Then, the game took a twist.
Ortiz hit two home runs and drove in all five Boston runs as the Red Sox held their five-game edge over New York in the AL East. The Yankees will open a three-game series Friday night at Fenway Park.
"It was too high," Ortiz said. "That was a good pitch by him."
Young appeared to have a chance to catch it, but he ran too far toward the Pesky Pole. Reversing direction, Young twisted his body and arrived too late as the ball fell in the stands behind him.
"I think he went to the line maybe too hard," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "That ball was really high and it just floated back toward the middle of the field. I think that if he had been able to get to the right spot, he probably would have been able to catch it."
Boston manager Terry Francona said he couldn't see the ball from his angle in the dugout.
"I was too busy blowing on it," he said. "I thought maybe it hit the wall."
Red Sox players poured from the dugout and surrounded Ortiz at the plate after his 10th game-winning home run with Boston and his first this year.
Jonathan Papelbon (1-2) got the victory.
"That's the biggest thing, keeping the five-game lead and going into the series with the momentum," he said. "It shows that we have the makeup that teams have to go 27 outs."
On Tuesday night, the Devil Rays wasted leads of 4-0 and 8-1 and lost 16-10. On Wednesday, B.J. Upton's 24th home run, a two-run shot, helped them to a 4-0 lead in the first.
Ortiz began Boston's comeback in the third, hitting a three-run homer after a single by Lugo and a walk to Pedroia. That gave Ortiz his 30th home run and 102 RBI -- he has reached 30 home runs and at least 100 RBI in all five of his seasons with Boston.
Ortiz tied Jimmie Foxx for second in club history with five consecutive 30-home run seasons; Manny Ramirez has six straight.
Ortiz, battling knee and shoulder problems, is on a tear. In his past 27 games, he has 12 home runs and 33 RBI and raised his batting average from .311 to .321.
"It's that time of year," Francona said.
Lugo, in his first season with Boston, was more impressed.
"He's the greatest, man. He's the best," he said. "That's why they call him Big Papi, because he can carry the team."
Boston starter Jon Lester pitched 3 2/3 innings, his second shortest outing in nine starts. But four relievers held the Devil Rays to only one hit -- a single by Josh Wilson in the eighth -- in 5 1/3 innings.
Tampa Bay won 1-0 on Monday night and wasted no time continuing its hitting from the night before.
"It's a tough place to win," Maddon said. "We were in a position to win three games here and won one of them."
Carlos Pena singled for his 110th RBI in the first and Upton hit a home run the screen attached to the right-field foul pole, making it 3-0. Brandon Harris doubled and scored on Jonny Gomes' single for a 4-0 lead.
Lester was bailed out by Julian Tavarez after leaving with runners at first and third with two outs in the fourth. Tavarez retired Harris on a grounder and set down the next seven batters before walking Young with one out in the seventh.
Lester extended his unbeaten streak to 12 games -- he's 6-0 in that span -- but became the fourth starter in Boston's past seven games to fail to get out of the fourth.
That happened only four times in the first 140 games. And it was the first time that had happened in back-to-back games. Tim Wakefield left his start Tuesday after the first three batters got hits in the fourth inning.
- Ortiz's game-winning home run was the first by a Boston player since Pena hit one last Sept. 4. He left for Tampa Bay as a free agent.
- Lester matched season highs by allowing four walks and eight hits.
- Tampa Bay completed a 15-game stretch against the other teams in the AL East.
- Boston LHP Hideki Okajima made his 63rd appearance, the most by any AL rookie this year.
- When Coco Crisp stole his 25th base in the sixth, it gave Boston two players with that many steals since 1914, when Tris Speaker had 42 and Al Janvrin had 25. Lugo stole his 29th base in the third inning Wednesday.