ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- It came too late too save their playoff push, but at the very least, David Ortiz helped the Red Sox save some face Sunday.
Ortiz clobbered his fifth home run of an otherwise disappointing road trip in the third inning and it somehow stood up enough for the Red Sox to steal a 3-2 victory over Tampa Bay, thus avoiding the embarrassment of a weekend series sweep by the surging Rays.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Sox who won only the first and last games of their seven-game trip, while also curtailing the Rays' nine-game winning streak.
A one-out walk to Daniel Nava and an infield single by Dustin Pedroia set the stage for Ortiz, who was booed heavily througout the series. He launched a massive shot deep into the seats in right for his 25th homer of the season.
The Sox didn't score again off starter Chris Archer or a succession of relievers, but after two runs in the bottom of the same inning, neither did the Rays.
Allen Webster, making his first start of the season for the Sox, struggled with his command over 5 1/3, issuing five walks. But other than yielding a two-run double to left to Desmond Jennings in the third, managed to control the damage when necessary.
He had only one 1-2-3 inning -- the second -- but got some big outs in the third after when he stranded runners at second and third and again in the fourth when he wiggled out of a first-and-second jam.
Craig Breslow, Edward Mujica, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara followed Webster, with Uehara overcoming a leadoff single by Yunel Escobar, representing the tying run, to nail down his 21st save.
STAR OF THE GAME: David Ortiz
With one swing of the bat, in the third inning, Ortiz supplied the only runs the Red Sox would get -- or need. It was his fifth homer on the seven-game road trip and gave him 25 for the season.
HONORABLE MENTION: Allen Webster
Webster had difficulty with his command, issuing five walks, but he managed to get the Red Sox into the sixth inning while allowing only two runs. Not bad for his first major league start of the season.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Matt Joyce
As the Rays' No. 3 hitter, he had plenty of chances to do some damage. Instead, he struck out as part of an inning-ending double play in the first, struck out with two on in the third and hit into yet
another double play in the fifth.
TURNING POINT: Plain and simple: Ortiz's at-bat in the third. The Sox didn't score before that or after that.
BY THE NUMBERS: Ortiz has as many homers (25) as any lefty hitter in the game and more RBI (76) than any other.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "That's pretty much what I do. Tie game, you put the team ahead, you enjoy it.'' - David Ortiz on criticism after admiring another homer.