On a deadline day which saw the Red Sox do a whole lot of nothing as a franchise, the players did a whole lot of scoring against a sloppy Tampa Bay team.
Certainly nobody can claim this game was particularly well played. Or pitched, for that matter. It was not one of Eduardo Rodriguez' best nights, but for once an off-night didn't mean a disaster. He would allow a run in the first on two walks and a single, entirely his fault. But the rest of the damage done to him wasn't exactly convincing. He had a run score in the second when Josh Rutledge--who might generously be called a defensive hack--threw wide of first on what would have been the third out, letting Mike Mahtook score from third, and the Rays finished their picket fence in the third on no more than a couple singles, one of which never left the infield.
That was only enough to match what the Red Sox had done in the first inning, however, taking advantage of some really ugly play from Tampa Bay After Brock Holt grounded out to start the inning, back-to-back errors from Logan Forsythe and Tim Beckham put Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz on the corners. Mike Napoli walked to load the bases, and Alejandro De Aza (whose very presence on the team at this point is something of a surprise) knocked in Bogaerts with a single to right. Rusney Castillo grounded into a force out, with Asdrubal Cabrera coming home to keep Ortiz from scoring, but Blake Swihart finished the attack by fighting off an inside fastball for a perfectly-placed bloop single to left, scoring both Napoli and De Aza.
With Eduardo Rodriguez working around another defensive gaffe in the fourth and striking out two in a scoreless fifth, the Red Sox would take the lead back in the bottom of the fifth, with Brock Holt singling and eventually scoring on another hit for Alejandro De Aza.
Alexi Ogando would get the Red Sox into the seventh, bringing out Robbie Ross Jr. to start off the most eventful inning of the night. While Ross has been on an excellent run these last two months, he started off the inning by walking Joey Butler, then hit Mike Mahtook with two outs in the inning, bringing Junichi Tazawa into the game. Tazawa proved unable to escape, allowing pinch-hitter John Jaso to double to the wall in center field, bringing two runs home to score and putting Tampa Bay ahead 5-4.
The lead did not last into the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, with David Ortiz on first and two down, Mike Napoli got a high 2-2 fastball, and did what he used to be so adept at doing to those pitches, hitting the ball very high and just deep enough to find the Monster seats, turning the one-run deficit into a one-run lead. Blake Swihart doubled and scored in the eighth for good measure, but a key double play from Tazawa had kept the Rays off the board in the top of the inning, and Koji Uehara pitched a scoreless ninth after a leadoff walk to make the insurance run unneeded, if welcome.