With the help of some poor Tampa Bay defense, the Red Sox trounced Chris Archer early and cruised to an 8-4 win over the Rays Friday night.
Chris Archer got himself in trouble in the top of the first, giving up a ringing single and a walk to Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia to start the first. The actual damage in the inning, however, was not entirely his fault--or rather, not the fault of his pitching.. Yoenis Cespedes drove in the first run with a lazy fly ball that was perfectly placed down the right field line for an RBI single. Daniel Nava added to the tally with a ground ball through the left side to make it 2-0.
That should have been the end of the inning, but where Archer's pitching had already failed him, it would be his glove that struck next. Archer was unable to handle a Mookie Betts ground ball, keeping the inning alive for Will Middlebrooks. Again Archer would have the chance to make a play, this time deflecting a line drive to Ben Zobrist at second. Zobrist bounced the throw to first, where Loney couldn't pick it, allowing a third run to come in on a second Tampa Bay error before Christian Vazquez grounded out to finally end the inning.
If Archer thought it couldn't get worse, the second inning proved him entirely wrong. Once again Brock Holt started the frame with a single, but this time his hit was followed by two quick outs. The third, however, would be a long time in coming. Yoenis Cespedes got the Red Sox a fourth run with an emphatic drive to the right field gap, driving in David Ortiz. From there, Archer lost control, allowing a walk to Mike Napoli before plunking Daniel Nava to load the bases.
Up stepped Mookie Betts. The beneficiary of a Tampa Bay error in the first inning, his second at bat didn't give the Rays defense a chance to mess up in the second. Archer provided Betts with a 1-0 fastball over the inside half of the plate, and Betts cleaned it out, launching his first major league grand slam over the wall in left field, leaving the Red Sox up 8-0.
The Rays fought back, scoring a run in the bottom of the second and then two more in the fifth. It was, all told, another acceptable-if-underwhelming start from Anthony Ranaudo, who left the game after six innings with three runs on five hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. With the Red Sox having built their large lead early on, however, it was more than enough from the young starter. The bullpen allowed just one more run in the ninth, and the Red Sox walked away with a comfortable win in hand.