Span's 3-run triple helps Rays rally in 8th past Red Sox 6-4

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The way the Tampa Bay Rays were cleaning house and slashing payroll, Denard Span spent much of spring training wondering if he'd ever play a game for his hometown team.

The biggest name acquired by the budget-minded club during a winter of revamping the roster survived the purge and made a huge splash in his debut on opening day, lining a bases-loaded triple to highlight a six-run eighth inning that carried the Rays over the Boston Red Sox 6-4 Thursday.

''I wasn't 100 percent sure that I was going to get this opportunity. ... It's just a true blessing, just to be able to play in front of my family and friends. I can't ask for anything better,'' Span, who grew up in Tampa and was obtained in a December trade that sent Evan Longoria to San Francisco.

A .283 hitter over parts of 10 seasons with the Giants, Minnesota Twins and Washington Nationals, was part of a starting lineup featuring just one position player from opening day a year ago.

The Rays were shut out on one hit through the sixth by Chris Sale, and took advantage of four walks in the eighth to come back.

Span lined a 3-2 pitch off the right field wall, setting off a raucous celebration among the sellout crowd of 31,042 at Tropicana Field.

''My heart started racing. I could hear the roar of the crowd. If I could have cried, I would have cried. But I was running so I couldn't,'' Span said.

''Everybody greeted me with a bunch of energy, a bunch of love,'' he said of the party that continued in the clubhouse. ''That was probably in all my 9 1/2, 10 years, probably the best postgame celebration by any team I've been on. Just a fun time.''

Span's triple was only Tampa Bay's third hit of the day and gave the Rays a 5-4 lead. Adeiny Hechavarria followed with an infield single off Carson Smith (0-1), providing a two-run cushion for closer Alex Colome to earn a save.

''Exciting. Another day at the ballpark, I guess,'' Rays manager Kevin Cash said. ''Speaks volumes about our clubhouse about this club to bounce back.''

The Red Sox lost in Alex Cora's first game as a major league manager. They wasted a superb start from Sale, who showed no ill effects from being hit by a line drive in the hip in his final spring training start. The 2017 big league strikeout leader fanned nine and walked three.

Matt Barnes pitched the seventh for Boston, which let the game slip away after Joe Kelly entered in the eighth.

It happens, man. It's part of the game. I've been there,'' Sale said of the late collapse.

''I know how it feels and nobody feels worse than them. I don't see anybody in here hanging their heads or losing confidence,'' the Boston ace added. ''We take this one off the chin, go back and get some sleep and come back (Friday) ready to go.''

Boston built a 4-0 lead against Rays starter Chris Archer, with Eduardo Nunez hitting a two-run, inside-the-park homer and Rafael Devers driving in two runs with a seventh-inning double and a RBI grounder in the second.

Archer allowed four runs and six hits in six-plus innings. The two-time All-Star was in danger of falling to 2-13 lifetime against Boston before Span delivered his first hit as a Ray.

''It was a huge swing of emotions. The hometown boy is the hometown hero, and it was great to see,'' Archer said. ''We battled all game and we were able to pull it off. It was awesome.''

SELLOUT

The Rays, who routinely rank near the bottom of the majors in attendance, sold out their home opener for the 13th consecutive season.

CIRCLING THE BASES

Nunez's inside-the-park homer was the second of his career. The other also came against the Rays while playing for the Minnesota Twins in 2016. It was Boston's first inside-the-park homer during the regular season since Blake Swihart had one on the road against the New York Mets on Aug. 28, 2015. It was their one on opening day since Carl Yastrzemski on April 10, 1968 at Detroit.

MORNING BLAZE

Rays team president Brian Auld said there were no injuries from a small grease fire in the upper deck of Tropicana Field that created a smoky haze over the playing field at the dome stadium five hours before game time.

The St. Petersburg Fire Department closed media and employee gates, but did not evacuate those already inside the ballpark.

The fire did not impact pregame work or activities.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia, on the disabled list following left knee surgery, had a streak of consecutive starts on opening day end at 11. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right knee surgery) worked four innings in a minor league spring training game.

Rays: There's no definitive timetable for RHP Nathan Eovaldi to return from arthroscopic surgery for loose bodies in his pitching elbow. He was sharp in his final spring training outing Monday, however manager Kevin Cash said the following night the pitcher noticed the first sign of a problem when he woke up with swelling in the elbow.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP David Price (6-3, 3.38 ERA in 2017) faces his former team in the second game of a four-game series. Price was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft and pitched for the Rays from 2008-2014, winning the AL Cy Young Award in 2012. He's 3-3 with a 3.91 ERA in nine appearances, including eight starts, against his old team.

