BOSTON – Bobby Dalbec drove in a career-high five runs, Xander Bogaerts and Hunter Renfroe each had four RBIs and the Boston Red Sox routed the Tampa Bay Rays 20-8 Wednesday night.
The Red Sox moved within four games of the AL East-leading Rays with their highest-scoring game since 2015.
“Is this the start of something better? I hope so,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “We know where we’re at. Right now, we got a wild-card spot, but that’s not what we’re shooting for. We’re shooting for the division, and for that we have to play better. … I think we’re getting there.”
Tampa Bay had won five in a row overall and six straight against Boston. The Rays had not not allowed at least 20 runs since 2007.
J.D. Martinez got four of Boston's season-high 19 hits. The Red Sox began the first inning with three straight doubles by Kiké Hernández, Renfroe and Bogaerts and scored in bunches — they had innings in which they tallied six, five, four, three and two runs.
“Definitely a night that a lot of us was looking forward to,” Bogaerts said. “The offense exploded, pitchers threw a good game. … As far as the offense, it was nice to see everyone pitch in.”
Bogaerts' three-run homer highlighted a six-run burst in the eighth off Rays catcher Francisco Mejia, who moved from behind the plate to the mound.
“Lopsided losses happen and we certainly had one tonight,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “Tonight, they just kept coming. They were ready to go right out of the gate."
Down 20-1, the Rays scored seven times in the ninth against Phillips Valdez, with Brett Phillips hitting his third career grand slam and Mike Zunino connecting for his 22nd homer.
Nathan Eovaldi (10-7) went seven innings, giving up one run on Brandon Lowe’s 26th homer. He matched his season high with 10 strikeouts, allowing three hits and one walk.
Josh Fleming (9-6) was tagged for 10 runs on 11 hits and six walks in 3 1/3 innings.
Dalbec reached base five times with a triple, single, two walks and a hit by pitch.
The teams combined to score in seven different half-innings — there were frames of one, two, three, four, five, six and seven innings.
THIS AND THAT
Boston manager Alex Cora announced he had demoted RHP Garrett Richards from the rotation to the bullpen. Richards joins RHP Martin Perez, who was demoted last week. Their rotation spots are expected to be taken by LHP Chris Sale, who is scheduled to be activated from the injured list on Saturday, and RHP Tanner Houck, the team’s top pitching prospect. … Red Sox C Christian Vazquez was placed on the bereavement list prior to the game. C Connor Wong was recalled from Triple-A Worcester. ... Cora said closer Matt Barnes, who’s had several rocky outings recently, including giving up four runs while getting just two outs in a loss to the Rays on Tuesday, is not expected to be available until Friday because of usage.
Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier was out of the starting lineup again because of a sore right knee. Cash said he wanted to give him one more day to rest but expects him back in the lineup on Thursday. … 1B Ji-Man Choi was back in the lineup despite lingering hamstring soreness. Cash said it is something he thinks Choi will have to manage but expects to learn more day to day. … Cash said LHP Ryan Yarbrough, on the COVID-19 injured list, seems to be doing well. … RHP Nick Anderson (right elbow sprain) is scheduled to throw one inning or 20 pitches on Thursday with Triple-A Durham. … RHP Chris Archer (right lateral forearm tightness) is scheduled to throw three innings or 50 pitches Thursday for the rookie-level Florida Complex League Rays. ... RHP J.P. Feyereisen (right shoulder discomfort) and RHP Ryan Thompson (right shoulder inflammation) are both scheduled to throw 15 pitches of live batting practice on Friday.
Red Sox: Kyle Schwarber (right hamstring strain) could begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester on Thursday. Acquired from Washington at the trade deadline, he has yet to appear in a game for the Red Sox. … Cora said OF/1B Danny Santana (left groin strain) and INF Christian Arroyo (left hamstring strain) could begin rehab assignments next week “if everything goes well." ... RHP Ryan Brasier (left calf strain), who has not appeared for Boston this season, began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Worcester and is expected to make another appearance on Thursday.
The Red Sox and Rays wrap up their three-game series on Thursday. Tampa Bay RHP Drew Rasmussen (1-1, 4.15 ERA) is scheduled to make his third start of the season and first since July 24. Acquired in a May trade with Milwaukee, this will be Rasmussen’s first career appearance against Boston. The Red Sox did not announce a starter before Wednesday's game.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports