ST. PETERSBURG (WDAE) -- The Boston Red Sox hit three home runs in a seven-run third inning, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to their sixth loss in their last seven contests as they drop a 9-4 decision in the first of their three-game series Monday at Tropicana Field.
After putting up scoreless innings in the first and second, Jalen Beeks' evening fell apart in the third after a one-out single by Marco Hernandez. Mookie Betts followed with a walk, and Rafael Devers doubled both runners in to take a 2-0 lead. Xander Bogaerts then walked and J.D. Martinez hit a three-run blast to straightaway center, his 20th home run of the year, to bust the game open. Beeks would also allow back-to-back solo homers by Andrew Benintendi and Sam Travis.
Beeks (5-1) would leave one out into the fourth, and Bogaerts' double off Chaz Roe would close the left-hander's line with eight earned runs allowed.
Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez allowed just two infield singles in seven shutout innings, walking four and striking out six to earn his 12th win of the year.
Tampa Bay finally broke the shutout bid in the bottom of the eighth against former teammate Nathan Eovaldi, with Travis d'Arnaud's RBI double scoring Guillermo Heredia. Austin Meadows then doubled in d'Arnaud two batters later, and Yandy Diaz's single brought in Meadows to make it 8-3.
Boston added a run in the ninth off Mike Brosseau, who played the first eighth innings at second base, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Bogaerts and Martinez.
The Rays got that run back in the bottom of the ninth, as Tommy Pham's double off Josh Taylor scored Mike Zunino, but Nate Lowe, who replaced Diaz when the third baseman fouled a pitch off his foot on an 0-2 count, struck out to end the game.
Boston moves to within a game of Tampa Bay, who has now dropped six of its last seven, in the American League East standings.
Tampa Bay Rays (57-46) vs. Boston Red Sox (55-46), 7:10 pm first pitch, with coverage on WDAE starting at 6:00 with The Inside Pitch.
Rays starter: RHP Yonny Chirinos (8-5, 3.29 ERA)
Red Sox starter: LHP Chris Sale (4-9, 4.05 ERA)