Rays: LHP Blake Snell (5-7, 4.04 in 2017) looks to build on improvement he showed over his final 10 starts of last season, when he went 5-1 with a 2.84 ERA after being recalled from the minors on Aug. 8.

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Copyright 2018 by AP. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of AP is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
BOS0-1
030000100480
TB1-0
00000006X640
  • W: A. Pruitt (1-0)L: C. Smith (0-1)S: A. Colome (1)
  • HR: BOS - E. Nunez (1)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
M. Betts RF40100011.250.250.250.5000.5
A. Benintendi LF40000001.000.000.000.0000.0
H. Ramirez 1B30000120.000.250.000.2500.0
M. Moreland 1B00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
J. Martinez DH31000121.000.250.000.2501.0
X. Bogaerts SS42300000.750.7501.2502.0007.0
R. Devers 3B40120002.250.250.500.7504.0
E. Nunez 2B41221011.500.5001.5002.0008.5
J. Bradley CF40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
C. Vazquez C30100001.333.333.333.6671.0
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    M. Duffy 3B41110012.250.250.500.7503.5
    K. Kiermaier CF31000121.000.250.000.2501.0
    C. Gomez RF31000111.000.250.000.2501.5
    C. Cron 1B30000030.000.000.000.000-1.5
    a- B. Miller PH-1B01010100.0001.000.0001.0003.0
    W. Ramos C40000013.000.000.000.000-0.5
    D. Span LF31130100.333.5001.0001.5008.0
    M. Smith LF00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    A. Hechavarria SS40210000.500.500.5001.0003.0
    D. Robertson 2B21000122.000.333.000.3331.0
    b- J. Wendle PH-2B10000001.000.000.000.0000.0
    R. Refsnyder DH10000211.000.667.000.6671.5
    • a-walked for Cron in the 8th
    • b-grounded out for Robertson in the 8th
    BATTING
    • 2B - X. Bogaerts 2 (2), R. Devers, E. Nunez
    • HR - E. Nunez
    • RBI - R. Devers 2 (2), E. Nunez 2 (2)
    BATTING
    • 2B - M. Duffy
    • 3B - D. Span
    • RBI - M. Duffy, B. Miller, D. Span 3 (3), A. Hechavarria
    • 2-Out RBI - D. Span 3 (3), A. Hechavarria
    FIELDING
    • PB - C. Vazquez
    FIELDING
    • Outfield Assist - C. Gomez
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    C. Sale6.01003900.000.6721.5
    M. Barnes1.00000000.000.003.0
    J. Kelly0.1144310108.0012.00-7.5
    C. Smith (L, 0-1) (BS, 1)0.222211027.004.50-9.5
    PITCHERSIP
    C. Sale6.0
    M. Barnes1.0
    J. Kelly0.1
    C. Smith (L, 0-1) (BS, 1)0.2
    PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
    C. Archer6.06441616.001.1710.0
    A. Pruitt (W, 1-0)2.01001000.001.0011.0
    A. Colome (S, 1)1.01000000.001.009.0
    PITCHERSIP
    C. Archer6.0
    A. Pruitt (W, 1-0)2.0
    A. Colome (S, 1)1.0
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - C. Sale 92-54, M. Barnes 13-9, J. Kelly 29-13, C. Smith 20-11
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Sale 4-5, M. Barnes 1-2, C. Smith 1-0
    • Batters Faced - C. Sale 22, M. Barnes 3, J. Kelly 5, C. Smith 5
    PITCHING
    • Pitches-Strikes - C. Archer 81-56, A. Pruitt 26-18, A. Colome 16-11
    • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Archer 6-5, A. Pruitt 3-2, A. Colome 2-1
    • Batters Faced - C. Archer 24, A. Pruitt 7, A. Colome 4
    PLAYERS OF THE GAME
    123456789RHE
    BOS0-1
    030000100480
    TB1-0
    00000006X640
    HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
    M. Betts RF40100011.250.250.250.5000.5
    A. Benintendi LF40000001.000.000.000.0000.0
    H. Ramirez 1B30000120.000.250.000.2500.0
    M. Moreland 1B00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
    J. Martinez DH31000121.000.250.000.2501.0
    X. Bogaerts SS42300000.750.7501.2502.0007.0
    R. Devers 3B40120002.250.250.500.7504.0
    E. Nunez 2B41221011.500.5001.5002.0008.5
    J. Bradley CF40000002.000.000.000.0000.0
    C. Vazquez C30100001.333.333.333.6671.0
    Total334841269-----
      HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
      M. Duffy 3B41110012.250.250.500.7503.5
      K. Kiermaier CF31000121.000.250.000.2501.0
      C. Gomez RF31000111.000.250.000.2501.5
      C. Cron 1B30000030.000.000.000.000-1.5
      a- B. Miller PH-1B01010100.0001.000.0001.0003.0
      W. Ramos C40000013.000.000.000.000-0.5
      D. Span LF31130100.333.5001.0001.5008.0
      M. Smith LF00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
      A. Hechavarria SS40210000.500.500.5001.0003.0
      D. Robertson 2B21000122.000.333.000.3331.0
      b- J. Wendle PH-2B10000001.000.000.000.0000.0
      R. Refsnyder DH10000211.000.667.000.6671.5
      Total28646071111-----
      • a-walked for Cron in the 8th
      • b-grounded out for Robertson in the 8th
      BATTING
      • 2B - X. Bogaerts 2 (2), R. Devers, E. Nunez
      • HR - E. Nunez
      • RBI - R. Devers 2 (2), E. Nunez 2 (2)
      BATTING
      • 2B - M. Duffy
      • 3B - D. Span
      • RBI - M. Duffy, B. Miller, D. Span 3 (3), A. Hechavarria
      • 2-Out RBI - D. Span 3 (3), A. Hechavarria
      FIELDING
      • PB - C. Vazquez
      FIELDING
      • Outfield Assist - C. Gomez
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Sale6.01003900.000.6721.5
