ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Manuel Margot and David Peralta each doubled home a run in the seventh inning, sending the Tampa Bay Rays to a 4-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Monday.
Tampa Bay stopped Boston’s five-game winning streak and stayed five games behind the first-place Yankees in the AL East. New York beat Minnesota 5-2 earlier in the day.
The Rays hold one of three AL wild-card spots in a tight race that also includes Seattle, Toronto and Baltimore.
Finding a way to win for the 12th time in 15 games, Tampa Bay got an unusual contribution from little-used Vidal Bruján, who entered as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning and left with a knee injury in the ninth.
With the Rays trailing 3-2, Bruján was hit by a pitch from Jeurys Familia (2-2) and stole second. Bruján advanced on a groundout and scored on Margot’s double off Familia.
One out later, Peralta pulled an RBI double over first base off Zack Kelly to give Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead.
“Everyone knows what they need to do to help us win,” said Margot, who had two hits and scored twice. “Everyone has their own role. We have a different type of game that we play. We’re not the Yankees. We don’t hit a lot of homers, but that’s the type of team we are.”
Tampa Bay has won 25 games this season without hitting a home run, most in the majors.
“Home runs are nice,” manager Kevin Cash said, “but you can win games without them.”
Calvin Faucher (2-3) got the win in relief after striking out Trevor Story with the bases loaded in the seventh. Pete Fairbanks pitched the ninth for his fifth save in five attempts.
Four Rays relievers combined to give up two hits in four innings while striking out nine.
“We had a lot of traffic. We put pressure on them a few times but we weren’t able to cash in like they did,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “They put the ball in play in certain situations and they pitched well later on in the game, and that’s why they won.
“Overall we pitched well, but we hit the first batter (Bruján). That’s the way they do it. They put the pressure on you and they win a lot of games that way.”
Red Sox starter Michael Wacha struck out seven in his bid to win a fifth straight start. He gave up two runs on seven hits, leaving after six innings with a 3-2 lead.
Rays starter Luis Patiño, recalled Monday after making two starts for Triple-A Durham, pitched five innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks. Two of the walks proved costly, coming before RBI hits by Rafael Devers and Story in the third that gave the Red Sox a 3-1 advantage.
Alex Verdugo homered off Patiño, his ninth of the season, to put Boston up 1-0 in the first.
Harold Ramírez had an RBI single in the bottom half, and Randy Arozarena cut it to 3-2 with a run-scoring double in the fifth.
Red Sox: LF Franchy Cordero was carted off in the fifth with a sprained right ankle after running into the wall chasing Arozarena’s double. He will get an MRI on Tuesday. … DH J.D. Martinez sat out a second straight game with a stiff back.
Rays: Wander Franco (right hook of hamate fracture) was scheduled to play seven innings at shortstop in a rehab game for Triple-A Durham, but was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth. He felt some discomfort in his hand during his second and final at-bat. Durham is off Tuesday, and it remains to be seen if Franco will play Wednesday. … Bruján was helped off the field after being spiked in the right knee by Verdugo while trying to complete a game-ending double play. The knee was wrapped after the game but the Rays do not believe there is structural damage. … To open a roster spot for Patiño, the Rays designated RHP Matt Wisler for assignment.
Rays RHP Drew Rasmussen (9-4, 2.70 ERA) makes his first start of September on Tuesday night after being selected AL pitcher of the month for August. LHP Rich Hill (6-5, 4.52), who hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11 innings over two starts against Tampa Bay, will pitch for the Red Sox.
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