Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez was masterful over six-plus shutout innings and Bobby Dalbec drove in two runs as the Red Sox earned a four-game series split with a 4-0 win Thursday over the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The club’s second straight victory helped the third-place Red Sox (77-59) trim the deficit against the first-place Rays (84-50) to eight games in the American League East.
Rodriguez (11-7) took over the staff lead in wins by holding the home side to four harmless singles before leaving after two runners reached to open the seventh. In his six innings, the left-hander struck out six and walked one.
Dalbec, Hunter Renfroe, J.D. Martinez and Kyle Schwarber each notched two of the nine singles for Boston, which will host the Rays in a three-game series starting Monday.
Rookie Wander Franco drew a leadoff walk in the seventh to extend his on-base streak to 33 games, the longest active in the majors.
However, Franco pointed to his right ear when he reached first and was replaced by pinch runner Joey Wendle. The Rays announced that the 20-year-old shortstop left with a headache.
After winning all five of his August starts to set a rookie record, Shane McClanahan (9-5) was hit hard by Boston in his bid for a sixth consecutive victory.
The left-hander allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in four of his five innings before departing. He allowed eight hits — all singles — and four runs, with eight strikeouts and two walks.
In the teams’ final regular-season meeting in Florida, Boston swung the bats well in the first inning against the hard-throwing McClanahan, producing three hits and a hard lineout and taking a 1-0 lead on an RBI single to right by Dalbec.
Renfroe recorded his second hit in as many innings, drilling a two-out single to left that scored Danny Santana to double the lead.
For the third time in the game, in the fifth inning, Boston put the leadoff hitter on against McClanahan and brought him around to score.
Jonathan Arauz walked to open the frame and came home on Martinez’s single to left. Dalbec added his second RBI on another single for a 4-0 advantage against McClanahan.
Boston reliever Garrett Richards completed the shutout and earned his second save by working three innings of one-hit ball — striking out four and walking one.
–Field Level Media