Tampa Bay 6, Boston 2
When: 7:10 PM ET, Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts
Bill Welke, 1B -
John Hirschbeck, 2B -
John Tumpane, 3B -
BOSTON -- Daniel Nava delivered another big hit at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
This time, it came as a visitor.
Nava, who clubbed a first-pitch grand slam in his first big league at-bat with the Red Sox in 2010, hit a two-out, go-ahead single in the seventh inning against his former club to break a scoreless tie and spark the Tampa Bay Rays to a 6-2 victory over the host Boston Red Sox.
"It's always a special experience to play against a team or organization you played with for a long time," said Nava, who spent parts of five seasons with Boston and was a member of the World Series championship team in 2013.
Nava, a utility man playing left field, was surprised to see his seventh-inning slapper sneak under a diving Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia's glove into right field, allowing center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to score from third.
"(I thought) 'no way, this ball's going to carom or bounce right to him,' " Nava said. "Fortunately it didn't, but you never know with him over there at second. He's obviously one of the better second basemen in the game for a reason."
Kiermaier stole second and third in the inning -- his 17th and 18th swipes of the year -- to put himself in scoring position after reaching on a one-out single earlier in the frame.
Nava was one of seven Tampa Bay batters to record a hit in a 14-hit onslaught. Kiermaier, right fielder Steven Souza Jr., and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera each had three hits for the Rays.
"There wasn't too much hitting going on early on," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "Nava comes up and gets a big hit to give us the lead, and then after that it seems like we pieced together a pretty good inning."
Rays pinch-hitter Logan Forsythe drove in another run on a groundout and designated hitter John Jaso added an RBI-double to pad the lead in the eighth. Cabrera tacked on a solo home run an inning later -- the 100th of his career -- later that clanged off of Pesky's Pole in right.
Souza Jr. capped the scoring with a towering solo blast into the Green Monster seats in left.
Tampa Bay (74-78) benefited from a strong outing from left-hander Drew Smyly (4-2), who outdueled Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello in an early pitcher's duel, keeping Boston scoreless on five hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.
"Just pitching to my strengths, getting ahead, staying out of the heart of the plate" Smyly said. "Just trying not to give up that big hit, and I was able to do that tonight."
Pedroia failed to capitalize on a scoring chance with a pair of runners in scoring position and two out in the seventh, grounding out to squash the rally for Boston (72-79).
Two at-bats earlier, Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. teased the Fenway faithful with a long fly to the warning track in left with two runners on.
Bradley Jr. later scored a run on a throwing error with two outs in the ninth.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts extended his hitting streak to a career-high 12 games with an RBI-single in the ninth, forcing Rays closer Brad Boxberger to come in and record his 37th save.
Porcello (8-14) pitched commendably in defeat, holding the Rays' bats to three runs -- two earned -- on 11 hits while walking one and striking out eight over 7-plus innings.
"We gave up a bunch of hits, but they were all singles," Porcello said. "There were no extra-base hits until the eighth. We could manage with singles. We got a couple of double plays. I felt pretty good out there."
Boston right-handed reliever Jean Machi was ejected by home plate umpire Bill Welke after nearly hitting Souza in the head with his first pitch after giving up the home run to Cabrera.
"Personally, no I did not (think it was intentional)," Cash said. "But I understand the umpire, any time you get around anybody's head. They're trying to get the call right and they're trying to protect all of our players, so I can understand."
NOTES: The season series between Boston and Tampa Bay is now knotted at 9-9, with the Rays outscoring the Red Sox 75-72. … Tampa Bay has scored five or more runs in each of its last four games … Rays starting pitchers own a 2.48 ERA over the team's last 11 games. … Boston 3B Pablo Sandoval (upper-respiratory infection) missed his third straight game and will need at least "another day or two," interim manager Torey Lovullo said. ... Lovullo reflected on the death of Yankees great Yogi Berra. "He is such a great part of the game, and he's going to be missed," he said. ... Boston LHP Wade Miley (11-10, 4.34 ERA) faces Tampa Bay RHP Erasmo Ramirez (10-6, 2.70 ERA) in Thursday's
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