ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Daniel Nava’s two-run home run in the third inning powered the American League East-leading Boston Red Sox to a 2-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday at Tropicana Field.
Nava’s ninth home run of the season off Rays starter Chris Archer gave the Red Sox two wins in the three-game set. Jacoby Ellsbury began the rally with two outs with a single up the middle, extending his hit streak to 11 games. Nava jumped ahead in the count, 3-0, took a strike and fought off five straight pitches before mashing a slider into the right-field bleachers.
Nava singled home the go-ahead run in the 14th inning of a victory against the Rays on Monday.
Archer (1-2) left after four innings having allowed two earned runs on four hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 103 pitches.
Evan Longoria halved the deficit with a solo homer to center in the sixth, his team-leading 13th of the season.
Boston (41-26) dropped the fourth-place Rays (35-30) to five games off their pace. Tampa Bay outhit Boston, 6-5.
Alfredo Aceves (3-1), recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket to make a spot start, allowed one run on four hits and four walks in six innings. Franklin Morales was originally slated to make the start as Clay Buchholz continues to deal with neck stiffness, but was thrust into a 14-inning game in relief on Monday, earning the win. Aceves escaped his only troublesome inning in the third when Longoria hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Koji Uehara entered to strike out Longoria with the tying run on second in the eighth. Andrew Bailey allowed a lead-off single to James Loney in the ninth and started Desmond Jennings with three straight balls, but retired the next three batters for his seventh save.Notes: Defending American League Cy Young Award-winner David Price, on the disabled list since May 16 with a left triceps strain, is scheduled to throw his first simulated game today. ... Red Sox manager John Farrell told the Boston Globe that LHP Jon Lester will start on Sunday in place of Clay Buchholz unless the right-hander shows “marked improvement” recovering from a stiff neck. Boston would need to make the decision by today. ... Farrell made a pre-game call of good luck to Bruins coach Claude Julien before the Stanley Cup Final began against Chicago. ... Red Sox CF Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hit streak to 11 games. ... Two games after the teams engaged in a bench-clearing incident after Matt Joyce was struck by a John Lackey pitch, Rays starter Chris Archer fist-pumped, then stared down Daniel Nava walking off the mound after an inning-ending strikeout with the bases loaded in the fourth.