Arroyo ripped a one-out double down the left field line off of Robertson to put the winning run in scoring position.

Bobby Dalbec, who previously pinch-ran for Schwarber, whiffed on three straight strikes before Hernandez grounded out to Franco at shortstop to extinguish the threat.

In the 12th, Pivetta continued to impress, as the righty sat down the lone three batters he faced in the inning. With the chance to pick Pivetta up in the bottom half of the frame, though, the trio of Devers, Bogaerts and Verdugo saw a combined six pitches from Luis Patino in yet another 1-2-3 inning.

Back out once more for the 13th, Pivetta endured some late-game drama. With two outs and a runner at first, Kiermaier crushed a 381-foot flyball to right field that nearly left the yard. It instead bounced off the warning track and deflected off Renfroe before caroming into the Red Sox bullpen.

As a result, Kiermaier was rewarded with a ground-rule double, though he and the Rays thought it should have been ruled a triple that would have scored the go-ahead run.

Tampa Bay challenged the call and it was upheld, meaning Kiermaier had to stay at second base while the potential go-ahead run in Diaz remained in third.

Having yet to allow a run, Pivetta followed by fanning Zunino on four pitches to send this one to the bottom of the 13th still deadlocked at four runs each.

At long last, the Red Sox finally responded to Pivetta’s efforts while matched up against Patino.

Martinez flew out and Renfroe drew a six-pitch walk to set the stage for Vazquez, who originally replaced Kevin Plawecki back in the sixth inning.

On the very first pitch he saw from Patino, a 96 mph heater down the heart of the plate, Vazquez absolutely unloaded on it and sent it 394 feet into the first row of Green Monster seats to walk it off for the Red Sox.

With Vazquez’s walk-off two-home run to seal a 6-4 victory, the Red Sox are now just one win away from eliminating the Rays from playoff contention and advancing to the American League Championship Series.

All told, Pivetta tossed four innings of scoreless baseball in which he scattered three hits, struck out seven and walked one batter to pick up the winning decision on Sunday.

Next up: Rodriguez likely for Marathon Monday

Neither the Red Sox or Rays have yet to officially name a starter for Game 4 of this series on Monday, though Cora told reporters Sunday night that the responsibility would likely fall to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.

Monday will also mark the first running of the Boston Marathon since April 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so the Sox will have the chance to cap off a special day in the city by to closing out this series with their third straight win.

That being said, first pitch from Fenway Park Monday night is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. eastern time on FS1.

(Picture of Christian Vazquez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox crush 5 homers, collect 20 hits in 14-6 rout of Rays to even ALDS at 1-1

It was a back-and-forth kind of affair, but the Red Sox were once again able to battle their way back for a potentially pivotal win over the Rays in Game 2 of the American League Division Series.

Despite putting themselves in an early hole, Boston bested Tampa Bay by a final score of 14-6 at Tropicana Field on Friday night to even this best-of-five series at one game apiece.

Coming off a Game 1 showing in which they were shut out in a postseason game for the first time in five years, the Red Sox lineup jumped all over Rays rookie starter Shane Baz to begin things in Game 2.

Kyle Schwarber led off the top of the first inning by drawing a four-pitch walk before moving up to third base on a ground-ball double from Enrique Hernandez.

Rafael Devers struck out on five pitches for the first out of the fifth, but Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo each followed by getting their productive nights at the plate started with back-to-back run-scoring singles.

The first instance of the Bogaerts-Verdugo combination at work gave the Red Sox an immediate 2-0 lead as Chris Sale took the mound, though it did not last long.

Sale, like Eduardo Rodriguez before him, was not long for his first postseason start since 2018. That being the case because the veteran left-hander surrendered five runs — all of which were earned — on four hits and one walk to go along with two strikeouts on the night.

On his first two pitches of the first inning, the Rays put runners on first and second on a pair of quick singles. Sale then issued a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz to fill the bases before giving up an RBI single to Yandy Diaz.

Diaz’s base hit pushed across the Rays’ first run of the night while also re-filling the bases for Jordan Luplow, who was primarily in Tampa Bay’s lineup to face of against left-handed pitching.

Sale, in turn, proceeded to serve up a towering, 387-foot grand slam to the right-handed hitting Luplow that saw Boston’s 2-1 lead turn into a 5-2 defecit.

On the heels of giving up that impactful of a hit, Sale’s day was done as soon as he recorded the final out of the first inning. The 32-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 30 (20 strikes) and induced just three swings-and-misses in total.

Having to turn to his bullpen earlier than anticipated for the second straight day, Red Sox manager Alex Cora handed things over to Tanner Houck in the middle of the second inning, and that decision proved to be quite beneficial.

After Houck retired the side in order in the bottom of the second, the aforementioned Bogaerts-Verdugo combination struck again in the top of the third, as the All-Star shortstop clubbed a one-out solo shot to knock Baz out of the game while the fiery outfielder greeted new reliever Collin McHugh by crushing a home run of his own.

The back-to-back blasts off the bats of Bogaerts and Verdugo cut Tampa Bay’s deficit down to one run at 5-4. Houck, in return, kept the score just like that by putting up two more zeroes in the third and fourth innings.

In the top half of the fifth, Hernandez provided some power, as he led the frame off by taking McHugh 393 feet deep to left field on a hanging slider to pull his side back even with the opposition at 5-5.

Hernandez’s homer was only a precursor of what was to come in the fifth, though, with Devers and Bogaerts each reaching base before J.D. Martinez made his impact felt in his return to the lineup by tattooing a go-ahead, three-run home run over everything in center field.

Martinez’s three-run blast, which came off Matt Wisler and traveled 412 feet off his bat, broke a 5-5 stalemate and gave the Sox their first lead since the first inning at 8-5 going into the halfway point.

Houck, meanwhile, was in the process of stringing together an impressive run of his own. Going back to his final start of the regular season against the Nationals last Saturday, the righty sat down 29 straight hitters before allowing a two-out single to Wander Franco in the bottom of the fifth.

From there, Houck got through the fifth before serving up a solo shot to Ji-Man Choi an inning later, though he wrapped up his evening on a high note and — in the end — gave up just that one run while scattering two hits, zero walks, and five strikeouts in his five innings of relief.

Christian Vazquez, who had been catching Houck, got one of those runs back when he drove in Verdugo on a ground-ball RBI single in the top of the seventh before being behind the plate while Ryan Brasier punched out the side in the bottom half.

Devers, sore right arm and all, added on to Boston’s lead in the eighth inning when he — while matched up against Michael Wacha — scored Hernandez and demolished a 425-foot two-run home run over the center field wall.

The Red Sox went up 11-6 on Devers’ home run. It was also Boston’s fifth homer of the night, which sets a new franchise record for the most hit in a single postseason game.

Hansel Robles took over for Brasier and preserved an 11-6 lead with a scoreless bottom of the eighth, while Vazquez tacked on one more on another RBI single.

Hernandez, meanwhile, capped off his stellar night by putting the finishing touches on his first-ever five-hit game (in the regular and postseas0n). He plated both Hunter Renfroe and Vazquez on a two-run single that made it a 14-6 game.

Given a sizable cushion to work with now, Matt Barnes — who was just added to the ALDS roster in place of Garrett Richards on Friday — slammed the door on the Rays in the bottom half of the ninth to lock up a 14-6 victory.

With the win, the Red Sox pull even with the Rays in this best-of-five series and now have the opportunity to win it back at home.

Red Sox lineup breaks out in a tremendous way

Out of the No. 2 spot on Friday, Enrique Hernandez went 5-for-6 with three doubles, one home run, three RBI, and three runs scored. He becomes the first Red Sox player to ever record four extra-base hits in a postseason game.

Xander Bogaerts, Alex Verdugo, and J.D. Martinez (Boston’s Nos. 4, 5, and 6 hitters) went a combined 10-for-15 with one double, three home runs, seven RBI, and five runs scored.

Verdugo, starting in left field, also made a nice catch in foul territory to prevent Nelson Cruz from extending his at-bat against Tanner Houck in the sixth inning.

Houck earns win

Tanner Houck earned his first career postseason win in Friday’s win. He has essentially been lights out since the calendar flipped to October.

Next up: Eovaldi on tap for Game 3

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston, enjoy an off day on Saturday, then resume this ALDS with the Rays at Fenway Park on Sunday afternoon.

Right-hander Nathan Eovaldi is slated to get the ball for Boston in Game 3, while fellow righty Drew Rasmussen will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 4:07 p.m. eastern time on MLB Network.

(Picture of Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts: Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)

Xander Bogaerts and Kyle Schwarber both homer as Red Sox defeat Yankees, 6-2, in American League Wild Card Game

No J.D. Martinez? No problem. With their star slugger nursing an ankle sprain, the Red Sox took care of business against the Yankees on Tuesday night.

In the first-ever American League Wild Card Game to be played at Fenway Park, Boston held on for a 6-2 victory over New York to eliminate their division rivals from the postseason.

Matched up against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole to begin things on Tuesday, a Martinez-less Sox lineup got the scoring started right away — or with two outs in the bottom of the first inning to be more precise.

On the heels of a six-pitch walk drawn by Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts followed by taking Cole deep on a 2-1, 89 mph changeup that was grooved down the heart of the plate.

Bogaerts took that tantalizing pitch and crushed a two-run home run 427 feet to dead center field, giving the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 2-0 on his third career postseason homer.

Kyle Schwarber tacked on another run to Boston’s early lead two innings later, as he led off the bottom of the third with a 435-foot solo blast that left his bat at a scorching 110.3 mph.

Schwarber’s first October home run in a Red Sox uniform put his side up 3-0, and it also marked the end of the line for Cole after the righty put two more runners on in the third inning without recording an out.

Unlike Cole, Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi was locked in on Tuesday night. In what was his first postseason start in nearly three years, Eovaldi limited his former team in the Yankees to just one run on four hits and zero walks to go along with eight strikeouts over 5 1/3 strong innings of work.

The veteran right-hander kicked off his outing by retiring 16 of the first batters he faced, taking a shutout bid into the top of the sixth before the New York lineup flipped over for a third time.

After getting Rougned Odor (pinch-hitting for No. 9 hitter Andrew Velazquez) to punch out for the first out of the frame, Eovaldi served up a solo shot that wrapped around Pesky’s Pole in right field to Yankees leadoff man Anthony Rizzo, thus making it a 3-1 game. He then yielded an infield single to Aaron Judge to bring the tying run to the plate.

Taking no chances with the dangerous Giancarlo Stanton looming in the on-deck circle, Red Sox manager Alex Cora went to his bullpen right then and there, as he gave Eovaldi the hook in favor of Ryan Brasier.

Brasier, in turn, gave up a hard-hit, 114.9 mph single to Stanton that bounced off the Green Monster and was corralled by Enrique Hernandez in center field. Judge attempted to score all the way from first base on the play, but was instead thrown out at the plate after Hernandez threw the ball in to Bogaerts and Bogaerts gunned him down to complete the relay.

So, instead of having runners at second and third with one out, the Yankees had just one runner at second (Stanton moved up from first) with two outs. Brasier, in the process of officially closing the book on Eovaldi’s night, capitalized on that by getting Joey Gallo to pop out to retire the side in the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (54 strikes), Eovaldi turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Tuesday. Of the 35 four-seamers the 31-year-old hurler threw, six induced a swing-and-miss.

