BOSTON -- Will Middlebrooks returned to the Red Sox lineup on Sunday, after being a late scratch on Saturday with a hamstring cramp. And if it wasn't for him, perhaps the Red Sox wouldn't have played a 17-inning marathon. They may have lost a whole lot earlier than that.
Middlebrooks hit his first career Major League home run in the fifth inning, and it was a grand slam shot that ended up on the rooftop parking lot on Lansdowne Street.
"It was probably the biggest rush of my life," said Middlebrooks after loss. "The Not only was it a home run but it was a grand slam and it tied the game up, which was huge."
The grand slam tied the game at 5-5, and was the second grand slam for the Red Sox this season, as Kevin Youkilis has the other.
Middlebrooks finished the day 2-for-7 and became the first Red Sox player ever to record an extra-base hit in each of his first three Major League games.
Pablo Sandoval hit his fourth home run of the spring and Rusney Castillo had three hits to lead a Red Sox split squad to a 7-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Sandoval, who has won back his third base job after missing nearly all of last season following surgery on his left shoulder, connected for a three-run shot, batting right-handed, against Rays starter Ian Snell in the fifth inning. The switch-hitting Sandoval had abandoned hitting right-handed in 2015, his last full season with the Red Sox.
He's hitting .353 this spring with a 1.051 OPS and 19 RBI.
Castillo, the Cuban outfielder signed to a seven-year, $72 million deal late in 2014 but again likely headed for Triple-A Pawtucket, went 3-for-4 and is hitting .368 this spring. Catcher Blake Swihart, also probably Pawtucket-bound, had two hits and is hitting .325.
Kyle Kendrick strengthened his bid for a spot in the rotation by allowing two runs in six innings and striking out six and Jackie Bradley homered as a Red Sox split squad played to a 3-3 tie with the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday in Fort Myers, Fla.
Kendrick, 32, a non-roster invitee to spring training, allowed eight hits and a walk in his sixth start this spring. He's been the Red Sox best starter with an ERA of 2.17.
With David Price out until May and lefty Drew Pomeranz still a question mark, Kendrick could find his way into the rotation behind Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez.
Bradley went 2-for-3 with his third homer of the spring. He's hitting .244 in spring training games.
The Phillies pushed across the tying run in the ninth off lefty reliever Robby Scott, the first run he's allowed this spring in 10 innings.
The Minnesota Twins host the Red Sox on Sunday at 1:05 at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.