The Boston Red Sox scored four runs early and held on for a 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday afternoon, before a sold-out crowd of 37,318 at Fenway Park.
Steven Wright gave up three runs (one earned) over six-plus innings, and the Red Sox bullpen took over from there. Craig Kimbrel recorded his third straight save and sixth this year.
Boston had nine hits, including three from Andrew Benintendi, who knocked in two runs.
The Red Sox (8-5) won their third straight against Tampa Bay (6-8).
Errors played a critical factor in the scoring. Five of the seven runs were unearned.
Wright (1-1) gave up a leadoff single to Corey Dickerson and appeared to get Kevin Kiermaier to fly out in foul territory, but third baseman Marco Hernandez bobbled it.
Kiermaier then singled, as did Evan Longoria to load the bases. Two RBI groundouts followed and the Rays led 2-0.
Wright’s knuckleball danced more after the first inning.
“It’s all feel. Finding that feel, keeping it and repeating it,” he said.
Boston got one run back in the first with three singles, including Hanley Ramirez’s RBI line drive to right.
In the second, Sandy Leon singled with two outs. Hernandez hit a grounder to shortstop Tim Beckham, but second baseman Brad Miller dropped Beckham’s toss, keeping the inning alive.
“I just didn’t catch the ball,” Miller said. “It ended up costing us three runs and it ended up being the difference in the game.”
Dustin Pedroia walked to load the bases. Benintendi hit a soft liner to center field for a two-run single and a 3-2 lead.
“Off the bat, I thought it would drop farther in front (of the fielder), but it kind of hung up there a little bit,” Benintendi said. “Fortunately it (dropped) … I just got pitches and executed.”
Mookie Betts followed with an RBI single, and Boston led 4-2.
“It was a huge break,” said Red Sox Manager John Farrell. “It was almost like blood was in the water and we took advantage of it.”
Not only did Miller’s error open the door to three runs, it caused starting pitcher Blake Snell (0-2) to throw 24 more pitches in the inning.
Wright was steady. He got out of a jam in the third – first and third, one out – with a pop-up in foul territory (Hernandez got this one) and a strikeout.
Wright exited in the seventh after Beckham led off with a single.
Robbie Ross relieved, allowing a double and walk, striking out two.
Ben Taylor, just called back up from Pawtucket, relieved and gave up an RBI single to Steve Souza. Taylor stayed in to face left-handed slugger Logan Morrison, and got him to fly out to right.
Heath Hembree pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, with two strikeouts. Kimbrel also went 1-2-3, all by strikeout.
He got Dickerson with a 98 mph fastball, Kiermaier with a curve and Longoria with a 99 mph fastball.
NOTES: The Red Sox announced that pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is on paternity leave and will miss his Tuesday start in Toronto. Brian Johnson will make the start instead … Taylor was called up Monday to fill in. After the game, he was sent back down, and Johnson was called up … Jackie Bradley Jr. (knee) and Josh Rutledge (hamstring) were running the bases before Monday’s game. Both will next join Pawtucket for rehab games. Bradley is expected to play with the PawSox on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then rejoin the major league team in Baltimore on Friday.
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: