BOSTON – David Price and Tampa Bay's rebuilt bullpen were too much for the Boston Red Sox.
These days, it seems every team is.
Price outpitched Jon Lester in a matchup of left-handed aces and the Rays broke a tie with the Red Sox for the worst record in baseball with a 3-2 win on Tuesday night. Boston fell to 2-9 while Houston, which began the day with an NL-worst 2-8 record, beat the Cubs 11-2.
"Both starting pitchers were very good," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I just love David's tenacity. I really do. This is a young man with great stuff, but tenacity to make him great. He just kept coming after them."
When he hit Kevin Youkilis with his 116th pitch of the night to put runners at first and second with two outs in the eighth, relievers Joel Peralta retired the next batter and Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect ninth inning for his second save of the season and 28th of his 14-year career.
In the offseason, the Rays lost almost their entire bullpen — Joaquin Benoit, Rafael Soriano, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, Randy Choate and Lance Cormier.
"Those guys shutting them down right there at the end, that's pretty good," Price said. "I feel comfortable with those guys going eight and nine, for sure."
Tampa Bay, which romped 16-5 on Monday night, can complete a series sweep Wednesday night.
Price (1-2) allowed five hits in 7 2-3 innings. He left with runners at first and second and Peralta ended the eighth by getting Jed Lowrie to fly out. Right-hander Farnsworth worked the ninth against three lefty pinch-hitters, striking out Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew and getting David Ortiz to fly to right.
"Down in the bullpen I knew they were sitting on the bench," Farnsworth said, "so you've got to get ready for them."
Lester (0-1) pitched well for his second straight outing but remained winless. He pitched seven shutout innings in his previous start, but the Cleveland Indians won 1-0 when Daniel Bard allowed a run on a suicide squeeze in the eighth.
"We were facing one of the better guys in the league tonight, just like they were," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "We didn't go into the game thinking we we're going to knock him around the ballpark."
What must the Red Sox do to turn their season around?
"We need a night like they had last night," Lester said. "We need a night where we show up and just pound the baseball and we do everything right. ... We're just not putting everything together. One night it's the pitching. One night it's the hitting. Some nights it's both. Nothing right now is clicking for us."
The Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the third on Darnell McDonald's first homer of the season.
Tampa Bay scored three times in the fifth. Sam Fuld, who had two doubles, a triple and a homer the previous day, drove in the Rays' first run with a dribbler down the first base line.
The Rays had loaded the bases with one out on singles by Kelly Shoppach, Dan Johnson and Elliott Johnson. Fuld then hit the ball to first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who charged it and threw to catcher Jason Varitek for an attempted forceout. But umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Shoppach had slid in safely before the catch.
Johnny Damon followed with a two-run double before B.J. Upton grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Boston began the season as a popular choice to win the World Series after adding Gonzalez in a trade with San Diego and signing Carl Crawford as a free agent from Tampa Bay. Crawford has struggled all season and Gonzalez went 0 for 4 in this latest loss.
The Red Sox had been outhomered 21-5 this season before McDonald's long drive to left.
Boston scored once in the sixth and left the potential tying run on at second base. Dustin Pedroia led off with a double, took third on Gonzalez's groundout — it was a hard liner that caromed off Price's upper thigh — and scored on Lowrie's second double of the game, making it 3-2. But Mike Cameron was retired on a hard grounder to third baseman Felipe Lopez.
Price retired the side in order in the seventh and got Crawford to fly out to start the eighth. Pedroia walked and took second on Gonzalez's groundout before Kevin Youkilis was hit by Price's last pitch of the game. Lowrie, who had been Boston's most productive hitter during the game, flied out to Upton in center.
NOTES: Crawford, who spent the past nine seasons with the Rays, received his 2010 Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards before the game. "I'm glad we're in town to see it because he did it as a Ray and that's pretty significant," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ... Lester is 3-7 with a 4.58 in his career in April and May and 58-19 with a 3.37 ERA after that. ... The game was the first between two teams that were 2-8 or worse through 10 games since April 30, 1918, when the Brooklyn Robins beat the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field.