A half-inning later, the Red Sox got the lone run Eovaldi surrendered right back while Luis Severino was pitching for the Yankees.

With one out and a runner on first following a Bogaerts walk, Alex Verdugo came through with his first of two clutch hits on the night. He first drove in Bogaerts all the way from first on a line-drive RBI double to right field that gave Boston a 4-1 lead.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Tanner Houck, Verdugo delivered once more, this time coming up to the plate with two outs, the bases full, and the opportunity to put this one away.

On the second pitch he saw from Yankees reliever Chad Green, Verdugo did just that by drilling a two-run single back up the middle that brought in both Schwarber and Hernandez to make it a 6-1 contest in favor of Boston.

From there, Hansel Robles tossed a perfect inning of relief on the eighth to make way for Garrett Whitlock in the ninth.

Whitlock, despite giving up a solo homer to Stanton, somewhat fittingly closed the door on the Yankees’ season. The righty recorded the final three outs of the ninth to preserve a 6-2 Wild Card victory for the Sox.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox eliminate the Yankees, but they also advance to the American League Division Series. Boston will open a best-of-five series with the Rays at Tropicana Field on Thursday night.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Late rally lifts Red Sox to 5-3 victory over Nationals after Tanner Houck tosses 5 scoreless innings

It took nearly four hours to complete, but the Red Sox managed to hold off the Nationals on Saturday afternoon to ensure that their season will extend beyond Sunday one way or the other.

Powered by a four-run outburst in the ninth inning, Boston outlasted Washington by a final score of 5-3 at Nationals Park, marking their second straight win that tightens their grip on one of the two American League Wild Card spots.

The Sox did not announce a starter for Saturday’s contest until a few hours before first pitch, but who they ultimately rolled with — Tanner Houck — turned in quite the outing to put the finishing touches on his rookie season.

Houck, making his first start since September 17, twirled five perfect innings in which he kept the Nationals off the scoreboard while striking out eight and walking none in the process of retiring each of the first 15 batters he faced in order.

The right-hander got through those five flawless frames on just 53 pitches (39 strikes), but given the fact he had just thrown 41 pitches this past Tuesday, the 25-year-old’s day came to an end as soon as he recorded the final out of the fifth.

In the process of witnessing Houck put together a bid at a perfect game, the Red Sox got very little production out of their lineup while matched up against Nationals starter Josiah Gray.

Rafael Devers put Boston on the board by crushing his 36th home run of the season off Gray with two outs in the top of the fourth, but that was all they could push across while Houck was still on the mound.

In relief of Houck, Garrett Richards got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he saw the combined perfect game bid come to a close when he issued a two-out single to the pinch-hitting Gerardo Parra in an otherwise clean sixth inning.

Ryan Brasier, taking over for Richards in the seventh, got himself in and out of trouble, as he loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and a walk before emphatically punching out Jordy Mercer on five pitches to extinguish the threat.

Brasier, who completed his fourth straight scoreless appearance in as many days, celebrated getting out of the jam by pounding his chest, though the Sox lineup found themselves in a similar situation just a half-inning later.

After Enrique Hernandez, Kyle Schwarber, and Xander Bogaerts had each drawn a walk with two outs in the eighth, Devers had an opportunity to put this one way, but instead struck out against Nationals reliever Tanner Rainey.

With the score remaining at 1-0 in favor of Boston, Adam Ottavino appeared well on his way to recording the first two outs of the bottom of the eighth rather quickly. The veteran righty punched out Carter Kieboom on three straight strikes and proceeded to get Ryan Zimmerman to lift a 288-foot fly ball in the direction of center fielder Hunter Renfroe.

Renfroe, however, lost the ball in the sky, which allowed Zimmernan to reach base safely on a double that allowed the Nats to fill the bases when Ottavino yielded back-to-back walks to Lane Thomas and Alcides Escobar.

At that moment, the dangerous, left-handed hitting Juan Soto was looming in the on-deck circle for Washington, which prompted Cora to turn to the left-handed throwing Austin Davis out of the bullpen.

Davis got Soto to hit a 303-foot sacrifice fly to deep center field that brought in Zimmerman from third to tie things up at 1-1, but followed that up by getting Josh Bell to line out to shortstop to retire the side there.

Potentially down to their final three outs in the ninth, J.D. Martinez led the inning off by drawing a 10-pitch walk that put the go-ahead run on base.

Jose Iglesias took over for Martinez as the runner at first, and he came in to score all the way from first when Christian Vazquez unloaded on a first-pitch fastball from Rainey and laced a run-scoring single to deep right field.

Travis Shaw followed by plating Vazquez on an RBI single of his own, and the Red Sox had themselves a 3-1 lead just like that. Hernandez provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance when he greeted new Nationals reliever Mason Thompson by clubbing a 401-foot tow-run shot to left-center field.

Hernandez’s 20th home run of the year gave Boston a commanding 5-1 lead going into the bottom half of the ninth. And although Davis gave two of those runs back on a two-run homer off the bat of Andrew Stevenson, Hansel Robles took over from there.

Robles worked his way around a two-out walk in relief of Davis and ultimately slammed the door on the Nationals to secure the 5-3 victory for the Sox as well as notch his 14th save of the season.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox improve to 91-70 on the season, they also move into a tie with the Yankees, who lost on Saturday, for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Additionally, Boston remains one game ahead of the Blue Jays, who also won on Saturday, while remaining one game up on the Mariners, who defeated the Angels on Saturday.

That being said, the Sox have ensured that they will be playing beyond Sunday’s series finale regardless of who wins and loses elsewhere. Whether their first action after Sunday comes in the form of a tiebreaker on Monday or the American League Wild Card game on Tuesday has yet to be determined.

