BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Red Sox can at least be excited about their young players going into next year.
Rusney Castillo and Christian Vazquez each hit his first major league homer, and Allen Webster pitched seven solid innings to carry the Red Sox to an 11-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
Vazquez finished with a career-best four hits and drove in three runs, and another rookie, Mookie Betts, had three of Boston’s 16 hits. The Red Sox won for the fourth time in six games.
“We’ve got a lot young guys coming up and everybody’s really good,” said Webster, who joined the rotation on July 27. “It’s looking good going forward.”
Castillo, a Cuban outfielder who signed with Boston in August and was promoted from the minors on Sept. 16, collected his first two hits in Fenway Park.
“A lot of very good at-bats, particularly at the bottom of the order and Mookie at the top,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
Evan Longoria had two singles for the Rays, who lost for the fifth time in seven games.
“Give them credit,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said. “They totally beat us up tonight.”
Webster (5-3) was charged with one run and seven hits in his best start since he joined the rotation. The 24-year old rookie right-hander struck out five and walked one.
Leading 3-1 in the third, the Red Sox broke it open by scoring four times while chasing Jeremy Hellickson (1-5).
Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig had one-out singles before Garin Cecchini reached on first baseman James Loney’s error, with Cespedes scoring on the play. Steve Geltz then came in and Castillo drove the reliever’s first pitch into the front row of Green Monster seats for a three-run shot.
Hellickson lasted just 2 1-3 innings, getting tagged for six runs — five earned — and eight hits.
“I feel like I had better stuff,” he said. “Obviously the numbers are really bad, but I don’t think I made that many bad pitches.”
Vazquez’s two-run homer bounced off a billboard above the Monster, lifting the Red Sox to a 3-1 lead in the second. The ball was picked up by a ball girl, handed to a security guard and given to Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield.
“I want to take the ball back for my family,” said Vazquez, who was glad it didn’t clear the Monster and leave the park completely.
Daniel Nava’s sacrifice fly gave Boston a 1-0 edge in the first before Ben Zobrist’s RBI single in the second tied it.
ROOKIE HOME RUN RECORD
Vazquez and Castillo became the seventh and eighth Red Sox rookies to homer this season, establishing a club record. They had seven in three previous seasons, the last in 1996.
YOUNG AT HEART
The Red Sox have played 19 rookies this season, tied with Arizona for most in the majors. It’s the fourth-most rookies in Boston’s history behind 25 in 1911, 22 in ’25 and 21 in ’26.
Rays: Maddon said SS Yunel Escobar, who sprained his left knee Tuesday and was sent to Florida for an MRI, only has a bruise, but he’s done for the remainder of the season because the MRI was “bad enough that he can’t play anymore.”
Red Sox: DH David Ortiz missed his second straight game with a sore left wrist and Farrell said the team “would learn toward” shutting him down, “but at the same time if he feels good to go, we’re certainly not going to hold him out.” Ortiz said after the game that he didn’t think he’d play this weekend. “The doctor told me the other day take it day by day, but it’ll probably take a week at least to go back to normal,” he said. … Farrell also said INF/OF Brock Holt, out with a concussion since Sept. 5, would “probably not” play again. … 3B Will Middlebrooks missed his third straight game with a sprained right hand. “It’s been a rough year,” he said of his season between injuries, a .191 average and shuttling up and down from Triple-A.
The Rays are slated to open a three-game series Friday in Cleveland with RHP Chris Archer (10-8, 3.42 ERA) facing Indians RHP Corey Kluber (17-9, 2.53 ERA). The Red Sox face the Yankees for the final three games of the season, starting Friday. RHP Steven Wright (0-0, 3.38 ERA) makes his first start of the season for Boston. Former Red Sox LHP Chris Capuano (2-4, 4.67 ERA) is scheduled to go for New York.
ALL-STAR SERIES REPLACEMENT
Farrell was selected to manage the major league team in the All-Star series in Japan, replacing former Texas manager Ron Washington, who resigned from his job with the Rangers in early September. The major league stars will face Japan’s national team in a five-game series.