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Red Sox 13, Rays 6 (15 innings)

Red Sox rally to win another extra-inning nail-biter

Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield congratulated Mitch Moreland on his solo home run in the fourth inning Friday. Steve Nesius/AP

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — At some point, the ability to win extra-inning games becomes less of a coincidence and more of a characteristic. The Red Sox have come to believe that is true this season.

“We fight,” Chris Sale said Friday night after a 13-6 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays that took 15 innings. “I really don’t know what else to say . . . it’s a never-quit attitude.”

After the Yankees beat Baltimore, the Sox were three outs away from having their lead in the American League East trimmed to two games. But they scored three runs in the ninth inning to tie the game.

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The Sox took the lead in the 14th inning, saw the Rays come back to tie it, then scored seven runs to put it away.

The Sox are 13-3 in extra innings this season. Friday’s game was the fourth they have won in 13 or more innings.

“Our guys have done such a great job as we’ve gotten into some of these really long games, almost marathon-type games,” manager John Farrell said. “They don’t quit. They keep digging for a little extra.”

In a game that lasted six hours and five minutes, the Sox had 21 hits and their pitchers struck out 24, a franchise record. The teams combined to use 21 pitchers and 31 position players. There were 541 pitches thrown.

“There’s no panic in our team. We just stay in the moment and go pitch-by-pitch,” said Deven Marrero, who entered the game in the ninth inning and went 2 for 4. “That’s what makes us special.”

The Sox sent 12 batters to the plate in the 15th inning. The first run scored on an error. Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland followed with RBI singles.

A second error added a run. Marrero’s two-run double ended any suspense. But Xander Bogaerts (4 for 7) added an RBI single just to be safe.

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Brandon Workman, who allowed the tying run in the 14th, was the winner. Blaine Boyer finally ended the game by striking out Curt Casali at 1:15 a.m. on Saturday.

Blake Swihart, who had not caught a major league game since April 16, 2016, handled the final seven innings. Only one run scored on his watch.

“They called my name and I was ready,” said Swihart, who initially came into the game as a pinch runner. “That was exciting.”

Down by three runs going into the ninth inning, the Sox rallied against Rays closer Alex Colome.

Moreland drew a walk and advanced on a wild pitch. When Rafael Devers grounded to second, Danny Espinosa booted the ball and Moreland scored. Devers ended up on second.

Christian Vazquez pinch hit and singled to left field to send Devers to third. Rajai Davis ran for Vazquez.

Sandy Leon’s single scored Devers. Jackie Bradley Jr. then hammered a pitch to the gap in left center. Kevin Kiermaier made a catch for the ages, diving to snare the ball as he tumbled onto the warning track.

“I was mad at the moment. But you definitely have to respect that play,” said Bradley, who also is a terrific defensive center fielder. “A tremendous play from a tremendous player. An unbelievable catch.”

With one out, Bogaerts drove a single through a drawn-in infield to tie the game.

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Colome struck out Dustin Pedroia. Lefthander Jose Alvarado came out of the bullpen to retire Benintendi on a grounder and leave two runners stranded.

Craig Kimbrel struck out three of the four batters he faced in the ninth to send the game to extra innings. Addison Reed threw a scoreless 10th inning, leaving two runners stranded.

Facing rookie Andrew Kittredge in the 11th inning, the Sox loaded the bases with one out and failed to score. Pedroia (0 for 9) lined to shortstop and Adeiny Hechavarria made a leaping catch.

Kittredge fell behind Benintendi 3 and 0 but came back to get him on a fly ball to left field, ending a nine-pitch at-bat.

Betts led off the 12th inning with a double off Brad Boxberger and again the Sox could not score. They finally scored in the 14th on singles by Betts, Moreland, and Devers.

After Joe Kelly went three perfect innings, Workman started the bottom of the 14th and allowed a leadoff homer by Kiermaier.

The ninth-inning comeback took Sale off the hook. He allowed four runs on six hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Sale had a 2.06 ERA in five starts against the Rays this season. But this game was a struggle for the lefthander as he twice failed to hold leads.

Sale has a 4.25 earned run average in nine stats since Aug. 1.


Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.