Next up: Sale vs. Adon in regular season finale

While their plans could change, the Red Sox — at the moment — are slated to give the ball to ace left-hander Chris Sale in Sunday’s finale against the Nationals.

The Nationals in turn, will have right-handed pitching prospect Joan Adon make his major-league debut and close out their season.

First pitch Sunday is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec and Enrique Hernandez: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

J.D. Martinez homers, drives in 3 runs as Red Sox bounce back with 6-0 victory over Orioles

The Red Sox put their four-game losing streak in the rearview mirror and bounced back with a 6-0 shutout victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards on Wednesday.

J.D. Martinez came into play Wednesday having gone 4-for-20 (.200) at the plate over his last six games, but quickly made up for that while going up against Baltimore starter Zac Lowther.

In his first plate appearance of the night with one out in the top half of the second inning, Martinez took a 2-1, 85 mph changeup down the heart of the plate from Lowther and deposited it a whopping 444 feet off the batter’s eye in deep center field.

Martinez’s 28th home run of the season — a solo shot that left his bat at a scorching 109.6 mph — gave Boston an early 1-0 lead, though the slugger was not done there.

Fast forward all the way to the sixth, with reliever Eric Hanhold now in the game for the O’s, and Martinez took advantage of one crucial mistake from the opposition.

After Rafael Devers led off the inning off Lowther with a broken-bat single, Xander Bogaerts proceeded to greet Hanhold by ripping a groundball in the direction of third baseman Kelvin Gutierrez.

It looked as though the Sox were about to ground into yet another double play, but Bogaerts’ grounder deflected off Gutierrez’s glove and rolled into foul territory, thus allowing both runners to reach base safely.

Rather than coming to the plate with two outs and nobody on, Martinez had no outs and two runners on, and he capitalized on that by plating both Devers and Bogaerts on a two-run double down the left field line.

That sequence put Boston up 3-0 over Baltimore at a point in which Nathan Eovaldi had been dominating.

Eovaldi, making his 32nd start of the season for the Red Sox, was coming off his worst outing of the year in his last time out against the Yankees, but looked much more in command this time around.

Through his first five innings of work, the veteran right-hander retired 15 of the first 18 batters he faced while facing no more than four hitters in a single frame.

After being given a three-run cushion going into the middle of the sixth, Eovaldi did run into a bit of trouble when he issued a leadoff double to Cedric Mullins that was followed by a seven-pitch walk of Ryan Mountcastle.

Despite allowing the tying run to come to the plate with no outs, Eovaldi managed to escape the jam he created by getting Austin Hays to fly out, Trey Mancini to punch out, and Pedro Severino to fly out for the third and final out of the inning that ended his evening on a more positive note.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 90 (62 strikes), the 31-year-old hurler wound up stringing together six scoreless innings while scattering just four hits and one walk to go along with seven strikeouts on the night. He also lowered his ERA on the season down to 3.75 while picking up his 11th win of the year.

In relief of Eovaldi, Ryan Brasier got the first call from Red Sox manager Alex Cora out of the Boston bullpen, and he promptly worked his way around a leadoff walk in an otherwise perfect bottom half of the seventh.

In the eighth, while matched up against former Boston minor-leaguer Konner Wade, back-to-back one-out singles from Bogaerts and Martinez — followed by a two-out walk drawn by the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw — filled the bases for Alex Verdugo.

Verdugo came through in that spot by providing some much-needed insurance, as he slapped a two-run single to the opposite field that brought in Bogaerts and Martinez to make it a 5-0 game in favor of the Sox.

Though Shaw was tagged out between second and third base to end the inning, the Red Sox bullpen took care of things from there.

Hansel Robles tossed a 1-2-3 frame in the bottom half of the eighth, while Hunter Renfroe extended his hitting streak to 10 straight games by clubbing a solo shot off Spenser Watkins with two outs in the top half of the ninth.

Renfroe’s 30th big fly of 2021 gave Boston a commanding six-run advantage, allowing Matt Barnes to preserve a 6-0 shutout victory by slamming the door on Baltimore in the bottom of the ninth.

With the win, not only do the Red Sox snap their four-game skid to improve to 89-69 on the season, they also move back to within a game of the Yankees — who fell to the Blue Jays on Wednesday — for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Wells

The Red Sox will send right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound as they go for the series victory over the last-place Orioles on Thursday night. The O’s will counter with another left-hander in Alexander Wells.

First pitch Thursday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of J.D. Martinez: Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec sits, Kyle Schwarber starts at first base as Chris Sale, Red Sox look to complete sweep of Mets

Bobby Dalbec is not in the Red Sox’ starting lineup for their series finale against the Mets at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.

Despite slashing a scorching .368/.500/.842 with two home runs and five RBI over his last six games, Dalbec will sit in favor of Kyle Schwarber, who will get the start at first base as the Sox go up against Mets starter Taijuan Walker.

Walker, who did not pitch against Boston the last time these two teams matched up in April, was named an All-Star for the first time in his big-league career earlier this summer.

Since the All-Star break, though, the 29-year-old right-hander has struggled to the tune of a 7.04 ERA and 6.87 FIP over his last 11 starts and 55 innings pitched dating back to July 18. He does however own a lifetime 1.69 ERA in two career starts (10 2/3 innings) at Fenway Park.

In his career against Walker, Schwarber has fared quite well, going 3-for-8 (.375) with three home runs and a walk off the righty. Between the Nationals and Red Sox this season, the 28-year-old left-handed hitter has slashed .257/.352/.605 (149 wRC+) against right-handed pitchers.

Schwarber will be batting second in Boston’s lineup behind leadoff man Enrique Hernandez, who has reached base in each of his last four games and will be starting in center field on Wednesday. They will be followed by Xander Bogaerts at shortstop, Rafael Devers at third base, and J.D. Martinez at designated hitter.

