ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Mookie Betts put his first grand slam as his top rookie season highlight so far.
Betts hit Boston’s fourth slam of the year, Anthony Ranaudo pitched six effective innings and the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 8-4 Friday night.
“I can’t tell you the last time I’ve hit a grand slam, going back to high school and everything else,” Betts said. “Just to hit one is pretty enjoyable.”
After Yoenis Cespedes drove in his second run of the game with a double, Betts connected off Chris Archer (8-7) to cap a five-run second inning that made it 8-0.
Ranaudo (3-0), recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game, gave up three runs and five hits. He has won all three of his big league starts.
“I thought we had a lot of good at-bats,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Mookie, obviously, was the big blow in the second inning. Anthony Ranaudo made it stand up.”
Archer allowed eight runs and 10 hits over four innings.
There were no incidents in the first meeting between the teams since Archer and the Rays took issue with the way David Ortiz acted after hitting a three-run homer off the Tampa Bay pitcher on July 27. Archer made a point of saying he didn’t appreciate Ortiz flipping his bat before beginning his home run trot, and added that the star DH “feels like he’s bigger than the game.”
Former Rays ace David Price, traded to Detroit July 31, and Ortiz began feuding after Big Papi homered off the former AL Cy Young winner last fall in the AL championship series. Price hit Ortiz with a fastball May 30, leading to more verbal sparring.
Ortiz singled in five at-bats.
Cespedes, Daniel Nava and Will Middlebrooks each hit RBI singles during a three-run first. The Rays also made an error in the inning, and have committed at least one error in six consecutive games.
“It broke badly,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “We made a couple mistakes.”
Boston sent nine batters to the plate in the both the first and second innings.
Brandon Guyer hit a two-run homer in the fifth and added an RBI single in the ninth for the Rays, who have lost nine of 13.
Red Sox: Farrell fully expects INF Xander Bogaerts to be reinstated Saturday from the seven-day concussion list.
Rays: CF Desmond Jennings was a late scratch due to left knee soreness. … OF Wil Myers had an infield single in four at-bats and is 6 for 37 with 14 strikeouts since returning from a broken right wrist that kept him sidelined for 70 games.
The Gulf Coast League Red Sox and one of the two GCL Yankees teams have advanced to the best-of-three championship series. Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, signed to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract a week ago, is scheduled to make his pro debut in Game 2 Sunday. … Boston LHP Edwin Escobar was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for Ranaudo.
The Rays will honor retiring New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter before the game on Sept. 16. It’s the middle game of Jeter’s final series at Tampa Bay.