|Boston (41-27) «||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||6||0|
|Tampa Bay (36-33)||0||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2||6||0|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Boston Red Sox concluded their most successful road trip in 34 years with another win.
Adrian Gonzalez homered and David Ortiz, Darnell McDonald and Dustin Pedroia drove in runs to back right-hander Clay Buchholz and lead the AL East leaders to a 4-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday night.
The win was the 11th in 12 games for a team that left home in second place on June 6 and returns Friday with a 1 1/2-game lead over New York in the division.
|More on Red Sox at Rays|
"I don't get caught up in that. It just doesn't make sense. But it was a good road trip," manager Terry Francona said after going 8-1 -- Boston's best mark on a trip of at least nine games since 1977.
In addition to maintaining their edge over the Yankees, the Red Sox dropped the third-place Rays 5 1/2 off the pace by rebounding from losing the opener of the three-game series to win the final two.
"We feel like we are playing better baseball," Francona added. "I think that's really what we need to stay focused on."
The Red Sox outscored opponents 90-42 on the trip. They also got some quality pitching performances, including the first one-hitter of Josh Beckett's career against Tampa Bay on Wednesday.
"It was a great road trip. We did a lot of good things," third baseman Kevin Youkilis said. "The biggest thing is finishing out games. We don't have to score 15 runs or throw one-hitters. It's doing the little things like we did tonight."
Buchholz (6-3) allowed one run and two hits in five innings, limiting the Rays to Sam Fuld's second-inning RBI double and B.J. Upton's fourth-inning single before leaving the game because of lower back tightness. Tampa Bay trimmed a 3-1 deficit to one run on Casey Kotchman's solo homer off Alfredo Aceves in the sixth.
Gonzalez's solo shot off Kyle Farnsworth restored a two-run lead in the ninth.
Buchholz said his injury got progressively worse after the second inning.
"It's a nagging back that's been the same since last year," the right-hander said. "I feel like I was in a better position tonight to come out a little early and not put anymore stress on my body than I had to. The way we're playing right now, nobody wants to go on the (disabled list). That was my first thought, I've got to get through five innings."
Kotchman doubled and Upton reached on an infield single to begin the Tampa Bay ninth. Pinch-hitter Elliot Johnson fouled out trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and Papelbon escaped by striking out pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano and Sean Rodriguez to end the game.
Ortiz drew a bases-loaded walk in the first after Rays starter David Price (7-6) drew a warning from home plate umpire Gary Darling for hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch in the left arm to fill the bases. Both benches were warned, and Price settled down to strike out Jed Lowrie and get Carl Crawford to ground out.
McDonald singled and Pedroia doubled to drive in runs to make it 3-0 in the second. Ortiz drew a two-out walk to load the bases against Price again, but Boston missed out on an opportunity to do more damage when Marco Scutaro popped out to end the inning.
Price walked a season-high five while allowing three runs and five hits in five innings. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out five.
"I gave up three runs in the first two innings," Price said. "That makes it tough on our offense."
Price also helped by turning himself around after the rough first two innings.
"He's not going to be perfect every time out there. ... He didn't have his best stuff, but he gave us a chance," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We've just got to score more runs."
|Boston's Adrian Gonzalez high-fives Kevin Youkilis after hitting his ninth-inning home run over the right-field wall. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Boston Red Sox|
|Darnell McDonald, CF-RF||5||1||1||1||0||1||1||.154|
|Dustin Pedroia, 2B||4||1||1||1||1||0||0||.262|
|Adrian Gonzalez, 1B||3||1||2||1||2||1||1||.347|
|Kevin Youkilis, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||.254|
|David Ortiz, DH||2||0||0||1||2||1||0||.314|
|Jed Lowrie, SS||1||0||0||0||0||1||3||.270|
|Marco Scutaro, SS||3||0||1||0||0||0||3||.278|
|Carl Crawford, LF||4||0||0||0||0||0||4||.240|
|Mike Cameron, RF||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||.150|
|a- Jacoby Ellsbury, PH-CF||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.314|
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C||3||1||1||0||1||2||0||.248|
|a-flied out for Cameron in the 8th|
|2B - Dustin Pedroia (12, Price), Adrian Gonzalez (23, Price), Jarrod Saltalamacchia (9, Price)|
|HR - Adrian Gonzalez (14, Farnsworth)|
|RBI - Darnell McDonald (2), Dustin Pedroia (29), Adrian Gonzalez (61), David Ortiz (44)|
|2-OUT RBI - Adrian Gonzalez (28)|
|Team LOB - 9|
|Boston Red Sox|
|Clay Buchholz (W,6-3)||5||2||1||1||3||5||0||3.48|
|Alfredo Aceves (H,4)||1.2||2||1||1||0||0||1||3.30|
|Daniel Bard (H,14)||1.1||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.67|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,13)||1||2||0||0||0||2||0||4.18|
|Pitches-Strikes - Clay Buchholz 81-50, Alfredo Aceves 32-20, Daniel Bard 15-11, Jonathan Papelbon 15-10|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Clay Buchholz 7-3, Daniel Bard 3-1|
|Batters Faced - Clay Buchholz 20, Alfredo Aceves 7, Daniel Bard 4, Jonathan Papelbon 5|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|Johnny Damon, DH||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||.273|
|Ben Zobrist, 2B||3||0||0||0||1||0||1||.260|
|Matt Joyce, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||.316|
|Evan Longoria, 3B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.237|
|Casey Kotchman, 1B||4||1||2||1||0||0||0||.339|
|B.J. Upton, CF||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.219|
|John Jaso, C||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||.225|
|a- Elliot Johnson, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||2||.230|
|Sam Fuld, LF||3||0||2||1||0||0||0||.234|
|b- Justin Ruggiano, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||2||.340|
|Reid Brignac, SS||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||.173|
|c- Sean Rodriguez, PH-SS||2||0||0||0||0||1||3||.207|
|a-fouled out-bunting for Jaso in the 9th|
|b-struck out for Fuld in the 9th|
|c-flied out for Brignac in the 7th|
|2B - Casey Kotchman (10, Papelbon), Sam Fuld (12, Buchholz)|
|HR - Casey Kotchman (3, Aceves)|
|RBI - Casey Kotchman (16), Sam Fuld (22)|
|2-OUT RBI - Casey Kotchman (6), Sam Fuld (10)|
|SB - B.J. Upton 2 (16, 2nd base off Buchholz/Saltalamacchia, 2nd base off Buchholz/Saltalamacchia)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|David Price (L,7-6)||5||5||3||3||5||5||0||3.61|
|HBP - Youkilis (by David Price)|
|Pitches-Strikes - David Price 106-62, Juan Cruz 19-11, J.P. Howell 6-5, Joel Peralta 10-6, Kyle Farnsworth 14-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - David Price 4-6, Juan Cruz 2-1, J.P. Howell 3-0|
|Batters Faced - David Price 26, Juan Cruz 5, J.P. Howell 3, Joel Peralta 2, Kyle Farnsworth 4|
|Attendance - 23495|
|Game Time - 3:13|
|Temperature - 72|
|Umpires - Home - Gary Darling, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - David Rackley, Third Base - Rob Drake|