Díaz gets 3 hits as Tampa Bay Rays beat Boston Red Sox 10-5

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Yandy Diaz had three hits, scored three times and drove in three runs, and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 10-5.

Diaz’s 10th multi-hit game since June 26 raised his batting average to .500 (27 for 54) over his last 15 games.

Tampa Bay had dropped four of six, including a three-game series sweep at lowly Cincinnati.

After being called up for the second time this season on Monday, Luke Bard (1-0) pitched three innings for his first major league win since 2019 with the Los Angeles Angels. The 31-year-old right-hander is making a case for a long reliever spot with the big league club.

“They mentioned last time, when I was optioned, that that was kind of the need up here, and asked if I was comfortable with it,” Bard said. “I told them I would do whatever gets me here and keeps me here. I saw what was needed tonight and I was happy to fill that void.”

J.D. Martinez, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo had two hits apiece for the Red Sox, who have given up 25 runs in losing their last three games against the Rays.

The Rays led 5-1 after nine of their first 13 hitters (including Diaz and Ji-Man Choi twice each) reached base safely against Brayan Bello.

But Martinez hit a two-run double in the third, then doubled again in the fifth and scored on Bogaerts’ tying single.

Only a fully horizontal diving catch by center fielder Brett Phillips, robbing Trevor Story of a second-inning RBI double, kept the Rays from falling behind at that point.

Diaz regained the lead for Tampa Bay with a run-scoring double off Jake Diekman (4-1) in the sixth. Harold Ramirez then made it 7-5 when he drove in Diaz with a pinch-hit single off Kaleb Ort.

Diaz added a sacrifice fly in the eighth when the Rays tacked on three unearned runs.

“A lot of times in this game you hit the ball hard and you get nothing to show for it,” said Diaz, who has hit safely in 14 of 15 games. “Now I’m hitting balls that are falling in for hits.”

Bello permitted five runs and seven hits in four innings in his second major league start.

“He gave us 12 outs. We needed him to do that and he did. … He gave us a chance to win the game,” said manager Alex Cora, who was questioned about leaving the rookie in after a 42-pitch second inning.

“It’s the big leagues,” Cora said. “Yeah, we’ve got to protect him, but we’ve got to protect the rest of the staff. We were short coming into the game.”

Rays opener Matt Wiser, who pitched only the first inning, was followed by Josh Fleming, who gave up four runs in three innings before leaving the game with right oblique tightness.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Red Sox: 3B Rafael Devers, who has missed three games with lower back pain, might start Tuesday night. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (low back inflammation) probably will pitch against the Yankees on Friday night in his first major league start since June 8. … RHP Garrett Whitlock (right hip inflammation) will pitch in another rehab game Tuesday in the hopes of rejoining the Red Sox this weekend. … C Kevin Plawecki was placed on the COVID-19-related IL and C Connor Wong was recalled from Triple-A Worcester.

Rays: SS Wander Franco (broken hamate bone) will have surgery Tuesday and is expected to miss five to eight weeks. … CF Kevin Kiermaier (hip) will visit a specialist after the All-Star break to determine whether surgery will be necessary. … 2B Brandon Lowe (low back discomfort) will play the next three days for Triple-A Durham before being re-evaluated for his return to the roster for the first time since May 16.

UP NEXT

Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale will make his season debut Tuesday night after missing the first half of the season with a right rib stress fracture. Cora said Sale could throw as many as 85 pitches based on his buildup in rehab starts. “The fact that we’re thinking about him pitching on Sunday – that tells you a lot,” Cora said. Corey Kluber (4-5, 3.62 ERA) will pitch for the Rays.

Phillies’ Bryce Harper to miss start of season after elbow surgery

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PHILADELPHIA – Phillies slugger Bryce Harper will miss the start of the 2023 season after he had reconstructive right elbow surgery.

The operation was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.

Harper is expected to return to Philadelphia’s lineup as the designated hitter by the All-Star break. He could be back in right field by the end of the season, according to the team.

The 30-year-old Harper suffered a small ulnar collateral ligament tear in his elbow in April. He last played right field at Miami on April 16. He had a platelet-rich plasma injection in May and shifted to designated hitter.

Harper met Nov. 14 with ElAttrache, who determined the tear did not heal on its own, necessitating surgery.

Even with the elbow injury, Harper led the Phillies to their first World Series since 2009, where they lost in six games to Houston. He hit .349 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 17 postseason games.

In late June, Harper suffered a broken thumb when he was hit by a pitch and was sidelined for two months. The two-time NL MVP still hit .286 with 18 homers and 65 RBIs for the season.

Harper left Washington and signed a 13-year, $330 million contract with the Phillies in 2019. A seven-time All-Star, Harper has 285 career home runs.

With Harper out, the Phillies could use Nick Castellanos and Kyle Schwarber at designated hitter. J.T. Realmuto also could serve as the DH when he needs a break from his catching duties.