ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Long after it can do them any good, the Red Sox are, belatedly, having themselves a pretty good road trip.
The Sox rode a two-run homer from Jacoby Ellsbury, a two-run pinch-hit single by Mauro Gomez and a fine start from Aaron Cook to defeat the Tampa Bay Rays, 5-2, for their third win in the first four games of their current road swing.
Boston was hitless until the sixth, when, with Jose Iglesias (hit batsman) on third, Jacoby Ellsbury smacked his fourth homer of the year, breaking up Alex Cobb's no-hit bid and shutout all at once.
An inning later, Gomez hit for Scott Podsednik and drilled a single down the left field line, scoring James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Cook limited the Rays to a single run over six innings and picked up his first win since Aug. 6 and just his second since June 29. Rich Hill and Junichi Tazawa both contributed scoreless innings out of the bullpen before the Rays reached Mark Melancon for a run in the ninth.
The loss was Tampa Bay's sixth in their last seven games and dropped them further back in the chase for the second American League wild card.
The Red Sox (93-67) look to clinch the No. 2 seed in the A.L. playoffs and home-field advantage in the Division Series with the Cleveland Indians (92-67) with a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays tonight at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (93-67) send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (3-7, 4.68 ERA) to the mound against left-hander J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.20). Rodriguez is expected to pitch either Game 3 or 4 of the Division Series against the Indians next week.
The Jays are a game behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top A.L. wild-card spot and hold a half-game lead over the Detroit Tigers for the second wild-card spot.
Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts moves back to his customary No. 2 spot in the batting order after hitting sixth Friday night. Right-handed hitting Aaron Hill is at third base and Christian Vazquez catches for Boston.
There will be the second of three ceremonies this weekend to honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz before the game.
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
David Ortiz DH
Mookie Betts RF
Hanley Ramirez 1B
Chris Young LF
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Aaron Hill 3B
Christian Vazquez C
Eduardo Rodriguez LHP
Devon Travis 2B
Josh Donaldson 3B
Edwin Encarnacion 1B
Jose Bautista DH
Russell Martin C
Troy Tulowitzki SS
Melvin Upton LF
Kevin Pillar CF
Ezequiel Carrera RF
J.A. Happ LHP
Lou Merloni and Dan Shaughnessy discuss Boston Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello's chance of winning the CY Young award and if his performance on Friday may have lost his chances.