ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Rookie Bobby Dalbec homered for his fifth consecutive game, Rafael Devers homered and drove in three runs and the AL-worst Boston Red Sox beat the AL-best Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 on Thursday night.
Devers hit a two-run drive in the third and gave Boston a 4-3 lead with a run-scoring single in the seventh off Pete Fairbanks (4-2).
Dalbec’s power surge is the longest streak by a Boston rookie.
“It’s pretty cool seeing Bobby coming up his first year and doing this,” Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said.. “It’s pretty amazing, really.”
Hunter Renfroe and Brandon Lowe homered on consecutive pitches for the Rays, who have lost three in a row for the first time since a five-game skid from July 29 to Aug. 2 at Atlanta and Baltimore.
“The big hit, the big pitch has eluded us recently,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.
Tampa Bay’s lead was cut to 3 1/2 games over second-place Toronto, and the Rays (28-16) dropped behind Oakland (27-15) for best record in the AL.
“I still think we’re in a good position,” Lowe said. “I think we’ve proven we’re not going to keep losing.”
Tampa Bay struck out 17 times, while the Red Sox had 13.
Ryan Weber (1-2) allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings. Matt Barnes walked Joey Wendle leading off the ninth, allowed a stolen base and a two-out wild pitch, then struck out Austin Meadows with the potential tying run on third for his fifth save in eight chances.
Dalbec put the Red Sox up 3-2 with an opposite-field solo drive off Josh Fleming in the fifth. He became just the fifth player to have at least six homers in his first 10 games.
Tampa Bay tied it at 2 when Renfroe and Lowe homered during the fourth off Mike Kickham. The left-hander, making made his first start since July 1, 2013, for San Francisco, gave up two runs, three hits and one walk and over four innings with eight strikeouts.
“I saw a lot of really bad swings and that means his stuff was good,” Roenicke said. “He was throwing that little cutter, his curveball. I thought he was outstanding. ”
Meadows got the Rays even at 3 on a fifth-inning RBI double.
Fleming allowed three runs and six hits over 4 1/3 innings in his bid to become the first Rays pitcher to win his first four major league starts.
Lowe’s homer was his 11th but first since Aug, 26. ... Meadows was hitless in 18 at-bats before his hit in the fifth. ... Boston won for just the third time in its last 15 games against the Rays.
Red Sox: INF José Peraza was optioned to the alternate training site.
Rays: Acquired INF Pedro Martínez from the Cubs as one of the players to be named in the Aug. 30 trade for José Martínez. Martinez is son of pitching great Pedro Martínez.
Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right calf strain) may be back this weekend. ... RHPs Austin Brice (right lat strain) and Zack Godley (right elbow flexor strain) both went on the 10-day IL.
Rays: RHP Oliver Drake (right biceps tendinitis) threw to hitters and could return this weekend. ... LHP Cody Reed (left pinky finger irritation) went on the 10-day IL
Rays LHP Blake Snell (3-1) and Red Sox RHP Andrew Triggs (0-2) are the scheduled starters Friday night.