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Betts' 16th homer lifts Red Sox past Rays

Field Level Media
May 22. 2018 11:19PM
Boston right fielder Mookie Betts is congratulated by center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and catcher Sandy Leon as he hits a 3-run home run during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)



Mookie Betts hit his majors’ leading 16th home run and Chris Sale struck out nine in 7 2/3 innings of two-run ball as the Boston Red Sox beat the host Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 to open a three-game series Tuesday night.

Betts’ blast was a three-run shot, putting him one home run ahead of teammate J.D. Martinez and Baltimore’s Manny Machado for the most in the majors. Rafael Devers launched a solo homer for Boston, which won for the fifth time in six games.

Sale (5-1) was charged with one earned run on four hits and two walks.

Willy Adames’ first hit in his MLB debut was a solo shot against Sale, and Daniel Robertson also had an RBI for Tampa Bay. The Rays have lost back-to-back games after their MLB-best six-game win streak.

Tampa Bay starter Jake Faria (3-3) allowed three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out two over 2 2/3 innings before leaving with a left oblique strain.

Rays catcher Wilson Ramos also exited in the third after being hit on his glove hand by a ball. Ramos was diagnosed with a left hand contusion and is day-to-day. Jesus Sucre took over behind the plate.

Boston has won eight of 11 against Tampa Bay this season.

In Adames’ first at-bat, he struck out on a 97-mph fastball from Sale to end the Rays’ first.

Betts homered in the third on a 3-2 breaking ball from Faria. The ball sailed approximately 405 feet.

into the left-field seats. Sandy Leon walked and Jackie Bradley Jr. singled to bring up Betts.

Adames homered to left in the fourth, blasting Sale’s 1-0 off-speed offering an estimated 385 feet to make it 3-1. Robertson’s sacrifice fly one inning later brought the Rays within a run.

Devers’ approximate 362-foot homer to right in the sixth, his ninth this year, restored Boston’s two-run lead.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but Craig Kimbrel got Mallex Smith to ground out to second for his 14th save.


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