Sat Jul 31 9:56pm ET
By MARK DIDTLER
Tampa Bay Rays' Francisco Mejia celebrates his two-run home run with Brandon Lowe (8) during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Tampa Bay Rays' Brandon Lowe beats the tag of Boston Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers, advancing on a single by Ji-Man Choi during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Boston Red Sox's Bobby Dalbec celebrates his two-run home run with Christian Vazquez (7) during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi celebrates with third base coach Rodney Linares after hitting a home run against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi reacts to giving up a home run to Tampa Bay Rays' Ji-Man Choi during first the inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Boston Red Sox's J.D. Martinez (28) celebrates with Xander Bogaerts after hitting a two-run home run against the Tampa Bay Rays during the inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
Tampa Bay Rays' starting pitcher Ryan Yarbrough works against the Boston Red Sox during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, July 31, 2021, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Wander Franco had two key run-scoring hits, the Tampa Bay bullpen worked out of a pair of bases-loaded jams, and the Rays moved into first place in the AL East with a 9-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Franco's RBI triple off Nathan Eovaldi (9-6) gave Tampa Bay a 6-5 lead in the sixth. He added a run-scoring single during a three-run eighth that made it 9-5. Francisco Mejia had a two-run single in the eighth.
Andrew Kittredge (7-1) fell behind Christian Vazquez 3-0 with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth, but rebounded to get the strikeout. He kept the game tied at 5 when he fanned Bobby Dalbec on three pitches.
Boston also failed to score after loading the bases in the seventh, an inning in which reliever Jeffrey Springs sprained his right knee going after a bunt single by Rafael Devers that hit the third-base bag. Matt Wisler ended the threat by striking out Hunter Renfroe.
Tampa Bay currently has 14 pitchers on the injured list.
The Rays got homers from Ji-Man Choi and Mejia. The Rays connected on three home runs in winning the series opener 7-3 on Friday night.
Xander Bogaerts and Dalbec homered for the Red Sox, who had at least a share of the divisional lead since June 28 but fell a half-game behind Tampa Bay.
Eovaldi gave up six runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander allowed two homers after giving up just five over his previous 20 starts this season.
Mejia hit a two-run homer in the fourth that put the Rays up 5-3.
Dalbec tied it at 5-all on a fifth-inning, two-run drive.
J.D. Martinez had an RBI single and Bogaerts followed with a two-run shot off Ryan Yarbrough as Boston went up 3-0 in the first.
The Rays cut the deficit to 3-2 later in the first on Choi's two-run homer.
Tampa Bay pulled even at 3-3 in the third when second baseman Jonathan Arauz misplayed two grounders. Nelson Cruz drove in a run when Arauz misplayed his grounder for his second error of the inning.
Yarbrough gave up five runs and four hits in five innings.
RED SOX REINFORCEMENTS
LHP Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) allowed one run over five innings in his fourth rehab start with Triple-A Worcester. He last pitched in the majors on Aug, 13, 2019.
Slugger Kyle Schwarber, acquired from Washington on Thursday, expects to start a rehab assignment ''pretty soon'' for a hamstring injury.
Bogaerts played in his 1,000th game at shortstop, all with the Red Sox. He is the 70th player, and third with Boston (Everett Scott and Rick Burleson), to reach the total for a single franchise, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Red Sox: LHP Darwinzon Hernandez went on the 10-day IL with a right oblique strain.
Rays: Ace Tyler Glasnow is expecting to get a recommendation from doctors next week to have Tommy John surgery. He has been in the IL since June 15.
Red Sox RHP Nick Pivetta (8-4) and Tampa Bay LHP Shane McClanahan (4-4) are the starters in the series finale Sunday night.
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