ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Randy Arozarena hit a three-run homer in the first, Christian Bethancourt and Yu Chang went deep back-to-back during the sixth, and the surging Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 8-4 on Tuesday night.
The Rays are an AL-best 22-10 since Aug. 4, and moved within 4½ games of the AL East-leading New York Yankees. Tampa Bay is in a three-way competition for the first AL wild card with Seattle and Toronto.
With Tampa Bay scheduled starter Drew Rasmussen scratched and placed on the paternity list for the birth of son early Tuesday, six pitchers combined on a six-hitter.
“They did a great job,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “It was a little of a mad dash today. Guys knew that it's was going to be kind of a creative bullpen. day.”
Garrett Cleavinger (1-1) allowed one hit during a scoreless third and fourth to get his first win since June 20, 2021. He is the 24th Rays' pitcher to win a game this season, most in the majors in 2022 and tied the team record set in 2018.
Triston Casas hit his first major league homer for the Red Sox, who are 18-38 against the AL East this year. Xander Bogaerts was 0 for 3, ending his team record-tying streak of nine consecutive multi-hit games. He shares the team record with Kevin Youkilis (2007), Jim Rice (1978) and Roy Johnson (1934).
Bogaerts left the game with back spasms, with Red Sox manager Alex Cora saying the shortstop won't play Wednesday.
The announced crowd was just 8,069, well below Tampa Bay's average of 14,157.
Yandy Díaz had a leadoff double in the first and Manuel Margot singled before Arozarena connected on his 19th homer.
“Awesome start,” Cash said. “You're not going to get a better start, three batters in, you're up 3-0.”
Arozarena is one homer and three stolen bases away from joining B.J. Upton (2011, 2012) as the second player in team history with 20 homers and 30 steals in a season. Arozarena had two doubles.
“Look, special player, special talent,” Cash said. “Can do a lot of things on the baseball field.”
After Casas’ two-run homer during the second off JT Chargois, Harold Ramierz put the Rays up 5-2 on a two-run single in the third.
“We're getting better and better everyday,” Ramirez said. “We just keep working, Everybody focused on what we're going to do because we don't score we're going to lose.”
Tommy Pham cut the Boston deficit to 8-4 on a two-run homer in the eighth.
Boston’s Rich Hill (6-6) allowed five runs and nine hits over four innings. The left-hander couldn’t repeat his success in a 5-1 win over Tampa Bay on Aug. 27, when he struck out 11 and allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings.
“It's tough putting us in that position a lot this year," Hill said. “I take a lot of pride in going out there and puttng us in a position to win. It hurts a lot. I think responsibility falls a lot this season on me. I haven't been able to that in games. That's one thing that doesn't sit well with me.”
There was a brief delay in the top of the eighth when the stadium lights went out.
Red Sox: OF Franchy Cordero, carted off the field Monday after running into the left field wall chasing a fly ball, will go on the injured list with sprains on both sides of his right ankle. … DH J.D. Martinez, who missed the previous two game with back issues, was a late scratch. Cora expects him to play Wednesday. ... Bogaerts left the game with back spasms and is not expected to play Wednesday.
Rays: RHP Tyler Glasnow (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw one inning for Triple-A Durham Wednesday in his first game action since surgery in Aug. 2021. … 2B Brandon Lowe (right elbow contusion) might return Wednesday.
Boston RHP Nick Pivetta (9-10) and Tampa Bay LHP Jeffrey Springs (7-4) are Wednesday night’s starters. Pivetta left his last outing Friday against Texas after three innings with a left calf contusion after getting hit by a comebacker.
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