ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Mired in a week-long hitting slump, the Red Sox broke through for an eight-run third inning and cruised to a 9-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays for just their third win in the last 13 games.
Coming into the game, the Red Sox had collected just five hits in their previous 40 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but quickly bucked that trend, with four straight hits in those situations in the third.
The Sox sent 11 men to the plate in that inning, with the big hit coming on Stephen Drew's grand slam, the second of his career.
Will Middlebrooks showed further evidence that his slump is coming to an end, with a double in the second and a solo homer -- both hit to right field, an encouraging sign.
Jon Lester pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on eight hits while fanning five. He improved to 6-0, matching Clay Buchholz for the best record on the team.
Tampa Bay starter David Price left the game in the fateful third, bothered by a sore triceps.
AT A GLANCE
STAR OF THE GAME: Stephen Drew
Drew continued his hot month with a walk, a grand slam and a double, with the grand slam accounting for four of the eight Red Sox runs in the big third inning.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jon Lester
Lester improved to 6-0 with seven strong innings, allowing just two runs. For the second straight outing, he didn't walk a hitter.
GOAT OF THE GAME: David Price
Price was forced from the game in the third with a strained left triceps, but even before the injury struck, it wasn't a good night for the lefty, who allowed five hits and was charged with four runs in just 2 1/3 innings.
TURNING POINT: With the Sox already comfortably ahead 4-0, Drew's second career grand slam doubled the score and put the game away for the Red Sox.
BY THE NUMBERS: Jon Lester recorded five strikeouts, giving him 1,110 for his career and moving him past Josh Beckett into fifth place all-time in Red Sox history.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "Finally, we broke out.'' John Farrell on the Red Sox' offensive explosion.