The future was on display for the Boston Red Sox Friday night at Tropicana Field. Rookie right-hander Anthony Ranaudo pitched another strong game and Mookie Betts hit his first career grand slam as the Red Sox took the first game of a three-game series against the rival Tampa Bay Rays 8-4.
The Red Sox offense got to Rays starter Chris Archer immediately, scoring eight runs in the first two innings. Boston took a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Brock Holt led off the inning with a single. That was followed up with a walk to Dustin Pedroia. After Archer was able to retire his nemesis David Ortiz, he gave up a run-scoring single to Yoenis Cespedes and then another run-producing single to Daniel Nava to give the Sox a 2-0 lead. The third run in the inning came off a muffed routine chopper by Archer.
The next inning was more of the same for the Rays pitcher. He gave up five runs, including a grand slam to Betts who became the youngest Red Sox player to hit a grand slam since 20-year-old Tony Conigliaro in 1965. It was also the first he ever remember hitting in his entire career. After the game, he said, “I can’t tell you the last time I hit one. I don’t remember even hitting one in high school, so that one was pretty enjoyable.”
The eight-run outburst was enough for Ranaudo. The right-hander cruised the rest of the night. He allowed just three earned runs, five hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six innings. The runs allowed came when the game was just about already decided. Ranaudo remained perfect in the big leagues with the victory and continues to make a statement that he should be in the starting rotation in 2015. The Red Sox have now won three out of their last four games.