A pinch-hitting Jarrod Saltalamacchia clubbed a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Boston Red Sox to a 3-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays in the second installment of a three-game series at Fenway Park.
Tampa Bay closer Fernando Rodney (2-1) walked Daniel Nava to begin the ninth and pinch-hitter Nick Punto bunted him into scoring position before Saltalamacchia launched a home run to right-center field.
"I looked at (bench coach) Tim Bogar when the inning started and said, 'We haven't had a walk-off all year.' And he said, 'It's a great day for it,'" recalled Boston manager Bobby Valentine.
Rich Hill (1-0) was credited with the win.
It was the first blown save of the season for Rodney in 16 opportunities.
Through the first seven innings, Boston right-hander Josh Beckett and Tampa Bay southpaw David Price were locked in a pitchers' duel.
The Red Sox broke a scoreless tie in the sixth after putting their first two batters on base. Dustin Pedroia walked and David Ortiz slapped a single to center field before Kevin Youkilis lined out to short. Pedroia was then thrown out at home trying to score on a single by Adrian Gonzalez.
Boston got on the board when Rays second baseman Sean Rodriguez couldn't come up with a grounder up the middle by Will Middlebrooks.
The Rays moved ahead in the next inning. Beckett had given up one hit before B.J. Upton and Matt Joyce stroked back-to-back singles to start the seventh. Upton went to third on Joyce's ground ball to right and scored on Ben Zobrist's sacrifice fly to left. Luke Scott gave Tampa Bay the lead with a base hit to right.
Boston stranded runners on the corners in the home seventh.
The Red Sox have won five of their last seven games...Tampa Bay had its winning streak snapped at three games...Rodney fell one save shy of the club record for consecutive saves to begin a season, a mark shared by Rafael Soriano (2010) and Al Reyes (2007)...Price, who made his 99th career start, allowed eight hits, walked three and struck out five...Beckett scattered four hits and fanned five.