Since dropping into the AL East basement by percentage points on June 23, the Rays have relied on starting pitching to go 22-5. Tampa Bay’s starters have a majors’ best 2.21 ERA during the run.
“He was throwing strikes all night long,” Boston manager John Farrell said of Price. “I think up until about the sixth inning he was right around 80 percent strikes, which is almost unheard of. He never gave us a chance to build any kind of inning. Tip your hat. He pitched one heck of a game against us.”
James Loney had two hits and drove in a run for the Rays. Tampa Bay moved within a half-game of the AL East-leading Red Sox.
Mike Napoli homered for Boston, which lost for the fifth time in eight games.
Felix Doubront (7-4) gave up three runs and six hits. He walked two and struck out six in 6 2-3 innings. It was his 13th straight game allowing three runs or fewer, the best stretch by a Red Sox left-hander since at least 1920.
“The bottom line is we’re still in first place,” Doubront said. “That’s how I look at it. Give credit where credit is due. David Price pitched a great game.”
Boston lost for the fifth time in 15 games against the Rays.
Tampa Bay jumped ahead with three runs in the third on Myers’ two-run single and Sean Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly. Myers’ bloop fell into shallow center after the Rays loaded the bases on two singles and a fielder’s choice.
In the seventh, Napoli homered over the seats above the Green Monster and out of the park.
Loney and Jose Molina each had RBI singles off Matt Thornton to push the Rays’ lead to 5-1 in the eighth.
Like in the opening game of the series when left-hander Matt Moore threw a two-hitter in a 3-0 victory, the Red Sox had trouble stringing hits together.