Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg
ST. PETERSBURG — The Boston Red Sox have baseball’s longest win streak at eight games thanks to an 8-2 victory Wednesday night over the slumping Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.
Boston (65-49) used a five-run fifth inning to break open a close game, with three runs scoring on wild pitches and passed balls.
The Rays (58-57) have lost four of their last five, scoring a total of four runs in that span as they try to stay in the American League wild-card chase.
Boston’s win streak is its longest since September 2016, when the Red Sox won 11 straight.
“We continue to pitch consistently, and that will be the key for us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “Our starters are now stringing together (quality outings), and the run the bullpen has been on, really for all year and more so currently, we set the tone, and we’re going to have to continue to do that.”
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello (6-14) took a 6-0 lead into the sixth inning before giving up home runs to Adeiny Hechavarria, his second of the season, and Brad Miller, his fifth.
Porcello yielded two runs on four hits and two walks in six-plus innings. He walked two and struck out seven.
Tampa Bay added two runs in the eighth, first on a throwing error by first baseman Trevor Plouffe, then on a wild pitch by reliever Sergio Romo.
Three Boston relievers each pitched a perfect inning, retiring every batter they faced for the final nine outs.
“I don’t necessarily think he was getting tired, but the way that seventh inning started to unfold, (Matt) Barnes comes in and makes a great pitch to get the ground-ball double play,” said Farrell, who was able to pull Porcello after only 82 pitches with a safe lead. “Each guy that we’ve called upon from that group continues to come to the mound, throw strikes … our bullpen has done an outstanding job.”
The trouble started in the fifth, when Rays starter Jake Odorizzi (6-5) took a line drive off his right ankle and had to leave the game. X-rays came back negative, and he is listed as day to day with a right foot contusion. Odorizzi said he believes he’ll be able to make his next start.
It’s a far better prognosis than he feared in the seconds after being hit.
“I guess I have good bones,” he said. “It was a weird sensation. As soon as it hit me, I felt a burning, then I had no feeling. I was kind of expecting the worst, but we got the best news. I’ll be all right, and if all things go as they should, I should be good to go for my next start.”
The Red Sox’s two-game sweep gives them a 7-6 edge in the season series with six games remaining in September.
Boston has Thursday off before going to New York for a three-game series with the Yankees. The Rays play host to the Cleveland Indians for four games starting Thursday.
The Rays’ offensive woes continued after being shut out in three of their previous four games and scoring just two runs in a span of 42 innings.
Odorizzi kept the Rays within a run until the fifth inning, allowing only a single run in the third.
An infield single by Eduardo Nunez started a five-run inning, with reliever Dan Jennings struggling after taking over for the injured Odorizzi. He gave up a single to Andrew Benintendi — his third in five innings — and then an RBI single to Mookie Betts to extend the lead to 2-0.
Twice the Rays intentionally walked a batter, only to let two runners in, first with a wild pitch, then a passed ball for a 4-0 score.
The Rays got Hanley Ramirez caught between third and home for a second out, but Sandy Leon came through with a two-run, two-out single to make it 6-0.
Porcello held the Rays to one hit in the first five innings — a first-inning double off the wall in left field from Miller.
The news that Odorizzi likely won’t miss significant time is a huge relief for a Rays team that just put Alex Cobb on the disabled list Tuesday.
“We dodged a big bullet,” Odorizzi said.
NOTES: The Rays had a late lineup scratch, with 1B Lucas Duda pulled with a left thumb bruise. He was replaced by Trevor Plouffe, who was involved in two errors on throws to first, one credited to him, the other to the pitcher. … To make room for starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi, the Rays optioned RHP Ryne Stanek to Triple-A Durham before the game. Stanek has a 6.39 ERA in 13 appearances this season. With Odorizzi leaving with a foot injury, the Rays could make another bullpen move Thursday. … The Rays had two runs in four games coming into Wednesday, matching their lowest-scoring four-game stretch in team history. Tampa Bay has scored four runs in its last 47 innings, with three of the four on home runs.