Martinez, like Schwarber, has also got the best of Walker, as he is a lifetime .546 (6-for-11) off him.

Rounding out Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup is Alex Verdugo in left field, Hunter Renfroe making his return in right field, Christian Vazquez behind the plate, and Jose Iglesias — who has three hits in eight career plate appearances against Walker — at second base.

Vazquez will be catching ace left-hander Chris Sale, who will be making his seventh start of the season for the Sox. The 32-year-old hurler last pitched on September 17, meaning he will be working on regular rest in just his second start back from the COVID-19 related injured list.

Since making his 2021 debut after returning from Tommy John surgery last month, Sale has put up a 2.40 ERA and 4.26 FIP to go along with 31 strikeouts to six walks in exactly 30 innings of work thus far. He owns a career 2.45 ERA in two prior outings against the Mets.

The Red Sox (87-65) on Wednesday will be going for the quick two-game sweep of the Mets while also extending their winning streak to seven consecutive games. They currently hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Blue Jays (85-66) for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Boston will also be wearing their City Connect uniforms once again, for what it’s worth.

Taking that point into consideration, first pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and ESPN.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox break out for 6 runs in 10th inning to run away with 9-4 victory over Mariners in extras

It took nearly four hours to see it through, but the Red Sox were able to cap off their road trip in style with a hard-fought victory over the Mariners in extra innings on Wednesday (Roberto Clemente Day) afternoon.

Boston broke out for six runs in the 10th inning to top Seattle by a final score of 9-4, marking their second straight win and their third in their last five games.

Matched up against Mariners starter Marco Gonzales to begin things on Wednesday, the Sox struck early and often to jump out to an early 3-0 lead.

Right out of the gate, Hunter Renfroe crushed a 414-foot solo shot — his 28th home run of the season — off Gonzales in the top half of the first inning. In the second, Kyle Schwarber drew a one-out walk and Bobby Dalbec followed by drilling a ground-rule double to left-center field, paving the way for Kevin Plawecki to drive in a run on an RBI groundout.

Having moved up to third on that play, Dalbec scored on an RBI double off the bat of a seemingly red-hot Jose Iglesias to put Boston up by three.

To that point, Tanner Houck — making his 12th start of the year — had been cruising along for the Red Sox, taking a no-hitter into the third inning before giving up a one-out single to fellow rookie Jarred Kelenic.

Houck proceeded to yield another single to Tom Murphy that should have put runners at the corners, but instead scored a run and put a runner at second base when Hunter Renfroe attempted to gun down Kelenic at third, though his throw eluded Rafael Devers and wound up going out of play.

Kelenic was able to score as a result of Renfroe’s miscue, while Houck walked J.P. Crawford on four pitches, spiked a wild pitch into the dirt that put runners at second and third. The right-hander did get the second out of the third, but could not end it before serving up a two-run double down the left field line to Kyle Seager.

The momentum had shifted going into the fourth with the Mariners battling back to knot things up at three runs apiece. Houck, however, rebounded by punching out the side in the bottom half of the fourth before falling victim to Kelenic once again in the fifth.

The Mariners outfielder led off the fifth inning with a single back up the middle and proceeded to steal second base to put the potential go-ahead run in scoring position. Houck then fanned Tom Murphy for the first out of the frame, and that is when his day came to a close with the Seattle lineup turning back over.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 71 (45 strikes), the 25-year-old wrapped up his outing having allowed three runs — all earned — on four hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts over 4 1/3 innings of work.

Josh Taylor got the first call out of the bullpen from Red Sox manager Alex Cora, and the left-hander officially closed the book on Houck’s start by stranding the lone runner he inherited while recording the last two outs of the fifth.

Garrett Richards took over for Taylor in the sixth and worked his way around a leadoff single by inducing a 6-5-3 double play and getting a strikeout. The veteran righty was nearly rewarded for his effort a half inning later when a walk from Dalbec and two-out single from Iglesias put runners at the corners.

Alex Verdugo came off the bench to pinch-hit for Enrique Hernandez in that spot against right-handed Mariners reliever Paul Sewald and proceeded to lace a 102 mph line drive to left field.

Verdugo’s screamer, which had an expected batting average of .850, was caught by M’s left fielder Luke Fraley, however, and that kept things tied up at 3-3.

Richards, again, faced the minimum three batters in the seventh with the help of a smooth, inning-ending double play started by Iglesias.

After both Devers and J.D. Martinez reached base with two outs off Sewald in the eighth, Schwarber had an opportunity to replicate his late-game heroics from the night before, but flew out to center field to strand the pair of runners.

In the bottom half of the inning, Austin Davis got the first two outs despite Mitch Haniger reaching base on a throwing error committed by Devers, but Adam Ottavino was able work around that by fanning Ty France on three straight strikes.

With former Rays reliever Diego Castillo entering this game for the Mariners in the ninth, neither Dalbec, Christian Vazquez (pinch-hitting for Plawecki), nor Travis Shaw (pinch-hitting for Iglesias) mounted anything resembling a rally, as they were sat down in order.

Ottavino, having needed just three pitches to finish off the eighth, came back out for the ninth. He got the first two outs of the inning rather easily before plunking the pinch-hitting Jake Bauers in the leg. Bauers then stole second base while Kelenic was at the plate, but Ottavino left him there by fanning the top prospect to send this one to extras.

Before Ottavino came through when it mattered most, Jack Lopez had taken over for Shaw at second base. And since Shaw recorded the final out of the ninth, that meant Lopez started the 10th inning as the runner at second base.

With Erik Swanson now on the mound for Seattle, Boston got an immediate boost when Verdugo sliced a single to shallow left field. Lopez, who advanced up to third on Verdugo’s base hit, proceeded to score from there on a passed ball — giving the Red Sox their first lead since the second inning at 4-3.

