Where: Fenway Park, Boston
BOSTON — Alex Cobb set the tone with six one-hit innings for the Tampa Bay Rays, and the bullpen took it from there. Jose Alvarado, Erasmo Ramirez, Danny Farquhar and Alex Colome combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings after Cobb gave up four in the seventh to lift the Rays to a 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.”The pitchers we asked to come in there did a really, really nice job,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
Boston native Cobb (3-3) allowed four runs (three earned), four hits and three walks with five strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
“It was a good day through six innings for sure, and the seventh inning got away a bit. … I was in the locker room before I knew what happened,” Cobb said of his outing.
Colome capped the win with a four-out save, his ninth of the season.
Evan Longoria added a two-run homer, Tim Beckham had two RBIs and Corey Dickerson drove in one run for Tampa Bay (18-20), which had lost six of nine games coming in.
“To be able to get out of the funk we’re in, we’ve got to be able to win ballgames like that,” Cobb said.
Reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello (2-5) allowed five runs (three earned) and nine hits and punched out seven in six innings for Boston (18-17).
Porcello fell to 0-2 with a 9.58 ERA in 10 1/3 innings during two starts against Tampa Bay this season. He is 2-3 with a 2.53 ERA in 39 innings in six other outings.
“It’s just the result of some poorly executed pitches,” Porcello said of his struggles against the Rays.
Sandy Leon had two RBIs for the Red Sox and Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a first-inning single to left field.
Despite the loss, the Red Sox offense has scored 47 runs in its last six games (7.8 per game), but the team is just 3-3 during that stretch.
“There’s been a major step forward,” Boston manager John Farrell said of his club’s offense. “We can still improve, there’s no question. Tonight we got handcuffed for the first six innings.”
While the offense is making strides, the defense still needs work. Boston had another error at third base from Josh Rutledge, its major-league-leading 13th of the season.
“It’s been a tough position for us, make no mistake about it,” Farrell said. ” … The opportunity is there for someone to step up and grab the job.”
Boston’s offense came alive in a chaotic seventh that saw Tampa Bay commit three errors.
Chris Young scored from second base on Rutledge’s soft grounder down the third base line, which Cobb threw past first baseman Logan Morrison.
Leon followed with a two-run, ground-rule double that chased Cobb. He later scored when Jackie Bradley Jr. reached as Rays second baseman Brad Miller mishandled his grounder.
Miller chased the ball into center and fired it wildly back into the infield, accounting for his second error on the play and allowing Bradley to reach second.
“We had an opportunity to really cave there, with things working against us,” Cobb said. “We were shooting ourselves in the foot a little bit.”
Bogaerts led off the Boston eighth with a double and Andrew Benintendi walked to bring up Young, who moved Bogaerts to third with a sacrifice fly to right.
Farquhar entered and struck out Mitch Moreland before Colome induced a 5-3 inning-ending groundout by Rutledge.
Colome faced no resistance in a 1-2-3 Red Sox ninth.
“Never a dull moment,” Cash quipped.
Tampa Bay struck for five runs in the middle innings.
Beckham hit a two-out, two-run single in the fourth. Dickerson added an RBI double in the fifth before Longoria’s 406-foot blast over the Green Monster in left made it 5-0.
“Just two innings where I didn’t make pitches with runners on base and I ended up getting hurt by it,” Porcello said.
NOTES: Boston DH Hanley Ramirez (right trapezius strain) did not play after leaving Wednesday’s game in Milwaukee with the injury and missing Thursday’s series finale. “(Optimistic) that he’ll be back in the lineup (Saturday),” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. … Tampa Bay RF Steven Souza Jr. (bruised right thumb) was feeling better and hoped to return Saturday or Sunday. “I (expected) him to be in there tonight if a situation presents itself,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. … Red Sox INF Marco Hernandez (left shoulder subluxation) may be headed for season-ending surgery, per Farrell. … Rays LHP Blake Snell (0-3, 3.96 ERA) opposes Red Sox LHP Chris Sale (3-2, 1.92) on Saturday. The game was moved up six hours to 1:05 p.m. ET due to anticipated sustained periods of rain. “We’d like to avoid a doubleheader … so I’m glad that they did that,” Cash said.