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Six-run rally lifts Tampa Bay Rays past Boston Red Sox for ninth straight win

Aug 31, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 31, 2021; St. Petersburg, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Randy Arozarena (56) celebrates after hitting a home run against the Boston Red Sox during the second inning at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay blew open a tie game with a six-run third inning Tuesday, propelling the first-place Rays to their ninth straight win, 8-5 over the Boston Red Sox in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The decisive rally featured just three hits. The inning featured two walks, two hit batters, an RBI single from Wander Franco on which another run scored on an error, a run-scoring wild pitch, an Austin Meadows RBI single and a two-run double by Yandy Diaz.

Randy Arozarena homered for Tampa Bay, which is 31-11 since the All-Star break and 44-18 against American League East opposition.

Franco, 20, extended his on-base streak to 31 straight games by going 1-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk.

Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough (8-4) won for the seventh time in his past eight decisions by spinning six innings of two-run, five-hit ball. He fanned three with no walks.

Kyle Schwarber homered and had two RBIs for third-place Boston, which has lost three straight. J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers singled in runs, and Hunter Renfroe lashed two doubles.

Acquired Monday from the Cleveland Indians, Boston starter Brad Peacock (0-1) made his first major league appearance of 2021 and surrendered five runs on just two hits in 2 1/3 innings.

After losing 6-1 on Monday in the series opener, Boston scored in the first inning thanks to a two-out double by Martinez and Bogaerts’ sharp single to right.

However, Bogaerts was called back to the dugout by Red Sox manager Alex Cora in the middle of the second and replaced in the lineup by Yairo Munoz.

The club later announced that Bogaerts had tested positive for COVID-19.

The home side tied it in the second when Arozarena belted his 18th homer to left on Peacock’s 1-0 off-speed pitch.

Franco’s single in the third scored Kevin Kiermaier, and first baseman Bobby Dalbec fanned on the relay throw to the infield, sending home Francisco Mejia.

A wild pitch by reliever Stephen Gonsalves and Meadows’ knock pushed the lead to 5-1. A two-out double to shallow right by Diaz sent the final two runners across.

Schwarber swatted a solo homer to center in the sixth — his 28th — but the Rays got the run back on Mejia’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the inning.

Devers singled home an unearned run in the eighth, and Schwarber and Martinez had RBI singles in the ninth.

Rays All-Star reliever Andrew Kittredge whiffed pinch hitter Travis Shaw and Devers for his fifth save.

–Field Level Media