|Boston (25-21) «||0||1||3||2||0||0||0||0||0||6||12||0|
|Tampa Bay (32-13)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||6||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- As much as the Boston Red Sox wanted to play down the significance of beating the Tampa Bay Rays, David Ortiz conceded it did feel good to finally break through against baseball's top team.
"Not only to us, to everyone," the slugger added. "They have the best record in baseball. So you've got to play your best."
The Red Sox beat the Rays for the first time in five tries, climbing a season-best four games over .500 (25-21) with their third consecutive victory on a difficult road trip that began in Philadelphia.
Buchholz (6-3) won his eighth consecutive road start dating to last August, the longest such streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Roger Clemens won nine in a row from July 18, 1992, to April 20, 1993.
"We're getting great starting pitching. When you do that, all we have to do is put a couple runs on the board and those guys can take over," Dustin Pedroia said, adding the Red Sox are focused on themselves -- not catching the first-place Rays.
"We're in the middle of the year and just playing," Pedroia said. "We're playing some really good teams and just finding ways to win. That's a real good sign."
Ortiz hit a home run for the fifth time in his past nine games, hitting a solo shot off Wade Davis (4-4) in the second inning. Davis walked in a run and yielded RBI singles to Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Hermida during a three-run third that put the Red Sox up 4-0.
Youkilis, who is batting .400 (12 for 30) with five home runs and 12 RBI in his past nine games, made it 6-0 with a two-run shot off reliever Lance Cormier in the fourth.
Pedroia had three hits after beginning the night in an 0-for-19 slide. Beltre also finished with three hits for the Red Sox, who began their six-game trip by winning two of three against the NL champion Phillies.
"They got us tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We didn't play badly. They beat us."
At 32-13, the Rays are off to the best start in the major leagues since 2001, in part because of a 19-5 road record that includes a four-game sweep of the Red Sox at Fenway Park in April. The six-game lead they carried into Monday was the largest they've ever held in the AL East.
Buchholz, who has won five of his past six starts, walked one and struck out eight. But it wasn't an easy outing.
The Red Sox starter escaped a bases-loaded jam when John Jaso grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first inning. He wiggled out of another tight situation by striking out Reid Brignac and Jason Bartlett to strand two more runners in scoring position in the second.
"We had our opportunities early," Maddon said, "and we didn't take advantage."
Pena hit a home run with two outs in the fourth.
Boston's Victor Martinez left in the third inning. Bartlett fouled a pitch off the catcher's left big toe in the second, and Martinez had trouble walking -- much less running -- after drawing a walk in the third.
X-rays were negative.
"He's day to day, like we all are," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "But I think it's to the point where I don't think we have to make a roster move."
|Clay Buchholz wins again on the road by limiting Tampa Bay to six hits and one walk. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Jacoby Ellsbury, CF||5||0||0||0||0||0||0||.250|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||5||1||3||0||0||0||0||.270|
|Victor Martinez, C||1||0||0||0||1||0||1||.258|
|Jason Varitek, PR-C||3||2||1||0||0||1||1||.313|
|Kevin Youkilis, 1B||4||2||1||2||1||0||2||.321|
|David Ortiz, DH||4||1||2||1||0||1||3||.256|
|J.D. Drew, RF||3||0||0||1||1||1||1||.272|
|Adrian Beltre, 3B||4||0||3||1||0||1||0||.335|
|Jeremy Hermida, LF||4||0||2||1||0||0||2||.231|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||6||.257|
|2B - Dustin Pedroia (15, Sonnanstine)|
|HR - Kevin Youkilis (10, Cormier), David Ortiz (9, Davis)|
|RBI - Kevin Youkilis 2 (29), David Ortiz (23), J.D. Drew (30), Adrian Beltre (27), Jeremy Hermida (24)|
|2-OUT RBI - Kevin Youkilis 2 (13), J.D. Drew (9), Adrian Beltre (14), Jeremy Hermida (18)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|DP - Scutaro-Youkilis|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Clay Buchholz (W,6-3)||6||6||1||1||1||8||1||3.07|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clay Buchholz 108-69, Hideki Okajima 21-16, Daniel Bard 11-8|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clay Buchholz 5-4, Hideki Okajima 1-5, Daniel Bard 2-0|
|Batters Faced - Clay Buchholz 24, Hideki Okajima 6, Daniel Bard 3|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Jason Bartlett, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||2||.246|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.322|
|Ben Zobrist, RF-2B||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||.307|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||2||0||.318|
|John Jaso, C||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.328|
|Hank Blalock, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.250|
|Carlos Pena, 1B||2||1||1||1||1||0||0||.191|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||0||1||0||0||1||0||.215|
|Reid Brignac, 2B||2||0||0||0||0||2||2||.299|
|a- Gabe Kapler, PH-RF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.266|
|a-lined out for Brignac in the 7th|
|2B - Jason Bartlett (11, Buchholz)|
|HR - Carlos Pena (8, Buchholz)|
|RBI - Carlos Pena (28)|
|2-OUT RBI - Carlos Pena (6)|
|Team LOB - 5|
|DP - Brignac-Bartlett-Pena, Longoria-Zobrist-Pena|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Wade Davis (L,4-4)||3.2||7||5||5||3||0||1||4.01|
|Pitches-Strikes - Wade Davis 97-58, Lance Cormier 37-24, Andy Sonnanstine 38-29|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Wade Davis 6-5, Lance Cormier 3-3, Andy Sonnanstine 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Wade Davis 21, Lance Cormier 9, Andy Sonnanstine 10|
|Attendance - 21430|
|Game Time - 3:08|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Tim Tschida, First Base - Bob Davidson, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Tim Timmons|