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Red Sox 6, Rays 0 (5 innings)

In a rain-shortened Red Sox win, Xander Bogaerts provided one more great moment for the Fenway faithful

Xander Bogaerts belted a grand slam in what may be one of his final outings in a Sox uniform.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

As the rain poured through the night Tuesday evening, putting the finishing touches on a Red Sox season drenched in disappointment which will see its skies turn dark for good in 2022 after Wednesday, Xander Bogaerts offered a ray of light.

With the bases loaded and the Sox leading, 1-0, Bogaerts clobbered a 1-0 offering from Rays lefthander Colin Poche. The ball was lost in the mist, but it cleared the Green Monster for a grand slam.

The rain became too much. The inning was never completed. The game went into delay and ultimately was called, making it an official game, a 6-0 Red Sox win, and a series victory.


In truth, though, the contest did not need to be completed. For the scarce crowd on-hand, soaked at their seats, seeing their cornerstone superstar bathed in just a brief moment of fulfillment was all they needed.

Bogaerts and teammate Rafael Devers embrace after Bogaerts delivered a fifth-inning grand slam Tuesday night at Fenway.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

It could be Bogaerts’s final great moment in a Red Sox uniform. And for those who could get a good look at him, through the sheets of rain and winds blowing toward the southwest, they could see a boy chiseled into a man. A 21-year-old getting his first taste of the big leagues who was frightened to start Game 5 of the ALDS in 2013 only to hear, “hey, kid, you’re starting tomorrow” from his manager.

Sometimes, all a ballplayer needs is that extra tap on the rear from someone else to catapult them toward their destined greatness — even if it seems a bit premature.

Bogaerts, undoubtedly, found his greatness in a Sox uniform.

It was his 15th homer of the year; his seventh career grand slam, the most ever by a Red Sox shortstop. This one left his bat at 110.6 miles per hour, traveling 421 feet.

“Sometimes, stuff is meant to be,” Bogaerts said.


If you didn’t get a good look at it, or him, Bogaerts did.

“It’s been a while,” manager Alex Cora said. “He’s been searching and not swinging at the right pitches and he was ahead in the count, got a breaking ball, and put a good swing on it. It was good to see.”

It’s been a grind. This year, especially. From the aching shoulder to the contract talks to the losing, 2022 has tested Bogaerts in ways it hasn’t before.

“Losing definitely didn’t help,” Bogaerts said. “There was a lot of uncertainty at the trade deadline. We’re we [going for it], we’re we not. The contract stuff, I had to talk about it, pretty much throughout the whole year, taking the attention away from the team if we were winning, I feel like it would have been much easier for me, but that was not the case.”

Bogaerts’s shield didn’t come down for most of his postgame interview. With just a game to play, considered what it might be like to make his last appearance Wednesday at Fenway as a Red Sox with the strong possibility of rain. Yes, he wants the sun to shine. But with rain, perhaps, the crowd won’t be as large and, thus, the finality not as emotional.

Bogaerts' blast helped lift the Red Sox to a rain-shortened win.Jim Davis/Globe Staff

But the often-emotionally aware Bogaerts couldn’t keep his guard up, not for too long. It’s not who he is. “I enjoy every moment,” Bogaerts said. “I appreciate it, the fans. The ups and downs. I’m proud of the man I’ve become.”


After admiring his homer, Bogaerts shuffled his feet, clicked the heels of his cleats together, casually flipped his bat and jogged toward first. He knew it was gone.

“I just wanted to watch it,” Bogaerts said. “I haven’t hit balls like that this year.”

Sox fans should get a good look at Bogaerts, too. They may never look upon his like again.

Julian McWilliams can be reached at julian.mcwilliams@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @byJulianMack.