The Red Sox routed the Rays 14-6 on Friday night at Tropicana Field. The best-of-five ALDS series is now tied up 1-1 before the series shifts to Boston for games three and four.
It was an eventful first inning, as the Red Sox were able to get to Shane Baz early. Baz walked Kyle Schwarber on four pitches, then Enrique Hernandez doubled. After Rafael Devers struck out for the first out of the inning, Boston got RBI hits from Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo to take a 2-0 lead.
The Rays answered with a big first inning of their own. After Randy Arozarena and Wander Franco both singled to start the frame, Nelson Cruz came up with a one-out walk to load the bases. Yandy Diaz drove in one with an RBI single, before Jordan Luplow launched a grand slam that set Tropicana Field on fire and gave the Rays an early 5-2 lead.
The Red Sox responded in the third inning. After Xander Bogaerts hit a solo home run that chased Shane Baz from the game, Alex Verdugo hit a solo home run off Colin McHugh to pull within 5-4. Then in the fifth, Boston tied the game with a solo home run from Kiki Hernandez. Colin McHugh then walked Rafeal Davis before being replaced by Matt Wisler. Xander Bogaerts then singled to put runners on first and second. After Alex Verdugo flied out to right, J.D. Martinez came up and blasted a three-run home run to straightaway center field that gave the Red Sox an 8-5 lead.
In the sixth and seventh inning the Rays and Red Sox traded runs. Ji-Man Choi hit a solo home run off the bench to pull the Rays within 8-6 in the bottom of the sixth, but Christian Vazquez answered with a RBI single in the top of the seventh to make it a three-run game again. The Red Sox then got some separation in the eighth, getting a two-run bomb from Rafael Devers to center field to make it 11-6.
The Red Sox didn't stop there, adding RBI singles from Christian Vazquez and Kiki Hernandez in the ninth inning to make it 14-6, which would prove to be the final score. Hernandez had a tremendous night for the Red Sox, finishing 5-for-6 with three doubles and a home run while driving in two.
Shane Baz started the game and pitched two and a third innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits while striking out two and walking one. Collin McHugh and Matt Wisler each struggled out of the bullpen, as McHugh allowed three runs and Wisler alowed two runs. Michael Wacha also had a tough night out of the bullpen, allowing six earned runs in two and two-third innings of work before being pulled with two outs in the ninth inning.
Chris Sale lasted only one inning for the Red Sox, allowing five earned runs - before Tanner Houck (1-0, 1.80) came in and calmed things down. He allowed just one earned run in five innings of work in picking up the win.
Now heading to Boston, game three between the Rays and Red Sox comes on Sunday at 4:07 PM from Fenway Park. Neil Solondz begins pregame coverage at 3:30 PM on AM 620 WDAE.
PHOTO COURTESY GETTY IMAGES