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Was Tuesday night a grand farewell from Xander Bogaerts?

BOSTON -- There wasn't much that was picture perfect about Tuesday night at Fenway Park. It was a rainy, raw evening and the Red Sox weren't playing for anything.

But if these really are the final days of Xander Bogaerts' career in Boston, the shortstop had a pretty perfect swing in one of his final at-bats with the team.

With the Red Sox up 1-0 on the Tampa Bay Rays and the bases loaded after Rafael Devers drew a walk, Bogaerts had a feeling that something special was about to happen. He was right, as Bogaerts crushed a Colin Poche curveball and sent it over everything in left field and onto Lansdowne Street for the seventh grand slam of his career.

He took a few extra seconds to admire the blast, soaking in what could be his last big swing for the Boston Red Sox. He waved and blew kisses to drenched Red Sox fans as he made his way to home plate, giving the Boston faithful a special moment in an otherwise disappointing season.

"I just wanted to watch it because I haven't hit balls like that this year a lot," Bogaerts said after the game "I just knew it was gone, I knew it was staying fair also. I hit that really good. It's better than hitting little weak ground balls.  

"I mean, sometimes stuff is meant to be," Bogaerts added. "Obviously, Raffy is not a guy that gets a lot of walks and he worked that at-bat and got a walk. I just kind of had a feeling. ... It just felt like everything is aligned for something nice to happen. I wasn't thinking of a grand slam but you just had a good feeling like something nice would happen."

It was the biggest swing in Boston's eventual 6-0, rain-shortened victory, and an extremely memorable blast for Bogaerts. With an opt-out clause that he will likely exercise after the World Series, there is no guarantee that the life-long Red Sox will be back with the team next season. 

The Boston brass and Bogaerts have expressed a desire to reach a long-term extension. It's difficult to imagine Bogaerts, a key piece on two World Series champions, in any other uniform.

But a lot can happen in the offseason. If this really is it for Xander in Boston, he's proud of what he was able to accomplish, going from a 16-year-old international free agent in 2009 to a four-time All-Star, a two-time World Series champ, and a beloved player for a historic franchise.

"It's been a lot of years I've been here," he said. "I enjoy every moment and I appreciated the fans, the ups and downs, dealing with you guys (the media), especially sometimes you don't want to after some rough games. It's hard. For the most part, you guys always treated me with respect and I felt like I did the same way to you guys also. I mean, I'm proud of the man I've become."

With Wednesday's regular season finale in jeopardy because of the rainy forecast, Tuesday night may have been Bogaerts' final game with the Red Sox. It would be a major disappointment if Bogaerts isn't back next season, so hopefully there are many more nice moments that involve him wearing a Red Sox uniform in his future.

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