Red Sox SS ties it in 9th, delivers 2 hits in 7-run 15th
By Connor Mount
ST. PETERSBURG -- Grimacing, Xander Bogaerts turned to the third-base dugout, spiked his helmet on the ground and kneeled in pain. A pitch from Matt Andriese had run inside and caught the first batter of the game squarely on the hand.
Eight innings later, Bogaerts would still be on the field, delivering the game-tying RBI single in a three-run ninth. About four-and-a-half hours after that hit-by-pitch, Bogaerts was coming up to the plate for another turn, collecting a single in the 13th.
And again in the 15th, there was Bogaerts notching another single. Two more, actually, to finish 4-for-7. The Red Sox sent 12 men to the plate and scored seven runs, with Bogaerts collecting the final RBI hit in a 13-6 win over the Rays on Friday.
"That's tough, especially getting hit right in the same spot that he was before," Boston ace Chris Sale said. "But that's who he is. We all know he can hit, we all know he's a great player. He was huge for us tonight, obviously."
Bogaerts earned a painful trip to first base guided by his manager when Athletics reliever Santiago Casilla ran one too far inside on him Thursday.
"I hope I don't get hit [Saturday]," Bogaerts joked. "That would not be good."
Bogaerts has been pegged six times this year, but they've often been painful. On July 6 at Tropicana Field, Jacob Faria also hit Bogaerts in the hand with a first-inning pitch. That time, the Red Sox removed Bogaerts from the contest and held him out of the next day's lineup as well. Trainers gave Bogaerts' left hand and wrist a long look Friday, but deemed him fit to compete.
The Red Sox had to be happy with that decision as Bogaerts reached base five times in a row from the ninth inning onward.
Two weeks shy of his 25th birthday, Bogaerts has 58 three-hit games. Carl Yastrzemski and Bobby Doerr both had 58 such games by age 25, and Ted Williams (70) is the only Red Sox player with more before turning 25. All three are in the Hall of Fame.
But thinking about Bogaerts' place in Red Sox lore, or anywhere else, will have to wait as he and his team could use some sleep after another late night at the ballpark. They've played four games of 15 innings or longer this year, their most since 1951. They're 13-3 in extra innings.
"Every game is important equally," Bogaerts said. "If it's nine [innings], if it's 12, if it's 15. There are no games going eight innings, it's nine and above. As long as you win, that's all that matters."
Connor Mount is a reporter for MLB.com based in St. Petersburg. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.