Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts, left, slides safe at second base as Tampa Bay Rays’ Logan Forsythe, right, is unable to handle the ball in the seventh inning on Monday at Fenway Park in Boston.

Boston Red Sox’s Mookie Betts, left, slides safe at second base as Tampa Bay Rays’ Logan Forsythe, right, is unable to handle the ball in the seventh inning on Monday at Fenway Park in Boston.

BOSTON (AP) — Xander Bogaerts feels like he’s had his share of baseballs caroming off walls this season.

There was no doubt about his game-winning grand slam Monday night.

Bogaerts’ slam hit off a billboard above the back row of seats on the Green Monster in the eighth inning, lifting Boston to an 8-7 victory over Tampa Bay and moving the Red Sox out of the AL East’s basement and ahead of the Rays.

“I hit so many balls out in the outfield – Seattle, Baltimore – off the wall,” he said. “It’s nice to get one to go over. Hopefully next year’s better.”

Bogaerts is having a strong year offensively, but his power numbers are down. He raised his average to .323 on Monday with seven homers and 78 RBIs.

“You know that power’s in there,” Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo said. “We’re seeing it of late. He’s getting that backswing and the ball’s jumping off his bat. I think the upside is unlimited. He’s not going to be a 30- home run guy year in and year out, but I don’t think it’ll surprise anybody if he hits 25.”

David Ortiz collected his 99th RBI on a night he was honored at Fenway Park for collecting his 500th career homer. It was his first home game since he joined the 500-home run club, hitting it against the Rays on Sept. 12.

Dustin Pedroia had three hits and Brock Holt drove in a run for Boston, which moved out of last place for the first time since June 8.

Brandon Guyer homered on the game’s second pitch to spark a three-run first for the Rays, who lost for the seventh time in 10 games.

“Frustrating loss. Interesting game to say the least,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “A lot of good things. A lot of negative things.

“It speaks volumes about this team to continue to come back, but ultimately (the Red Sox) came back last and won the ballgame.”

Richie Shaffer had a solo homer, and Evan Longoria and Logan Forsythe added runscoring hits for the Rays.

Jean Machi (1-0) got one out for the win. Robbie Ross Jr. pitched the ninth for his fifth save.

Bogaerts homered off Brandon Gomes (2-6). Jackie Bradley Jr. was hit by a pitch and Mookie Betts and Pedroia singled before Bogaerts hit his homer over the Green Monster.

“I went back and looked at the home run pitch,” Gomes said. “It was actually a halfway decent pitch. He just put a good swing at it. But I’ve got to make pitches earlier than that and should never have gotten into that situation.”

Tampa Bay scored three runs in the eighth after Boston had taken a 4-3 lead with three runs in the seventh. Grady Sizemore had a two-run double, and Forsythe followed with a sacrifice fly.

In the seventh, Bogaerts had an RBI double high off the Monster. Ortiz’s run-scoring grounder tied it before Travis Shaw’s sacrifice fly.

The Rays had grabbed a 3-0 lead just nine pitches into the game against Eduardo Rodriguez.


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