ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Xander Bogaerts homered, Rick Porcello carried a shutout into the sixth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 3-2 on Saturday night.
Bogaerts also doubled in a run, giving him six extra-base hits three days into the season and extending the AL’s longest active hitting streak to 12 games. The shortstop’s second three-hit game boosted his batting average to .667 (8 for 12) with five doubles.
Bogaerts hit a solo drive in the second against Andrew Kittredge (0-1), a reliever making his first big league start in the debut of Tampa Bay’s plan to use bullpen days in place of a customary fifth starter.
Porcello (1-0) shut down the Rays on four hits through five innings, but was unable to get through the sixth.
Carlos Gomez doubled leading off the inning, and Matt Duffy’s one-out infield hit chased the right-hander. Joey Wendle’s sacrifice fly off Heath Hembree made it 3-1.
Gomez went deep in the eighth, and Tampa Bay put the potential tying run on base in the ninth before Craig Kimbrel got C.J. Cron to line into a double play and retired Denard Span on a popup for his second save.
The Rays planned to open the season with a four-man rotation and use bullpen days as needed in place of a fifth starter.
The non-traditional approach took a hit on the final day of spring training when the club announced Nathan Eovaldi had loose bodies in the right elbow and needed arthroscopic surgery.
With just three healthy starters — Chris Archer, Blake Snell and Jake Faria — on the roster, manager Kevin Cash will need another bullpen day Monday, when Tampa Bay begins a two-game series against the Yankees in New York.
Kittredge allowed two runs and three hits in 3 1/3 innings. Rookie Ryan Yarbrough worked the next four innings in his major league debut.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee surgery) is scheduled to go six innings in his next minor league start Tuesday at Boston’s spring training complex in Fort Myers, Florida. … LHP Drew Pomeranz (left forearm) is expected to pitch in a minor league game Wednesday in Fort Myers.
Rays: Eovaldi, who had surgery Friday to remove loose bodies in his right elbow, could resume pitching activities in eight to 10 weeks. He missed all of 2017 after Tommy John surgery.
Red Sox: RHP Hector Velazquez starts the finale of the four-game series.
Rays: Faria, coming off six no-hit innings in his final spring training appearance, makes his season debut.
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