Austin Meadows, Mike Zunino and Brandon Lowe cracked home runs Wednesday night as the Tampa Bay Rays snapped their season-worst seven-game losing streak with an 8-2 win over the Boston Red Sox in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Meadows popped his club-leading 16th homer in the first, Zunino added his 15th in the second and Lowe unloaded his 14th in the seventh for the Rays, who inched to within a half-game of the A.L. East-leading Red Sox by beating them for the first time in five tries.
Meadows, who also walked twice, and Lowe (double, walk) each had two of Tampa Bay’s six hits.
One night after his dazzling two-hit major league debut, which came at third base, 20-year-old Wander Franco made his first start at shortstop and went 0-for-3 with a run scored and two walks.
Tampa Bay starter Rich Hill — the team’s de facto ace with Tyler Glasnow sidelined with a partially torn UCL — allowed just one run in five innings, though he fought wildness with five walks.
In tying Josh Fleming for the team lead in wins, Hill (6-2) gave up three hits, recorded five strikeouts and stranded seven runners.
Boston’s Garrett Richards (4-5) was roughed up for five runs (four earned) and three hits and lasted just 1 2/3 innings. He walked four and hit a batter in a tedious 54-pitch start.
The Red Sox got to Hill for a single run in the first inning. He walked Alex Verdugo and let him reach second on a wild pitch. Xander Bogaerts lined a 2-2 single to right to plate Verdugo for the quick 1-0 lead.
After Franco worked a two-out walk in the bottom half, Meadows stroked a 93 mph fastball up in the zone from Richards deep to right-center for a 2-1 lead.
Zunino, who entered 7 of 11 (.636) against Richards in his career, was back at in the second when he launched a high ball down the left-field line — a two-run shot — to push the lead to 4-1.
The Rays added another run in the inning when Franco hustled to beat out an errant two-out throw by second baseman Enrique Hernandez, who double-clutched on a routine grounder.
Lowe popped a three-run shot to center to give the Rays some breathing room late in the contest, and Christian Vazquez had an RBI single in the eighth for Boston.
–Field Level Media