BOSTON (AP) — David Ortiz hit a three-run homer with first base open to break a fifth-inning tie, and Adrian Beltre had four hits Tuesday night to lead the Boston Red Sox to an 8-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.
John Lackey (9-3) won his fifth straight decision, allowing one run, eight hits and two walks, striking out three to give the Red Sox their 10th win in 13 games. With the Yankees' loss to the Seattle Mariners, Boston moved within one game behind first-place New York in the AL East.
Lackey and James Shields (6-8) had dueling shutouts until the bottom of the fifth, when Ortiz came up with runners on second and third and two outs.
Rays manager Joe Maddon came out to talk to Shields, but no sooner had he returned to the dugout than Shields grooved one and Ortiz hit it over the Tampa Bay bullpen in right. Beltre singled and scored to make it 5-0 after six, then doubled and scored on Bill Hall's homer that made it 8-1 after seven.
Willy Aybar hit a two-run pinch-homer in the eighth to make it 8-3. The Rays added two more on Ben Zobrist's bloop single in the ninth, but Jonathan Papelbon struck out Aybar for his 18th save.
Shields has lost seven straight starts. He gave up five runs, seven hits, two walks and a hit batter, striking out six before leaving three batters into the sixth inning.
The Rays have won three of their last 12 games to fall behind Boston and into third place in the AL East.
The Red Sox were without former MVP Dustin Pedroia and starting catcher Victor Martinez, who were both injured on the trip to San Francisco. Hall played second base and Jason Varitek caught, and both contributed.
Carl Crawford returned and had four hits after missing three games with left shoulder soreness. But the Red Sox took advantage of his arm: In the seventh, Kevin Youkilis scored to make it 6-1 on Varitek's shallow sacrifice fly to left as Crawford's throw barely made it to the infield grass.
After Andy Sonnanstine relieved Lance Cormier, Hall homered over the Green Monster to give Boston an 8-1 lead.
Rays center fielder B.J. Upton was not in the starting lineup, but Maddon said it was not because of the outfielder's confrontation with Evan Longoria in the dugout on Sunday. The two had to be separated after Upton didn't run hard after a ball in left-center field during the Rays' 2-1 loss to the Diamondbacks.
"Just all things considered, I wanted to give him tonight off," Maddon said.
The Rays finally scored in the seventh, but they also blew a chance to make it even closer.
John Jaso and Crawford singled with two out, and then Longoria singled to score Jaso and make it 5-1. But Crawford got caught making too wide of a turn at second; Darnell McDonald threw behind him and caught him to end the inning.
After Boston scored three more in the bottom of the seventh, Aybar cut it to 8-3. One out later, Upton came on as a pinch-hitter and tripled — though he slowed up as he approached second base and had to turn it back on to make it to third safely. He was stranded there when Daniel Bard relieved Hideki Okajima and got Jason Bartlett to pop it up to first base.
NOTES: Red Sox SS Jed Lowrie is headed to Single-A Lowell on Saturday to begin rehabbing from mononucleosis. ... Martinez was placed on the DL with a broken left thumb. C Gustavo Molina was selected from Triple-A Pawtucket to replace him. ... Tyler Seguin, who was the No. 2 overall pick in the NHL draft, threw out a ceremonial first pitch along with Nathan Horton, whom the Bruins acquired last week in a trade. ... Aybar's homer in the eighth was the second pinch-homer of his career and the Rays' first of the season.