By MARK DIDTLER Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) _ Wil Myers hit a tiebreaking double in the eighth inning and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Thursday night to avoid a three-game sweep.
Myers drove in Evan Longoria, who also doubled off Rubby De La Rosa (0-1), to give the Rays a 4-3 lead.
Jake McGee (5-3) pitched a scoreless eighth before Fernando Rodney got three outs to earn his 34th save. The Rays lead the crowded race for the second AL wild card despite going 5-13 since Aug. 25.
David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered for Boston, which has an 81/2-game advantage over second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East.
The Red Sox threatened in the ninth when Stephen Drew had an infield single and pinch-hitter Mike Carp walked with one out. Rodney worked out of the jam when pinch-hitter Will Middlebrooks lined out to third and Dustin Pedroia popped out.
Ortiz hit an opposite-field solo homer to left and Drew had a run-scoring double as the Red Sox tied it at 3 in the sixth.
Ortiz has 43 career homers against Tampa Bay, the second-most by an opponent. Of those, 28 have come at Tropicana Field.
Longoria tripled and scored on Myers’ single to put the Rays ahead 1-0 in the second. James Loney made it 2-0 with an RBI double in the third.
Saltalamacchia snapped an 0-for-21 stretch and pulled Boston to 2-1 on a fourth-inning homer.
Tampa Bay went up 3-1 in the bottom half when Desmomd Jennings hit a solo home run.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson allowed three runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Boston right-hander Jake Peavy appeared to get hit in the leg by Jennings’ drive in the sixth. The ball was redirected to third baseman Xander Bogaerts, who got a forceout at second.
Peavy gave up three runs, four hits and five walks over six innings.
NOTES: The Red Sox will honor New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera before his last regular-season game at Fenway Park on Sunday. Rivera is retiring after the season. … Boston OF Jacoby Ellsbury (foot), who missed his sixth consecutive game and is not yet doing baseball activities, will have his status evaluated in the next few days. … Rays C Jose Molina left the team to be with his mother, who had surgery. He is expected back Friday. … Shane Victorino was out of the Red Sox lineup because manager John Farrell wanted to give the outfielder a day off from playing on the artificial turf. … 2012 Olympic silver medalist and professional beach volleyball star Jen Kessy served a volleyball from the mound for the ceremonial first pitch.
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