WASHINGTON (AP) – Hunter Renfroe and Bobby Dalbec hit back-to-back home runs during a four-run sixth inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night to stay in postseason position.
Boston won for the second time in seven games and will maintain at least one tie for the second AL wild card after starting the day with the same record as Seattle.
The Red Sox moved closer to a Yankees game for the top wild card after New York lost to Tampa Bay. Toronto stayed within one game of Boston by beating Baltimore with two days remaining in the regular season.
Eduardo Rodríguez (12-8) pitched scoreless in the sixth inning, allowing five attacks. Hansel Robles walked Juan Soto and Josh Bell with two outs in the ninth before retiring Keibert Ruiz for his 13th save.
Struggling to score runs and playing without the designated hitter, manager Alex Cora loaded up his lineup, opening former Nat Kyle Schwarber, Renfroe and JD Martinez together in the outfield for the first time, with Dalbec at first base against the Nationals’ southpaw. Josh Rogers.
The move paid off in the sixth. Martinez singled with one out, putting the runners on first and second. Renfroe homered between left and center on a 2-2 fastball, and Dalbec followed up with a solo shot to the Red Sox bullpen to make it 4-0.
“The hope is that the offense will wake up,” Cora said before the game. “That is the most important. … We are fighting offensively right now. Putting all those guys out there, the hope is to score a lot of runs. “
Alcides Escobar and Jordy Mercer homered for Washington, which has lost three games in a row. Soto walked four times.
Rogers (2-2) allowed four runs and seven hits.
Schwarber hit 25 home runs in 72 games, including 16 in June, for Washington before being traded on July 29. He was the subject of a video tribute before the game and was applauded before his first at-bat. He went 0-3 with two walks.
Washington’s Andrew Stevenson made a couple of catches to save runs in left field. With two in the seventh, he made a jump on the warning track. With two outs and one in the eighth, he made a plummet catch on a sinking liner.
Red Sox: RHP Garrett Whitlock (right chest strain) threw a bullpen session. “I think it’s going to work out and then we’ll decide when to activate it if it’s okay,” Cora said. “Tomorrow, Sunday, whatever.” … Cora said LHP Josh Taylor (lower back strain) has yet to resume baseball activities.
Nationals: Stevenson started in place of Yadiel Hernandez, who was removed from the lineup after undergoing a dental procedure. Hernandez failed as a pinch hitter in the seventh.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Red Sox: Cora hasn’t announced a starter for Saturday’s game.
Nationals: Rookie RHP Josiah Gray (2-2, 5.85) has won consecutive starts after failing to secure a win in his first 10. He has never faced Boston.
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