A walk drawn by Renfroe and bloop single from Bogaerts filled the bases with one out for Martinez, who greeted new Mariners reliever Justus Sheffield by ripping a 107 mph RBI single to the left side of the infield that deflected off Crawford’s glove and brought in Renfroe from third.

That made it a 5-3 contest, but the Sox were not done there, as Schwarber provided some much-needed insurance by lining a two-run single to right field that plated both Bogaerts and Devers and opened up a 7-3 lead for his side.

Vazquez pushed across two more on a two-run, bases-loaded double down the right field line, thus capping off a six-run inning in which Boston sent 10 batters to the plate to give themselves a commanding 9-3 advantage.

Martin Perez was dispatched in the bottom half of the 10th. The left-hander, making his first appearance since being activated from the COVID-19 related injured list on Tuesday, did just that.

Perez did allow one unearned run, but ultimately slammed the door on the Mariners to preserve a 9-4 victory for the Sox.

With the win, the Red Sox secure their first series victory in Seattle since 2013 to finish off a 3-3 road trip and improve to 83-65 on the season. They also remain tied with the Blue Jays for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Welcoming in the Orioles to kick off the final homestand of 2021

The Red Sox will board a flight to Boston and enjoy a well-deserved off day on Thursday before opening up a three-game weekend series against the lowly Orioles at Fenway Park on Friday night.

Neither team has yet to name a starter for Friday’s series opener, but Boston is expected to activate ace left-hander Chris Sale from the COVID-19 related injured list — meaning that responsibility would fall to him.

Friday’s contest against the O’s will mark the beginning of the Sox’ final (eight-game) homestand of the season. First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber: Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec homers once again, but Red Sox fall short, 4-3, in series opener against White Sox

On a night where the two teams directly behind them in the American League Wild Card race both lost, the Red Sox were unable to take advantage of the opportunity in front of them and instead dropped their series opener to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Boston fell to Chicago by a final score of 4-3 on Friday night, marking their fourth loss in their five games.

Tanner Houck, making his 11th start and 13th overall appearance of the season for the Sox, was quite simply not as sharp as he was in his last time out.

Coming off an outing in which he tossed five scoreless innings where he walked none and struck out seven against the Indians last Saturday, Houck’s command of the strike zone was not as sharp on Friday.

Over just 3 2/3 innings of work, the right-hander surrendered four runs — three of which were earned — on four hits, three walks, and one hit batsman to go along with one strikeout on the night.

After maneuvering his way around a walk in the first and putting up a 1-2-3 second, Houck ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third, where he was just one out — and one pitch — away from escaping a jam with runners at first and second base.

Rather than getting out of the jam, though, Houck served up a 378-foot three-run home run to the vaunted Jose Abreu off a hanging, 0-2 slider on the outer half of the plate.

Houck’s struggles did not end there, as he issued a two-out single to Eloy Jimenez before plunking Yasmani Grandal to put runners at first and second once more, but got out of the inning when Christian Vazquez gunned down Jimenez at second base for the final out.

Still, even after running into an out, the White Sox added on to their three-run lead in the fourth, with Gavin Sheets leading off by reaching first base on a Jose Iglesias fielding error while playing in the shift, moving up to second on a six-pitch walk of Brian Goodwin, and up to third on a Cesar Hernandez groundout.

Once again, Houck was just one out from getting through four full frames, but instead allowed that runner from third to score on an RBI single off the bat of Luis Robert that gave Chicago a 4-0 lead and marked the end of the line for the rookie righty as he got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 70 (39 strikes), the 25-year-old hurler was ultimately hit with his fourth loss of the year while raising his ERA on the season to 3.54.

In relief of Houck, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez got the first call from Cora out of the Boston bullpen in order to face the switch-hitting Yoan Moncada from the right side of the plate.

Hernandez, in his first appearance since late July after being reinstated from the 10-day injured list on Friday, beaned Moncada to load the bases, but rebounded by getting Abreu to ground out to retire the side.

To that point in the contest, a J.D. Martinez-less Red Sox lineup had been held in check by White Sox All-Star starter Carlos Rodon. Bobby Dalbec, though, had other plans to lead off the top half of the fifth, as he stayed hot by crushing a 414-foot solo shot to deep left field.

Dalbec’s 21st home run of 2021 got the Sox on the board to make it a 3-1 game, but Rodon rallied by sitting down the final three batters he faced while former Red Sox prospect Michael Kopech got the first two outs of the sixth before running into some trouble himself.

Having seen Enrique Hernandez and Kyle Schwarber both punch out ahead of him, Hunter Renfroe changed the tone by drawing a five-pitch walk off Kopech and promptly moved up to second on a hard-hit single off the bat of Xander Bogaerts.

That brought Rafael Devers to the plate representing the tying run, and he — now matched up against left-handed reliever Aaron Bummer — could only manage a sharply-hit, inning-ending groundout that stranded yet another runner in scoring position.

Following scoreless innings of relief from Hernandez (in the fifth) and Michael Feliz (in the sixth), Dalbec again proved to be an offensive catalyst in his side’s half of the seventh.

With Ryan Tepera on the mound for Chicago, Dalbec lifted a leadoff triple just out of the reach of Goodwin in right field and quickly scored on an RBI groundout courtesy of Vazquez.

Danny Santana followed by ripping a single to right field and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch from Tepera.

Alex Verdugo, coming off the bench to pinch-hit for Jose Iglesias in that spot, brought in Santana from second by lifting a 196-foot run-scoring single to left field.

That cut Boston’s deficit down to one run at 4-3, but they were unable to push across another runner in that particular inning.

