ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Needing a long, effective starting pitching performance after a 14-inning marathon victory Monday night, the Red Sox got neither from Jon Lester as the Rays blasted four homers Tuesday en route to an 8-3 win at Tropicana Field.
Leadoff man Desmond Jennings provided most of the power for the Rays, who hit four or more homers in back-to-back games for the first time in franchise history. The speedy center fielder crushed his seventh and eighth home runs of the season, both solo shots, amid the Rays’ offensive outburst.
Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce also went deep off Lester (6-3, 4.12 ERA) while Tampa Bay starter Roberto Hernandez held the Red Sox in check.
Hernandez (4-6, 4.91 ERA) gave up three runs and struck out seven over seven innings on a career-high 122 pitches. He didn’t record an out against the two batters he faced in the eighth, but he already had done more than enough for the Rays on Tuesday considering their overworked bullpen and hot bats.
Lester gave up seven earned runs on eight hits, including three home runs, and a whopping seven walks as he lasted only 4 2/3 innings.
Tampa Bay’s Roberto Hernandez gave up a quick run in the first inning, but the Rays bounced right back against Lester, taking advantage of his erratic command by drawing four walks in the first, the last of which put James Loney on first base and allowed Jennings to stride home to tie the game.
Jennings crossed home plate again in the second, this time clobbering a belt-high sinker to center field for his seventh home run of the year. The Red Sox temporarily regained a 3-2 lead in the third on Mike Napoli’s two-run single to center field, but the Rays pulled ahead again in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back RBI singles by Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina.
Longoria padded Tampa Bay’s lead with an opposite-field homer in the fourth off Lester, his 12th home run of the season. Joyce, in the middle of Monday’s dust-up between the teams, hammered a two-run shot, his 12th, to deep right field to chase Lester in the fifth.
It didn’t get much better from there for Boston, as Jennings greeted reliever Jose De La Torre with another solo homer to left field.
Notes: The Red Sox will call up RHP Alfredo Aceves to start tonight’s series finale against the Rays after using LHP Franklin Morales in the final innings of Monday night’s 14-inning game. Morales previously was scheduled to start tonight. ... The Rays placed RHP Alex Cobb on the bereavement list Tuesday afternoon due to the death of his grandmother. They called up RHP Jake Odorizzi, who started two games for them this season, to work out of the bullpen. ... Rays LHP David Price (left triceps strain) is ramping up his workload earlier than expected, as he’s scheduled to throw a simulated game Thursday, instead of Saturday, and begin his minor league rehab starts shortly thereafter. Price is now working ahead of schedule because he felt so good in a 45-pitch bullpen session Monday afternoon. ... Tampa Bay faced 14 straight right-handed starters before Lester took the mound Tuesday, the club’s longest such streak since August 1999. ... Tampa Bay made its first draft signing, agreeing to terms with eighth-round pick Roel Ramirez, who will join the Rays’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate.