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Red Sox 11, Rays 3: A good night

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Red Sox fans haven't had many of them lately, but Wednesday was undeniably a good night.

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox fell behind the Rays in the first and gave up a run in the ninth, but dominated the seven innings in-between en route to an 11-3 demolition of Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays.

It was another pitch-to-contact night for Anthony Ranaudo on the mound, and early on that did not exactly prove productive against the Rays offense. The first inning saw the Rays get out to an early 2-0 lead, with Wil Myers starting the scoring by reaching across the plate to crush a hanging changeup off the Monster in left-center field, plating Ben Zobrist. Behind Myers, Nick Franklin got ahold of a grooved fastball, but his fly ball stayed too close to Rusney Castillo in center field and hung up long enough for the new outfielder to track it down, resulting in just a sacrifice fly.

Jake Odorizzi, on the other hand, proceeded to strike out the side in the first, albeit allowing a pair of fairly weak hits from Xander Bogaerts and Yoenis Cespedes in the process. It was an opening frame which promised little joy for Red Sox fans in the hours to come.

That feeling of dread was not helped by Brandon Guyer leading off the top of the second with an infield single, but three pitches later, and the contact started working out for Ranaudo. Sean Rodriguez grounded into a double play to end the threat in that particular frame, and when Garin Cecchini led off the bottom half of the inning by taking an Odorizzi fastball into the bullpens for his first career homer, there was reason to believe the tide was turning.

It didn't hurt that Odorizzi proceeded to allow three straight baserunners on two singles and a walk, ultimately surrendering an RBI sacrifice fly to Xander Bogaerts to tie the game.

Ranaudo would temper those good feelings by allowing a one-out triple to Kevin Kiermaier in the top of the third, but turned to a steady diet of curveballs against Nick Franklin to pick up a rare strikeout when he needed it most to escape the inning. His success continued into a 1-2-3 fourth, and in the bottom of the inning, the Red Sox gave him quite a bit of leeway to work with.

Odorizzi returned for the bottom of the fourth having already recorded his last out of the game. After surrendering a double to Bryce Brentz, walking Christian Vazquez, and then loading the bases with a Mookie Betts single, Odorizzi was yanked for Brandon Gomes. Xander Bogaerts welcomed the reliever to the game with a wall-ball single to left, plating both Brentz and Vazquez, and Daniel Nava made it a four-run inning and lead with a double. Gomes finally got a pair of outs, but before he could get the third, a walk and wild pitch allowed the Red Sox to plate a fifth run.

Finally out of the inning, now trailing 7-2, the Rays did little to get back in the game. Ranaudo got four balls in the air in the fifth, three going for outs, and would surrender just one more baserunner on a seventh-inning double to Sean Rodriguez, leaving before the eighth. The Red Sox, however, were not simply resting on their laurels. A wild Kirby Yates allowed a double to Yoenis Cespedes with one out in the sixth, then gave up three bases on two walks and a hit batter, bringing home a run on ball four. Steve Geltz proved no more capable, walking in two more runs with Jose Molina making it three on a passed ball.

All that was left for the Rays was a consolation run in the ninth against Edwin Escobar, who plunked Brandon Guyer and surrendered an RBI double to Ben Zobrist in one inning of relief. That served to bring the Rays within all of eight runs of the Red Sox for a final score of 11-3. Not a bad night from a 69-89 team.