St. Petersburg, FL – Desmond Jennings went 3-for-5 and swatted two of four Tampa Bay home runs as the Rays rolled to an 8-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
Matt Joyce added a two-run homer as part of a 2-for-3 night, with Evan Longoria going deep as well one night after the Rays belted four solo homers in a 10-8, 14-inning loss to the Red Sox in Monday's opener of this three-game series.
Roberto Hernandez (4-6) did his part on the mound to help Tampa Bay halt a two-game skid, overcoming some early struggles to limit Boston to three runs while striking out seven over seven-plus innings.
"Roberto took charge," Rays manager Joe Maddon said of his starter. "I think I'm learning a lesson with him. If we can get him deep into the games, he gets better."
Jon Lester (6-3) served up three of the Rays' homers and tied a career high with seven walks in a rough 4 2/3-inning stint in which he was tagged for seven runs on eight hits. The slumping lefty is now winless in five starts since besting the Rays at the Trop on May 15.
"I did a terrible job of helping our bullpen out, a terrible job of keeping the ball down in the zone," Lester admitted. "The list goes on. This is solely on me. I just flat out didn't get it done."
Mike Napoli had a two-run single and Jacoby Ellsbury finished with two hits and a pair of runs scored for Boston, which had won three in a row coming in. Jose Iglesias ended 2-for-4 to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 games.
Napoli's two-out single in the top of the third inning had staked Boston to a 3-2 lead, but the Rays countered by scoring twice in the bottom of the frame before breaking things open later on.
Ben Zobrist started Tampa's half of the third with a single and Lester walked Yunel Escobar two batters later to put two on with one out. The left-hander rebounded with a strikeout of James Loney, but Ryan Roberts was able to take a curveball up the middle for a single that tied the game at 3-3. Jose Molina followed with a base hit of his own that brought Escobar home from second with the go-ahead run.
Longoria extended the margin in the fourth by taking a first-pitch fastball the other way for his second homer of the series. Joyce connected after Lester's seventh walk of the night an inning later to put the Rays ahead by a 7-3 count.
Jorge De La Torre then came on to relieve Lester and was greeted by Jennings' long drive into the left-field seats that created a five-run differential.
Boston jumped out on top with a run in the top of the first, as Ellsbury and Shane Victorino began the game with singles in front of Dustin Pedroia's sacrifice fly. However, Lester gave the lead back in the bottom of the inning by struggling to find the strike zone.
He walked four Tampa Bay hitters in the opening frame, including a bases- loaded free pass to Loney that drew the Rays even at 1-1.
Jennings clobbered a Lester fastball over the wall in left center to briefly break the deadlock in the second, but Boston put the first two runners on in the top of the third and eventually loaded the bases before Napoli delivered a two-out flare into short center field that plated both Iglesias and Ellsbury.
Hernandez got better as the game went along, though, striking out the side in order in the fourth and holding the Red Sox scoreless over his final four innings of work.
Jennings' multi-homer effort was the third of his career ... Ellsbury is batting .447 (21-for-47) over a 10-game hitting streak, but Pedroia had a 14- game tear come to an end after going 0-for-2 ... Lester also walked seven in a no-decision against the Yankees on Sept. 11 of last season. He's now 0-3 with a 6.90 ERA in five starts since his mid-May victory over the Rays ... De La Torre was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket prior to the game, with Boston placing reliever Clayton Mortensen on the 15-day disabled list with a right groin strain ... The Rays went 3-for-8 with runners in scoring position after a 3-for-16 performance in those situations on Monday.