Boston beats WSH and clings to Wildcard

WASHINGTON – Reeling down the stretch of the regular season, the Red Sox used two big hits to keep fighting for a wild-card berth to the playoffs.

Hunter Renfroe and Bobby Dalbec hit back-to-back home runs during a four-run attack in the sixth inning, and Boston beat the Washington Nationals 4-2 on Friday night to stay in position to advance to the postseason.

Boston won for the second time in seven games and would maintain at least one tie in the contest for the second wild-card spot in the American League after starting the day with the same record as the Seattle Mariners.

The Red Sox approached a Yankees game for the first walk after the New York team lost to Tampa Bay. Toronto remains one game behind Boston by defeating Baltimore, two days before the regular season ends.

“One would like things to be different, right? We would like to breathe easier and prepare for next week, like some of the teams that have already secured qualification,” said Boston’s Puerto Rican manager Alex Cora. “But it is what it is, and we have to take advantage of every day. There are not many teams that still have possibilities.”

Venezuelan Eduardo Rodríguez (12-8) pitched a shutout until the sixth inning and allowed five hits. Hansel Robles walked compatriot Juan Soto and Josh Bell with two outs in the ninth before retiring Keibert Ruiz for 13 saves.

Rogers (2-2), the losing pitcher, allowed four runs on seven hits.

For the Red Sox, Puerto Ricans Christian Vázquez 4-1 and Enrique Hernández 3-0 and Dominican Rafael Devers 5-1.

For the Nationals, the Venezuelans Alcides Escobar 5-2 with one scored and one produced and Keibert Ruiz 5-2; the Cuban Yadiel Hernández 1-0 and the Dominican Juan Soto 1-0.