St. Petersburg, FL – Wil Myers stroked a go-ahead RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning, helping the Tampa Bay Rays avoid a three- game sweep at the hands of the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox with a 4-3 triumph on Thursday at Tropicana Field.
After Drake Britton retired James Loney to start the eighth, Rubby De La Rosa (0-1) took over on the mound and served up a ground-rule double to Evan Longoria.
De La Rosa bounced back by popping out Matt Joyce, but Myers came through with a double that hit chalk down the right-field line, allowing Longoria to score easily for the deciding run.
Jake McGee (5-3) spun a perfect eighth to pick up the win, while Fernando Rodney stranded the potential tying run on second in the ninth to secure his 34th save of the season.
Myers finished with two RBI and Desmond Jennings added a solo homer for the Rays, who had lost five of their last six games coming into the contest.
"With the wild-card getting tight, we needed a win here," Myers said.
Tampa Bay now owns a 1 1/2-game lead over the New York Yankees for the final Wild Card spot in the AL. The Yankees are currently in action in Baltimore.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Ortiz each hit a solo homer for the Red Sox, who still hold a comfortable 8 1/2-game lead over the Rays atop the AL East.
"We had opportunities in the second and again in the ninth and we continued to grind it all the way through to the end.\," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Tampa Bay struck first in its second turn at-bat, as Longoria laced a leadoff triple into the right-field corner and scored two batters later on Myers' base hit up the middle to make it 1-0.
The Rays tacked on a run in the third when David DeJesus worked a one-out walk, moved to second on a fielder's choice, and scored on James Loney's double off the top of the wall in right to make it 2-0.
Saltalamacchia snapped an 0-for-21 skid with a one-out blast to right in the fourth to bring Boston within a run, but Jennings answered with a solo shot of his own in the home half to restore Tampa Bay's two-run lead.
Boston evened the score in the sixth, as Ortiz crushed a leadoff homer into the seats in left-center to make it 3-2.
Saltalamacchia worked a one-out to end Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson's night, as Jamey Wright took over on the mound and fanned Jonny Gomes.
Saltalamacchia then swiped second before Stephen Drew ripped a double to right, scoring Saltalamacchia easily to tie the game at 3-3.
After Myers put the Rays in front in the eighth, Boston threatened against Rodney in the ninth.
Drew reached on a one-out infield single before pinch-hitter Mike Carp worked a walk, but Rodney got pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks to line out to third before popping out Dustin Pedroia to end the game.
Boston starter Jake Peavy allowed three runs on four hits and five walks over six frames ... Hellickson surrendered three runs on four hits and three walks while fanning seven over 5 1/3 innings ... The Red Sox won the season series against the Rays, 12-7 ... Boston first baseman Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and has now struck out 176 times this season, one shy of Mark Bellhorn's franchise record for punchouts in a single season set back 2004.