Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi (left) rolls his left ankle while being erased on a double play on Wednesday vs. the Rays. (Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
The Red Sox lost a game in horrible fashion, but that might not have been the worst takeaway from Wednesday’s 4-3 walk-off loss to the Rays.
The defeat came at a steep cost as rookie outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who has given the team an injection of life, badly rolled his left ankle while attempting to retreat to second base on a grounder to short. He needed to be helped off the field and was later diagnosed with a knee sprain.
The Red Sox blew a 3-0 lead and lost in the 11th on an error by pitcher Heath Hembree, who failed to glove Travis Shaw’s underhand flip at first. Hembree fired home in an attempt to nail runner Luke Maile at the plate, but Sandy Leon couldn’t handle the throw and Maile was ruled safe as the Rays celebrated.
The Red Sox had a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the American League East, because the Blue Jays lost to the Angels. The Red Sox lost for just the third part in 13 games.
Seeking his 18th win, starter Rick Porcello faltered with a 3-2 lead in the eighth when he hung a curveball to Evan Longoria, who did not miss, sending it deep into the left field seats for a game-tying homer.
Porcello ended up going 7 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on nine hits, striking out eight. He lacked command for the first three innings before finding a groove with his curveball, at least until Longoria hit it out. He threw a season-high 123 pitches.
David Ortiz put the Red Sox on the board in the first with a two-run homer, his 30th of the season, topping 100 RBIs in the process. The Red Sox added another run in the third on a Mookie Betts RBI single.
The Rays chipped away with two in the third on a two-run double by Brad Miller after Porcello looked like he’d escape a two-out jam.
Wednesday marked the 12th time in Dustin Pedroia’s career that he’s stolen two bases in a game.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
— David Ortiz continues to swing the bat well, blasting his 30th home run of the year in the same stadium where he recorded No. 500 last September. He not only becomes the oldest player in history to record 30 homers, he also becomes the first 40-year-old to put together a 30-100 season.
— Brock Holt had a solid night defensively at third — most notably when he saved a run in the fourth inning by backhanding a grounder with two outs and runners on second and third before spinning to make a strong throw to first.
WHAT WENT WRONG
— Andrew Benitiendi left the game with a left knee injury. He was hurt after making a poor read on the bases and attempting to return to second on a grounder to short. He was tagged out and twisted his left ankle awkwardly, though his injury was later announced as a knee strain.
— Porcello had a rough eighth inning, allowing a home run and another baserunner. When he exited, he had reached 123 pitches.
— Robbie Ross Jr. walked Logan Morrison, the only batter he faced. Ross Jr. was attempting to close out the eighth inning, but instead had to be replaced by Brad Ziegler, who escaped a bases-loaded jam with a strikeout.
— The last play was a disaster. Hembree should’ve held onto Shaw’s flip, and if Leon had been able to glove Hembree’s relay, Maile would’ve been out at the plate.