Bosox rout Rays 20-8 in their highest-scoring game since ’15


Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Austin Meadows heads to the dugout while watching the final out of the eighth inning of a baseball game, with the Rays trailing the Boston Red Sox by 19 runs, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

BOSTON (AP) — 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.

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