With two big rallies, Red Sox bats better late than never

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox saved their best offense for last Friday night.

Make that Saturday morning.

In a 15-inning, 13-6 victory, the Red Sox staged two late multi-run rallies.

The three-run rally in the ninth allowed the Red Sox to push the game into extra innings.

We’ll overlook the one run they scored in the 14th because the Rays matched it in the second half of the frame.

The seven-run surge in the 15th gave them the lead — and then some.

“It was good and in the end we won, that’s all we need now,” said Xander Bogaerts, who got on base six times, scored twice, knocked in two runs and had four hits. “Comeback win was huge. We were down by three facing one of the best closers in the game on their side and tied the game in the ninth. Hopefully we can carry this momentum into tomorrow.”

The first big moment for the offense came in the ninth.

Trailing 5-2, the Red Sox faced closer Alex Colome. Leadoff batter Mitch Moreland worked a walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch and then scoring when second baseman Danny Espinosa muffed a groundball off the bat of Rafael Devers.

Christian Vazquez, now one of the best hitters on this ballclub, pinch-hit for Tzu-Wei Lin and singled to left, allowing Devers to advance to third.

That brought up catcher Sandy Leon, whose single plated Devers to bring the Red Sox to within one.

That left it to No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr. to hit a fly ball to center field. Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier made the catch everyone saw on highlights. After the dive he came up firing and nearly threw out Rajai Davis (pinch-running for Vazquez) advancing to third base.

Bogaerts’ single scored Davis to tie the game and send it to extras.

The winning rally occurred well after midnight, when the Red Sox batted around, sending 12 batters to the plate.

Bradley led off with a walk, Bogaerts followed with a single before Dustin Pedroia got on base via an error on second baseman Brad Miller. The muff scored Bradley for the first run.

Then came the legit hits. Andrew Benintendi, Moreland, Marrero and Bogaerts all drove in runs, while Devers knocked in one on a fielder’s choice.

“It’s one of those things where we were able to claw back and tie the ballgame up, take the lead, they battled and we had to weather the storm,” Bradley said. “We were able to get it done tonight.”

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