Sox take stand, fend off pesky Rays

Sox take stand, fend off pesky Rays

BOSTON -- An electrifying grand slam by Hanley Ramirez was a stepping stone for the Red Sox to secure a victory in their series finale against the Rays on Wednesday at Fenway Park. After Tampa Bay tied the game in the eighth, the Sox sparked some extra offense to seal an 8-6 win on the final day of a six-game homestand.

Aaron Hill snapped an 0-for-20 skid with a one-out, go-ahead single in the eighth, scoring Ramirez from third to put Boston ahead, 7-6. Moments later, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove a sharp liner down the right-field line for an insurance run. Craig Kimbrel pitched a 1-2-3 ninth on just 10 pitches to earn his 24th save of the season .

"This time in the season, physically, everything hurts. Mentally, nothing hurts," Ramirez said. "You gotta be tough mentally and go out there and give everything you got. I gotta give credit to guys on the bench, my teammates, they keep pushing me all the way to the limit. That motivates us. That's the little things that we're really going to need in this stretch now."

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At 74-59, the Red Sox are two games back of the Blue Jays in the American League East. Boston also leads Baltimore by two games for the top spot in the AL Wild Card standings.

Ramirez's grand slam

Rays starter Drew Smyly saw his scoreless-innings streak against the Red Sox end in the first inning, giving up a solo shot to Xander Bogaerts. Smyly lasted just five innings, allowing seven hits (two home runs) and five earned runs.

"I feel like I threw the ball better than the results," said Smyly, who received a no-decision. "Give Hanley credit. He jumped on a first-pitch fastball. I missed my spot. I was trying to go in and left it out over the plate. That changed the game."

Boston starter Steven Wright lasted just four innings, giving up seven hits (two home runs) and four earned runs. It was the knuckleballer's second start since coming off the 15-day disabled list (right shoulder sprain) and first career outing against the Rays.

Beckham demoted after not hustling home

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Bradley bounces back: Bradley notched his first home run since Aug. 19 in Detroit and fell a triple shy of the cycle. The center fielder's timely home run in the sixth was initially ruled a double, but a quick review showed the ball bounced off the shelf atop the Green Monster.

Bradley Jr.'s solo home run

"He's fine. He's been doing it all year long," Ramirez said. "A couple weeks that he cooled down a little bit. But we got September now. I know he's gonna get back on track and help us out like he's been doing all year long."

Smyly's Kryptonite: Plagued by the home-run ball this season, Smyly allowed two dingers on Wednesday. The most notable came in the fifth inning when Ramirez belted a grand slam over the Green Monster. The left-hander has surrendered a career-high 29 home runs this season and 49 of the 92 runs (53.2 percent) he's allowed this season have come via the home run.

Bogaerts' solo homer

"It is just one of those games that you wish you could have back," Smyly said. "The team gave me a good cushion and I felt like I was throwing the ball really well, and then the fifth inning came along." More >

Pedey loves Fenway: Dustin Pedroia has reached base in 31 straight games at Fenway since June 21, which is the AL's longest active home on-base streak. After going 3-for-4 on Wednesday, Pedroia has 18 hits in 24 of his last at-bats in Boston. The second baseman has a 17-game hitting streak at the historic ballpark.

Pedroia's third hit

Forsythe's big fly: Logan Forsythe tallied four RBIs, including a two-run home run in the second inning and a two-run single in the eighth to tie the game at 6. The homer was the second baseman's 17th this season, which ties a career high set last season.

Forsythe's two-run home run

QUOTABLE
"I just wish I could go back to that moment. In my head, I was thinking, 'Be careful. You don't have to go right at him. You can still get out of the inning with the lead.' But he jumped on that first pitch. It definitely makes you second-guess the pitch call. I had conviction, I just left it over the middle." -- Smyly, on the grand slam to Ramirez

Wilson throws out Pedroia

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With Bogaerts batting in the sixth, Pedroia attempted to steal second, but Forsythe took a perfect feed from catcher Bobby Wilson to nab Pedroia. The Red Sox challenged the call, and after a one-minute, 35-second review, the call stood.

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: After missing all of last season after having Tommy John surgery, Alex Cobb returns to Tampa Bay's rotation in Friday's 7:10 p.m. ET game against the Blue Jays. The 28-year-old struggled in eight rehab starts, going 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA and a 1.80 WHIP.

Red Sox: After playing 23 consecutive games, Boston will have an off-day on Thursday and then send David Price to the mound against the A's. Price has won four straight games, and first pitch is slated for 10:05 p.m.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Deesha Thosar is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston.

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com based in Boston and covered the Rays on Wednesday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.