Rick Porcello claimed a quality start but not a win Friday night. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Mookie Betts, Brock Holt team up to give Red Sox extra-inning win over Rays

Rob Bradford
June 26, 2015 - 6:34 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This sure felt like a must-win for the Red Sox. As strange as it is to say on June 26, the swing of not beating the first-place Rays Friday night not only would meant a 10-game deficit in the standings but another truly demoralizing defeat at Tropicana Field. (The Red Sox had lost nine of their last 13 games at the Trop.) But thanks to Mookie Betts and Brock Holt, the Red Sox managed to keep their flicker of hope alive. Holt's 10th-inning RBI single plated Betts, who led off the frame with a double down the left field line. And when Koji Uehara closed things out for the visitors with a 10-pitch perfect inning (2 strikeouts), the Red Sox walked away with a series-opening, 4-3 win over the division's top dog. For Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, it was a good news/bad news kind of night. The positive for the righty was that he was able to snap his losing streak at six starts. The negative? Porcello hasn't won in seven appearances. This time around, Porcello -- whose last outing at Tropicana Field resulted in a three-hit, complete game shutout for the Tigers -- allowed three runs on nine hits over six innings. He also struck out five while walking one, lowering his ERA to 5.54. The Red Sox have won four of their last five road games and are 10-10 in one-run games. They have scored four runs or more in eight straight games, their longest streak since going 11 straight in 2011. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Mike Napoli made the most of his first two at-bats, both resulting in walks. The first baseman came around on an Alejandro De Aza double after drawing a free pass in the second inning. He then scored from third after his second walk, racing home when Tampa Bay catcher Curt Casali threw to second base in an attempt to nab Blake Swihart stealing. -- Napoli also executed the stolen base of the year for the Red Sox in the sixth inning, starting his attempt so early he was halfway to second base by the time Rays starter Alex Colome started his delivery. (Colome's appearance marked the 34th start for a rookie pitcher for the Rays this season.) -- Jackie Bradley executed a good piece of situational hitting in the second inning, lofting a sacrifice fly to left field on a 1-2 fastball. The fly ball scored De Aza for the visitors' second run. -- Alexi Ogando got out of huge jam in the ninth, coming on to retire Joey Butler on a fly ball to right field, stranding runners on second and third. Making things uncomfortable for the Red Sox in the frame was a leadoff double by Asdrubal Cabrera against Sox reliever Craig Breslow, who gave way to Ogando with two runners on and two out. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Porcello once again allowed a run after getting a run, this time falling victim to an RBI double off the bat of light-hitting Marc Krauss (career .194 hitter) in the second inning. It snapped a stretch in which the Sox starter hadn't allowed a run at Tropicana Field in 12 2/3 innings. -- The first fly ball out allowed by Porcello came in the sixth inning when David DeJesus lofted a sacrifice fly to the right-field wall. Up until that point the Sox starter had gotten five outs on grounders (2 double plays) to go along with five strikeouts. The fly out allowed the Rays to draw within a run while putting Evan Longoria at third. -- Immediately following the sacrifice fly, with Logan Forsythe at the plate and Longoria standing 90 feet away from scoring, Porcello uncorked a wild pitch, knotting things up at 3. It was Porcello's sixth wild pitch of the season after not claiming any over his 204 2/3 innings in 2014. -- Mookie Betts fell victim to a terrible baserunning decision in the seventh inning, attempting to advance to third after a wild throw on his stolen base of second. Betts, however, was too indecisive, ultimately getting nabbed at second on a throw back in from center fielder Kevin Kiermaier. Instead of having a runner in scoring position with one out and the game tied at 3, the Red Sox were left with nobody on base and two outs.

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