Red Sox finally get back at Rays, 6-1
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — As much as the Boston Red Sox wanted to play down the significance of beating the Tampa Bay Rays, David Ortiz conceded it did feel good to finally break through against baseball's top team.
"Of course, man. These guys have been giving us a hard time," Ortiz said after he and Kevin Youkilis homered in support of right-hander Clay Buchholz in a 6-1 victory last night.
"Not only to us, to everyone," the slugger added. "They have the best record in baseball. So you've got to play your best."
The Red Sox beat the Rays for the first time in five tries, climbing a season-best four games over .500 (25-21) with their third straight win on a difficult road trip that began in Philadelphia.
Buchholz (6-3) won his eighth consecutive road start dating to last August, the longest such streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Roger Clemens won nine in a row from July 18, 1992 to April 20, 1993.
The right-hander allowed one run — Carlos Pena's eighth homer — and six hits over six innings. Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard didn't allow any baserunners the rest of the way.
"We're getting great starting pitching. When you do that, all we have to do is put a couple runs on the board and those guys can take over," Dustin Pedroia said, adding the Red Sox are focused on themselves — not catching the first-place Rays.
Ortiz homered for the fifth time in his last nine games, hitting a solo shot off Wade Davis (4-4) in the second inning. Davis walked in a run and yielded RBI singles to Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Hermida during a three-run third that put the Red Sox up 4-0.
Youkilis, who is batting .400 (12 for 30) with five homers and 12 RBIs over his past nine games, made it 6-0 with a two-run shot off reliever Lance Cormier in the fourth.
"They got us tonight," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "We didn't play badly. They beat us."
At 32-13, the Rays are off to the best start in the major leagues since 2001.
Blue Jays 6, Angels 0: Brett Cecil pitched two-hit ball into the eighth inning, Adam Lind drove in a pair of runs and visiting Toronto blanked Los Angeles. Cecil (4-2) struck out three and won his second consecutive start since allowing eight runs in two innings May 14 at Texas.
White Sox 7, Indians 2: Mark Teahen drove in three runs, John Danks stopped a personal three-game slide and visiting Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak to Cleveland. Danks (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings.
Reds 7, Pirates 5: Drew Stubbs had three hits, and right-hander Aaron Harang singled home a run and chugged around the bases to score another during host Cincinnati's five-run fourth. Harang (3-5) singled for a 3-2 lead, then barely scored from first on Orlando Cabrera's double.