St. Petersburg, FL – David Price pitched into the eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays scored twice in the seventh to take the middle installment of a three-game set against the Boston Red Sox, 5-3.
Price (12-4) gave up three runs -- two earned -- on six hits and three walks in 7 1/3 innings. The left-hander, who has won his last four decisions, also fanned eight and is now tied for the major league lead in wins.
"Earlier in the game I think that was one of my best games with fastball location," remarked Price. "It kind of went away from me there at the end of the game and I was falling behind a lot of hitters and putting myself into a hole, but that's what happens."
B.J. Upton hit his eighth home run for the Rays, who have won three of their last five.
Clay Buchholz (8-3) was activated from the 15-day disabled list prior to the game and took the loss. He allowed four runs on three hits and a walk in 6 1/3 innings, while striking out eight. It was his first defeat since May 16 at Tampa Bay, snapping a four-start winning streak.
"I felt good, I felt rested, I think that was the biggest thing. I felt like everything was coming out of my hand pretty good," said Buchholz. "Just that one inning where I left a couple pitches up and they were able to score some balls but other than that I felt really good."
Will Middlebrooks blasted his 11th home run, but the Red Sox lost for the seventh time in their last nine games.
Tampa Bay came from behind with a seventh inning rally that did not include a hit. Buchholz walked Luke Scott and hit Jeff Keppinger before Desmond Jennings advanced the runners with a bunt, ending Buchholz's night. Matt Albers entered and intentionally walked pinch-hitter Hideki Matsui before walking pinch- hitter Jose Lobaton to force in the tying run. Elliot Johnson then delivered a fly ball to deep center field, scoring Keppinger and giving the Rays a 4-3 lead.
Joel Peralta got out of a jam in the eighth, With men on first and second, Cody Ross and Middlebrooks each flied out.
Upton launched a 2-1 fastball well over the left-field fence to provide the Rays an insurance run in the bottom half of the eighth inning.
Fernando Rodney worked around a leadoff single to record his 26th save of the season.
Tampa Bay got on the board first when Jennings and Jose Molina opened the third with a pair of singles to put runners on the corners. Sean Rodriguez then lofted a fly ball to center field, deep enough to score Jennings.
After David Ortiz avoided the shift with a single to left field in the fourth inning, Middlebrooks blasted an 0-2 fastball over the fence in left-center field to give Boston the lead.
Keppinger opened the fifth with a double and moved to third on Jennings' sacrifice bunt. Molina followed with a line drive at shortstop Mike Aviles, who was drawn in with the runner on third, and he could not make the play, allowing the tying run to score. He was charged with an error for the second straight night.
Boston scored in the sixth when Price unsuccessfully tried to pick Ross off third base. Ross drew a throw to third by starting and stopping toward home plate, and the throw sailed into foul territory.
Boston had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth inning when Jacoby Ellsbury opened the frame with a double down the right-field line. After Pedro Ciriaco popped out on a bunt attempt and Ortiz worked a walk, Price's night was over.
"It was on my own," said Ciriaco of his bunt. "I was just trying to get something going, trying to get a base hit and I guess I didn't do the right thing."
Prior to the game, the Red Sox activated Buchholz from the 15-day disabled list and optioned first baseman Mauro Gomez to Triple-A Pawtucket...Ortiz, who went 1-for-3, has now hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games...Tampa Bay is 35-24 against opposing right-handed starting pitchers...The Rays struck out 10 times for the 28th time in 88 games this season. They are second in the American League, behind the Orioles who have done so 32 times...The Rays, who had only five hits on the night, have been held to seven hits or fewer in 14 of their last 18 games...Price tied R.A. Dickey and Gio Gonzalez for the major league lead with 12 wins...Price has worked seven innings or more in 11 of his 13 starts...Price is 8-3 against teams with a .500 or better record...Price has a 2.25 earned run average at home this season (16 earned runs in 64 innings)...Boston went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.