EditorsNote: 2nd graf, updates AL pitcher win rankings; 8th graf, completes Price’s pitching line
All-Star pitcher Charlie Morton struck out 11 in seven strong innings, and Guillermo Heredia doubled in the go-ahead run to lead the Tampa Bay Rays to a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday afternoon in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Morton (12-3) allowed two earned runs and five hits in beating the Red Sox for the second time this season. He also won for the fourth time in his last five decisions and is one of four American League pitchers with 12 wins, one behind Houston’s Justin Verlander, who won his 13th on Wednesday.
The win allowed the Rays to avoid a sweep in the three-game series and broke Boston’s five-game winning streak at Tropicana Field.
The victory also knotted the season series at 6-6 but was just Tampa Bay’s second in its last nine games.
Tommy Pham hit a solo home run, and Joey Wendle went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and run.
Emilio Pagan struck out two batters in a perfect ninth to post his seventh save.
J.D. Martinez was 2-for-4, and Rafael Devers delivered a two-RBI single for the Red Sox.
Red Sox starter David Price (7-4) worked six innings and allowed three runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out eight.
In the third inning after Brock Holt singled and Mookie Betts doubled him to third, Devers stroked a single to left that drove in both runners for a 2-0 lead.
The Rays recorded their first hit off Price when Pham popped his 16th homer to lead off the fourth, pulling a 1-1 changeup near the left-field foul pole to trim the margin to 2-1.
Tampa Bay erased the deficit after Michael Brosseau opened the fifth with a single, advanced to second on Price’s wild pitch and scored on Wendle’s line single to center.
Heredia gave the home side its first lead at 3-2 with an RBI double to score Wendle, and Price faced more trouble after walking Travis d’Arnaud with one out.
However, the lefty induced a double-play grounder from Pham to end the inning after the Red Sox challenged the original call of safe at first base.
The game had a lengthy delay in the top of the eighth when the Rays relieved Morton with Adam Kolarek, then left him in the game by moving the lefty to play first base after he retired Sam Travis and was replaced by right-hander Chaz Roe.
When Kolarek returned to the mound, Boston manager Alex Cora held a long discussion with the umpiring crew, and the visitors played the game’s remainder under protest because of which pitcher was placed in the DH spot in the batting order.
—Field Level Media