After Adam Ottavino danced his way around a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh, former Red Sox closer and current White Sox reliever Craig Kimbrel countered by stranding a runner of his own in the top of the eighth.

Ryan Brasier, who took over for Ottavino, put two of the four batters he faced on base, while Josh Taylor came in and plunked Moncada to load the bases with two outs.

Taylor did manage to strand the bases loaded by fanning Abreu to keep it at a one-run game going into the ninth, where the bottom of the Boston lineup would be squaring up against another All-Star in Liam Hendriks.

Vazquez led off the ninth with an infield single and moved up to second on a groundout from Santana.

With the potential tying run in scoring position, Verdugo grounded out sharply to shortstop for the second out of the inning, while Travis Shaw — pinch-hitting for Hernandez — flew out to center field for the third out, meaning 4-3 would go on to be Friday’s final score.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 80-63 on the season as their lead over the Yankees for the first American League Wild Card spot remains at one full game.

Next up: Seabold(?) vs. Cease

The Red Sox have yet to officially name a starter for the middle game of this three-game set on Saturday, though it seems likely that that responsibility will fall to right-handed pitching prospect Connor Seabold, who traveled with the club to Chicago as part of their taxi squad.

The White Sox, meanwhile, will turn to fellow right-hander Dylan Cease as they look to secure a series win.

First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Bobby Dalbec: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)

Bobby Dalbec homers twice, but Red Sox unable to recover from early pitching woes in 12-7 loss to Rays

If the Red Sox were looking to bounce back and get back on track coming one of their more humiliating losses of the season on Monday, they may have just about done the exact opposite of that against the Rays at Fenway Park on Tuesday night.

Boston fell to Tampa Bay, 12-7, marking their third consecutive loss coming off a four-game winning streak that now seems long forgotten.

Eduardo Rodriguez, making his 27th start of the season for the Sox, was unable to carry over any momentum from his last time out against the Rays last week, which he described as his “best start” of the year.

That being the case because Rodriguez surrendered six runs — all of which were earned — on eight hits and zero walks to go along with three strikeouts over just 3 2/3 innings of work.

The left-hander began his nigh on a positive note by retiring the side in order in the first, but ran into trouble an inning later when he yielded a one-out double to Jordan Luplow that Alex Verdugo was unable to come up with in left field.

Former Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot followed with a double of his own, as he swapped places with Luplow to give the Rays an early 1-0 lead.

A groundball single from Joey Wendle put runners at the corners for Mike Zunino, who got his productive evening at the plate started by ripping a two-run triple to right field that nearly landed in foul territory, but instead landed just short of the fence by Pesky’s pole, hit the chalk, and proceeded to roll away from Hunter Renfroe.

Renfroe, thinking the ball was foul, did not react immediately, allowing both Margot and Wendle to score while Zunino collected just his second triple of the year, though he was promptly picked off by Christian Vazquez before Kevin Kiermaier struck out to end the inning.

The Red Sox lineup, matched up against Rays starter Drew Rasmussen, got one of those three runs back in their half of the second, but could have easily gotten more.

Following a leadoff single from Rafael Devers and 113.2 mph double from Renfroe that put runners at second and third with no outs, Alex Verdugo punched out on three straight strikes. Vazquez was able to plate Devers on a run-scoring groundout, but newcomer Jose Iglesias flew out to right field to extinguish the threat.

The Rays’ bats took advantage of the Sox’ inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position by striking for two more runs in the third, as Randy Arozarena led off with a double and the ever-dangerous Nelson Cruz crushed a two-run home run 410 feet into the Red Sox bullpen off a hanging cutter from Rodriguez.

After giving up that bomb, Rodriguez managed to record just three more outs before serving up a 407-foot solo shot to Zunino with one out in the fourth. That essentially marked the end of the line for the lefty, as he got the hook from Red Sox manager Alex Cora after recording the second out of the inning.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 68 (44 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler averaged just 92.6 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 24 times and only got two swings-and-misses on. He also saw his ERA on the season rise to 5.15 while getting hit with eighth loss of the year.

In relief of Rodriguez, Michael Feliz got the first call from Cora out of the Boston bullpen for what was his Red Sox debut.

Feliz, just selected from Triple-A Worcester earlier in the day, ended the fourth inning rather easily, but yielded a pair of solo homers (one to Cruz, one to Zunino) in the fifth and sixth innings to increase his side’s deficit to seven runs at 8-1.

Brad Peacock, making his first appearance since last Tuesday, did not fare much better than Feliz. The veteran right-hander got shelled for four runs in the top of the seventh, yielding a two-run double to Cruz and two-run home run to Luplow that allowed the Rays to jump out to a commanding 12-1 advantage.

Peacock did manage to put together the first scoreless inning of any Red Sox pitcher since the top of the first in the eighth, though, and the offense responded in the bottom half of the frame.

There, Kyle Schwarber laced a leadoff single off Tampa Bay reliever David Hess, while Bobby Dalbec and Danny Santana — both of whom came on as defensive replacements in the top half of the eighth — clubbed back-to-back home runs to cut into the deficit.

A pair of two-out singles off the bats of Vazquez and Iglesias put runners at first and second for Jonathan Arauz, who drove in Vazquez on an RBI single to center field, putting the Sox behind by just seven runs at 12-5.

After Peacock put up another zero in the top of the ninth, Dalbec brought in Schwarber on yet another two-run blast — this one being his 20th of the season to make it a 12-7 contest.

Alas, even after making things a bit more interesting, the Sox were unable to push across anything else, as 12-7 would go on to be Tuesday’s final score.

With the loss, the Red Sox extend their losing streak to three consecutive games while also falling to 79-62 on the season. They do, however, remain just a 1/2 game back of the Yankees for the top American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Eovaldi looks to stave off sweep

The Red Sox will send right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound Wednesday night as they look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays, who will counter with rookie left-hander Shane McClanahan in the series (and season series) finale.

