ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- B.J. Upton hit a game-ending, three-run homer off Vicente Padilla, capping Tampa Bay’s six-run ninth inning and lifting the Rays to a sorely needed 7-4 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night.
Tampa Bay salvaged a split of the four-game series and remained 51Ž2 games back of Oakland for the second AL wild-card slot. The Rays (80-70) have 12 games left on their schedule.
Andrew Bailey (1-1) gave up four hits and a walk before Padilla came in to face Upton, who drove a 2-1 pitch over the wall in center for his 24th homer.
Burke Badenhop (2-2) recorded one out to get the win.
Clay Buchholz outpitched Tampa Bay ace David Price, tossing seven innings of four-hit ball before handing a 2-0 lead to the Boston bullpen. Mauro Gomez hit a two-out RBI triple in the eighth for the Red Sox, but they couldn’t hold on for the victory.
Jose Iglesias had three hits for Boston, including his first career home run. Ryan Lavarnway and Gomez each had two hits and an RBI.
It was only the third win in the last 10 games for the Rays.
Price allowed three runs and eight hits in 71Ž3 innings. He struck out seven and walked one while throwing 119 pitches.
Cody Ross’ two-out double in the sixth gave Boston the lead and ended Price’s streak of 29 1-3 scoreless innings at home.
Iglesias connected against J.P. Howell in the ninth, sending an 0-2 pitch over the wall in center.
Ben Zobrist drove in the Rays’ first run with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly off Junichi Tazawa. It was the Rays’ first run in Price’s last three starts at home.
Buchholz struck out four and walked two. The right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.07 ERA in his last six starts.
Jacoby Ellsbury was out of Boston’s starting lineup, but replaced Pedro Ciriaco after the center fielder lost two fly balls against the Tropicana Field roof. Both fell for doubles, the Rays’ only hits in the first four innings.