      M. Barnes1.00000000.000.003.0
      J. Kelly0.1144310108.0012.00-7.5
      C. Smith (L, 0-1) (BS, 1)0.222211027.004.50-9.5
      Total8.04667110---
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Sale6.0
      M. Barnes1.0
      J. Kelly0.1
      C. Smith (L, 0-1) (BS, 1)0.2
      Total8.0
      PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
      C. Archer6.06441616.001.1710.0
      A. Pruitt (W, 1-0)2.01001000.001.0011.0
      A. Colome (S, 1)1.01000000.001.009.0
      Total9.0844261---
      PITCHERSIP
      C. Archer6.0
      A. Pruitt (W, 1-0)2.0
      A. Colome (S, 1)1.0
      Total9.0
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Sale 92-54, M. Barnes 13-9, J. Kelly 29-13, C. Smith 20-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Sale 4-5, M. Barnes 1-2, C. Smith 1-0
      • Batters Faced - C. Sale 22, M. Barnes 3, J. Kelly 5, C. Smith 5
      PITCHING
      • Pitches-Strikes - C. Archer 81-56, A. Pruitt 26-18, A. Colome 16-11
      • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C. Archer 6-5, A. Pruitt 3-2, A. Colome 2-1
      • Batters Faced - C. Archer 24, A. Pruitt 7, A. Colome 4
      • 8TH INNING
        Hechavarria reached on an infield single to second, Span scored46
        Span tripled to deep right, Kiermaier, Gomez and Miller scored45
        Miller walked, Duffy scored, Kiermaier to third, Gomez to second42
        Duffy doubled to deep right center, Robertson scored41
      • 7TH INNING
        Devers doubled to deep right, Bogaerts scored40
      • 2ND INNING
        Nunez homered to left center, Bogaerts scored30
        Devers grounded out to shortstop, Martinez scored, Bogaerts to third10
      • 9TH INNING
        • Mallex Smith in left
        • Alex Colome relieved Austin Pruitt
        • X. Bogaerts: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Bogaerts lined out to center
        • R. Devers: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Ball, Devers grounded out to second
        • E. Nunez: Ball, Nunez doubled to deep left
        • J. Bradley: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Bradley grounded out to second
        • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 8TH INNING
        • A. Pruitt Pitching:
        • M. Betts: Strike looking, Strike looking, Betts singled to center
        • A. Benintendi: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Benintendi flied out to left
        • H. Ramirez: Ball, Foul, Pickoff attempt, Foul, Ball, Betts out at second, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ramirez walked
        • J. Martinez: Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Martinez reached on fielder's choice to third, Ramirez out at second
        • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • Mitch Moreland at first
        • Joe Kelly relieved Matt Barnes
        • D. Robertson: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Robertson walked
        • R. Refsnyder: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Refsnyder struck out looking
        • M. Duffy: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Duffy doubled to deep right center, Robertson scored
        • K. Kiermaier: Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Kiermaier walked
        • C. Gomez: Strike looking, Ball, Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Ball, Gomez walked, Duffy to third, Kiermaier to second
        • Brad Miller hit for C.J. Cron
        • Carson Smith relieved Joe Kelly
        • B. Miller: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Miller walked, Duffy scored, Kiermaier to third, Gomez to second
        • W. Ramos: Strike looking, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ramos struck out swinging
        • D. Span: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Span tripled to deep right, Kiermaier, Gomez and Miller scored
        • A. Hechavarria: Ball, Ball, Hechavarria reached on an infield single to second, Span scored
        • Joey Wendle hit for Daniel Robertson
        • J. Wendle: Strike looking, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Wendle grounded out to shortstop
        • End of the 8th (6 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 7TH INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • X. Bogaerts: Foul, Foul, Bogaerts doubled to deep center
        • R. Devers: Devers doubled to deep right, Bogaerts scored
        • Austin Pruitt relieved Chris Archer
        • E. Nunez: Strike looking, Nunez grounded out to shortstop
        • J. Bradley: Ball, Strike looking, Bradley popped out to third
        • C. Vazquez: Vazquez grounded out to shortstop
        • Middle of the 7th (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • Matt Barnes relieved Chris Sale
        • W. Ramos: Strike looking, Ramos grounded out to third
        • D. Span: Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Span lined out to right
        • A. Hechavarria: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Hechavarria flied out to deep center
        • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 6TH INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • A. Benintendi: Benintendi grounded out to second
        • H. Ramirez: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Ramirez struck out swinging
        • J. Martinez: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Strike looking, Martinez struck out looking
        • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • K. Kiermaier: Strike looking, Ball, Kiermaier grounded out to shortstop
        • C. Gomez: Strike swinging, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Gomez struck out swinging
        • C. Cron: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Cron struck out swinging
        • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 5TH INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • J. Bradley: Bradley grounded out to first
        • C. Vazquez: Strike looking, Vazquez grounded out to third
        • M. Betts: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike looking, Strike swinging, Betts struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • A. Hechavarria: Ball, Strike swinging, Hechavarria grounded out to third
        • D. Robertson: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Robertson struck out swinging
        • R. Refsnyder: Foul, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Refsnyder walked
        • M. Duffy: Duffy grounded out to second
        • End of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 4TH INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • X. Bogaerts: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Bogaerts singled to left
        • R. Devers: Ball, Ball, Devers lined into double play right to first, Bogaerts out at first
        • E. Nunez: Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Nunez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 4th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • C. Cron: Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Cron struck out swinging
        • W. Ramos: Strike looking, Ball, Ramos lined out to center
        • D. Span: Span lined out to shortstop
        • End of the 4th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
      • 3RD INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • A. Benintendi: Ball, Benintendi popped out to first
        • H. Ramirez: Ramirez grounded out to second
        • J. Martinez: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Martinez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • R. Refsnyder: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Refsnyder walked
        • M. Duffy: Ball, Ball, Duffy flied out to center
        • K. Kiermaier: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Kiermaier struck out swinging
        • C. Gomez: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Ball, Gomez lined out to center
        • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Duffy: Matt Duffy facing Chris Sale
      • 2ND INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • J. Martinez: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Martinez walked
        • X. Bogaerts: Ball, Foul, Ball, Bogaerts doubled to deep left, Martinez to third
        • R. Devers: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Devers grounded out to shortstop, Martinez scored, Bogaerts to third
        • E. Nunez: Nunez homered to left center, Bogaerts scored
        • J. Bradley: Bradley popped out to shortstop
        • C. Vazquez: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Vazquez singled to center
        • M. Betts: Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Betts fouled out to first
        • Middle of the 2nd (3 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • C. Cron: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Cron struck out swinging
        • W. Ramos: Strike looking, Ball, Ramos grounded out to shortstop
        • D. Span: Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Span walked
        • A. Hechavarria: Ball, Ball, Hechavarria singled to right, Span to second
        • D. Robertson: Strike looking, Ball, Span to third, Hechavarria to second on passed ball, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Strike looking, Robertson struck out looking
        • End of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
      • 1ST INNING
        • C. Archer Pitching:
        • M. Betts: Betts flied out to center
        • A. Benintendi: Strike looking, Foul, Benintendi grounded out to second
        • H. Ramirez: Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Ramirez struck out swinging
        • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • C. Sale Pitching:
        • M. Duffy: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Duffy struck out swinging
        • K. Kiermaier: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Strike swinging, Kiermaier struck out swinging
        • C. Gomez: Foul, Ball, Gomez popped out to shortstop
        • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
        • M. Duffy: Matt Duffy facing Chris Sale