ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Matt Moore made his one mistake early and was dominant thereafter as Tampa Bay opened a three-game series with a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Tropicana Field that stretched the Rays’ win streak to six games.
Moore allowed just three base runners after David Ortiz’s three-run homer in the first inning and improved to 7-0. He gave up three earned runs, three hits and two walks in six innings while striking out eight.
Fernando Rodney picked up his seventh save. Rays catcher Jose Molina went 3 for 3 and knocked in two runs.
The Rays (20-18) began hitting the ball hard off Red Sox starter John Lackey in the third inning but used two fluke hits to break through with a five-run fourth.
Evan Longoria and James Loney began the decisive inning with singles before Luke Scott dunked a check-swing double to left to cut the Rays’ deficit to 3-1. Jose Molina then tied the score with a two-run single to center.
After a Yunel Escobar single put two runners back aboard, Lackey appeared set to squirm out of the inning, retiring Desmond Jennings on a flyout and inducing a two-out infield pop from Matt Joyce. But first baseman Mike Napoli struggled mightily finding the ball in the beige roof and the ball plopped down just fair behind him for a two-run infield single. The Rays led 5-3.
Lackey (1-4) survived the inning but didn’t last the fifth, allowing five earned runs and nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out three and walked one.
Ortiz had walloped a chest-high fastball deep into the right-field bleachers in the first, scoring Jacoby Ellsbury, who was hit with a pitch leading off, and Dustin Pedroia, who had lined a ball off third base for a double. The home run was Ortiz’s fifth of the season.
Boston fell to 22-17 after losing its third straight.
NOTES: Lackey made his 300th big-league appearance. ... Longoria was named American League Player of the Week on Monday for the period May 6-12. He has received the honor a club-record six times. He hit .464 with a .531 on-base percentage and .964 slugging percentage during the span, all of which came at Tropicana Field, with three homers, 11 RBI, five doubles and eight runs. ... Loney entered the game leading the majors in batting (.376). ... Red Sox RF Shane Victorino returned to the lineup after being removed from Sunday’s game with an apparent back injury. Victorino was taken to a Boston hospital after slamming into the outfield wall chasing a fly ball. ... Molina was 0 for 13 on the current homestand before singling in his first two at-bats. ... Lackey had not allowed more than three earned runs in his previous five starts this season.