06/22 23:45 CDT Franco HR, double in debut, but Rays lose to Red Sox in 11th
Franco HR, double in debut, but Rays lose to Red Sox in 11th
By MARK DIDTLER
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) --- As advertised, Wander Franco got off to a
tremendous start for the Tampa Bay Rays with his production --- and prediction.
Franco hit a three-run homer and doubled in his big league debut for the Rays,
who lost their seventh straight in falling to the Boston Red Sox 9-5 in 11
innings Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old Franco, considered the best prospect in the minor leagues,
connected in the fifth off Eduardo Rodriguez and drew his first curtain call in
"In that at-bat I actually knew I was going to hit a home run because that was
the pitch I was looking for," Franco said through an interpreter. "I ended up
getting the pitch that I was looking for and I was able to help the team out."
Franco pointed toward his father, who was at the game, while crossing the
plate. He got the ball back and plans to display it at his home in the
"I felt super good," Franco said through an interpreter. "God sent me a
surprise with all this."
Praised Rays manager Kevin Cash: "Pretty electric player."
"Win or loss, we're trying to win them all obviously, but it had to be a great
day for Wander and his family. A talented player that's going to be fun to
watch in the coming months," he said.
Franco doubled in the seventh and finished 2 for 4 with a walk. The
switch-hitting infielder came up with one out and a runner on first in the
ninth, and grounded out to the mound.
"What a good player he is," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "The way he controls
the at-bat for how young he is. They have a special one."
Rafael Devers hit a hard grounder that went between first baseman Yandy Daz's
legs for a two-run double during Boston's four-run 11th off Pete Fairbanks
Darwinzon Hernandez (2-2) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings, retiring Brandon Lowe
with two on and two outs in the 10th.
Hunter Renfroe homered for the AL East-leading Red Sox. Rodriguez allowed five
runs and seven hits over six innings, and had his winless streak reach eight
Renfroe had an RBI single and Kike Hernndez hit a sacrifice fly in the 11th.
Called up from Triple-A Durham earlier in the day, Franco received a nice
ovation when he went on the field to run pregame. Some fans at Tropicana Field
stood when Rays' lineup was announced over the public-address system and the
salute grew to full standing ovation with fans in the left field stands
chanting ?Wander Franco" as he walked to the plate to bat in the first.
Batting second and debuting at third base, Franco alertly began a double play
in the eighth. It came after Devers doubled off an overhanging catwalk.
Franco fielded Renfroe's grounder and ran toward Devers, who was called for
running out the base line trying to advance. Franco then threw to first to
complete the play.
J.D. Martinez drove in two with a double, Devers had a sacrifice fly and
Renfroe hit a two-run homer off Ryan Yarbrough as Boston went up 5-2 in the
Francisco Meja drove in a run with an infield single in the first, with Franco
scoring the second run on shortstop Xander Bogaerts' errant throw to second
trying to get a forceout.
Tampa Bay's Kevin Kiermaier was out at second in the ninth after 2B Hernndez
lost the ball trying to make a tag --- the ball went to Bogaerts, who picked it
up and stepped on the bag. ... Boston's Bobby Dalbec was thrown at the plate
trying to score from third in the 10th after Fairbanks' pitch got past catcher
Mike Zunino. "It was a crazy game," Cora said.
C Connor Wong was called up from Triple-A Worcester by Boston before the game
and made his major league debut as a pinch-runner at second to start the 11th.
He scored on Devers' go-ahead hit.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) will throw to hitters on Saturday.
... C Kevin Plawecki, hurt Sunday, went on the 10-day IL with a left hamstring
strain. ... INF Christian Arroyo (bruised right shin bone) could be available
Boston RHP Garrett Richards (4-4) and Rays LHP Rich Hill (5-2) are Wednesday
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