First pitch Wednesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Kyle Schwarber and Bobby Dalbec: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox squander 6-run lead, commit 4 errors in 11-10 loss to Rays in extras

Despite holding leads of 7-1, 8-6, and 9-7 on Monday afternoon, the Red Sox were unable to keep the Rays at bay and ultimately fell to their division rivals by a final score of 11-10 in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Chris Sale, making his fifth start of the season for the Sox, did not factor into Monday’s decision, though Boston did lose a game he started for the first time this year.

Over just 3 2/3 innings of work, Sale surrendered five runs — only one of which was earned — on 10 hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts on the afternoon.

The veteran left-hander began his day by fanning Randy Arozarena on three straight strikes, but then issued a 394-foot triple to rookie sensation Wander Franco.

Franco quickly came into score on an RBI single off the bat of Nelson Cruz to give the Rays their first lead of the contest at 1-0.

Sale did manage to get out of the top of the first by escaping a bases-loaded jam, and the Red Sox lineup responded by getting to Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough for an equalizing run on a run-scoring single from J.D. Martinez.

Pushing across one run in their half of the first was not the only damage the Boston bats did while Yarbrough was on the mound, as they plated six additional runs off the left-hander an inning later.

On an RBI single from Taylor Motter, an RBI double from Hunter Renfroe, an RBI single from Rafael Devers, a two-run double from Bobby Dalbec, and a sacrifice fly from Alex Verdugo, the Sox took a commanding 7-1 lead and appeared as though they would be well on their way to a series-opening win.

At that point, Sale had seemingly settled in by putting up a zero in the second and third innings while also recording the first two outs of the fourth rather quickly.

The division-leading Rays, however, did not go down quietly, as Taylor Walls ignited a two-out rally by reaching base via softly-hit, two-foot infield single. Arozarena and Franco followed with singles of their own, loading the bases for the ever-dangerous Cruz.

Sale got Cruz to lift a 370-foot fly ball to center field that had an expected batting average of just .270. Verdugo, the center fielder, was in position to make the inning-ending catch, but instead battled with the sun and was unable to make a clean snag, resulting in the ball rolling towards right field.

On Verdugo’s fielding error, Cruz managed to unload the bases while also advancing all the way up to third base. He then scored from third when Motter, the second baseman, overthrew Devers.

Tampa Bay’s little-league grand slam allowed them to trim Boston’s advantage down to two runs at 7-5 while also getting Sale out of this contest after just 86 pitched (65 strikes).

In relief of Sale, right-hander Garrett Richards closed out the fourth inning, tossed a 1-2-3 top of the fifth, and surrendered one run on three singles in the sixth, with Jordan Luplow making it a 7-6 game on his RBI base hit.

The Sox answered back in their half of the sixth, though, with Motter ripping a leadoff triple off Rays reliever J.T. Chargois and Renfroe plating him on a hard-hit RBI single through the left side of the infield.

Boston’s newfound two-run lead did not last long, with Arozarena driving in Mike Zunino in the seventh while Adam Ottavino was on the mound.

Jonathan Arauz quickly got that run back by clubbing a 416-foot solo shot off J.P. Feyereisen a half inning later, but Ottavino — for the second appearance in a row — served up a leadoff home run to Cruz to begin things in the eighth.

The Rays completed their comeback in the ninth, with Austin Meadows drilling an inside-the-park homer off Garrett Whitlock.

Meadows had scorched a 393-foot line drive to center field to lead off the inning, but it was one Verdugo could not come up cleanly with while leaping in the direction of the wall.

Neither Martinez nor Renfroe backed up Verdugo as the ball caromed away, resulting in recently-signed shortstop Jose Iglesias to hustle out from the infield to make the play himself.

Iglesias, however, bobbled the ball while attempting to corral it, and that allowed the speedy Meadows to complete his trek around the base paths to tie things up at nine runs apiece.

Whitlock did manage to get through the rest of the frame unscathed to keep the 9-9 stalemate intact, and the pinch-hitting Travis Shaw led things off against former Red Sox hurler Collin McHugh in the bottom of the ninth by lacing a leadoff ground-rule double.

The Rays intentionally walked Verdugo and the Sox had Franchy Cordero run in place of Shaw, but Christian Vazquez was not able to advance the lead runner when his botched bunt attempt wound up getting caught by Zunino in foul territory.

Arauz followed by grounding into an inning-ending 5-6-3 double play, meaning the Red Sox had squandered yet another scoring opportunity as this one headed into extras.

Whitlock, back out for the 10th, gave up back-to-back RBI singles to Cruz and the pinch-hitting Brandon Lowe, thus putting his side in a two-run hole while giving the Rays their first lead of the first inning at 11-9.

Down to their last chance in the bottom of the 10th, Iglesias promptly drove in Arauz from second base and later advanced to second himself when Renfroe reached base on a fielding error.

Devers proceeded to draw a two-out walk against McHugh, meaning the potential tying run was just 90 feet away from scoring while the potential winning run was 180 feet away.

In that spot, Red Sox manager Alex Cora opted to have Kevin Plawecki hit for Cordero, but the veteran backstop could only dribble a softly-hit, inning-ending groundout to shortstop that secured a hard-fought 11-10 win for the visitors and a disappointing 11-10 defeat for the home side.

In a game that took 4 hours and 54 minutes to complete, the Red Sox committed four errors, went 6-for-15 with runners in scoring position, and left 12 runners on base as a team in the process of falling to 79-61 on the season.

Next up: Rodriguez vs. Rasmussen

The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the hill on Tuesday night as they look to halt this latest skid. The Rays will counter with right-hander Drew Rasmussen.

First pitch Tuesday is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)