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Sunday, 25 September 2016 02:27

Boston Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia Grand Slam Pushes Sox To 10th Straight Win

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Mookie Betts "jumped on it" in his postgame dance Mookie Betts "jumped on it" in his postgame dance Michael Ivins/Getty Images

Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth grand slam of his career and second of the season in the seventh inning to propel the Boston Red Sox (91-64) to their 10th straight victory and postseason berth with a 6-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays (65-89) at the Trop. 

TAMPA BAY - It looked like the most probable loss of the current streak the Red Sox are on, but Pedroia decided to change that with one swing of the bat. 

Boston was trailing 3-2 in the seventh inning with two outs when Pedey lifted the eighth pitch of his at-bat against Danny Farquhar into the left field seats for a grand salami and it proved to be enough as the Sox held on to the win. They swept the Yankees in a four game set, swept the Orioles in another four game set and have now won the first two against the Rays. 

The grand slam came at just the right time to give starting pitcher and Cy Young probable, Rick Porcello, to his 22nd win of the season, most for a Boston pitcher since 1999 (Pedro Martinez). 

Here's how it happened: 

Sox jump on top first in the 2nd

After a scoreless first, Boston got the board after Mookie Betts led off the inning with a single. One out later, Brock Holt ripped an RBI double to deep left out of the reach of Kevin Kiermaier to give Boston a 1-0 lead. 

Tampa looked to retaliate with a run, as Corey Dickerson singled and Nick Franklin doubled to give the Rays second and third with one out. 

But next, Mikie Mahtook grounded a ball to Pedroia at deep second, who fired home to retire Dickerson. The nice defense continued, as Holt made a sliding stab on an Alexei Ramirez at third base and fired to first to retire the side. 

Porcello has one bad inning, Tampa takes lead

In the third, Tampa was in business with two on and two out. Curt Casali and Kiermaier were on base with singles with Brad Miller at the dish. 

Miller ripped a 2-RBI double to deep center to give Tampa a 2-1 lead off Porcello. Next batter, Dickerson drove in Miller with an RBI single to make it 3-1 Rays. Those would be the only runs Porcello would give up, keeping his string of outings with three runs or less at 12 straight games. 

Sox grab one back and pitchers settle down

Boston got within a run in the fourth when Hanley Ramirez drove in his 110th RBI, sending home Mookie Betts from second. 

Neither pitcher gave up a baserunner in the next three half innings, as Porcello struck out the side in order in the fourth. In the sixth, Porcello walked Miller, which was just his second walk in his last seven starts. 

Pedey creates more magic and Porcello gets win

The Sox faced three relievers in the seventh and it all amounted to one swing of the bat. Ryan Garton started the inning and was greeted by back-to-back singles from Ramirez and Holt. 

After Chris Young grounded out, sending Ramirez to third and Holt to second, Garton was pulled for Dana Eveland to face Jackie Bradley Jr. He walked to load the bases, and Farquhar came on to face Sandy Leon. 

Leon hit into a fielders' choice and Hanley was thrown out at home, setting up Pedroia with the bases loaded. 

He hit his grand slam and sent Red Sox fans into a frenzy, and was even twirled around by Ramirez. 

Porcello stretched himself out with a 6-3 lead in the seventh and recorded an out.

Porcello's Line (W): 6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 9 K 

He didn't reach seven innings for the first time in his last 12 starts, but his nine strikeouts tied a season-high, so not too bad of a day for future Cy. 

Rays' starter Matt Andriese pitched well too, giving up two runs in six frames. 

Bullpen holds lead and Sox are in the playoffs!

A combination of Robby Scott (one batter), Brad Ziegler (one batter), Robbie Ross Jr. (one batter), Koji Uehara and Craig Kimbrel finished off the last 2.2 innings and the Sox nailed down a playoff spot. 

Kimbrel was the only one to give up a run, as Logan Forsythe took him deep. 

Boston leads the division by 5.5 over the Jays and 7 over the Orioles with seven games left. They are guaranteed a wild card spot and should be locking up the division in due time. 

What's Next?

The Red Sox will go for their third straight sweep and 11th win in a row on Sunday afternoon at 1:10 as Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.84) will face Jake Odorizzi (9-6, 3.73) on the mound. 

If you want MORE coverage of your team, check out Red Sox Beat Podcast here on CLNS Radio! The latest episode is below and check us out on ITUNES as well!   
Jess Thomas

Jess Thomas is the Red Sox Beat Team Manager and a member of the Boston Celtics beat team for CLNS Radio. Jess is a co-host on CLNS Radio's Red Sox Beat Podcast as well as a contributor to Celtics Postgame Shows.

Jess currently is a Celtics Production Assistant at the official home of Boston Celtics telecasts, Comcast Sports Net New England.

Jess also currently writes for the MetroWest Daily News.

Previously, Jess was General Manager for Framingham State University's radio station, WJDM 91.3 FM, as well as sports editor for FSU's newspaper, the Gatepost.

Prior to joining CLNS Radio, Jess was an intern at CSNNE as well as WCVB.

Jess is a 2014 graduate of Framingham State University, with a degree in Communication Arts.

You can follow Jess on Twitter @CLNS_JessSayin