Price stifles Rays as Sox join Jays atop East

Price stifles Rays as Sox join Jays atop East

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays entered Monday's series opener against the Red Sox having scored 55 runs in the previous seven games. Apparently the only thing that could cool them off was facing Red Sox lefty ace David Price.

The former Rays star pitched eight scoreless innings and allowed just two hits in a 6-2 Red Sox win at Tropicana Field. From the outset, it looked like Price and rookie lefty Blake Snell would have a pitchers' duel. But Snell allowed two runs before getting pulled amid a 40-pitch fourth inning. And the Red Sox's offense was more than enough.

"It felt good, for sure," Price said. "I made some good pitches. It's a tough team for me to pitch against. Doesn't matter if it's here or on the road. It's just tough."

Price, Benintendi lead Red Sox

With the victory, Boston pulled into a first-place tie with idle Toronto in the American League East.

The play of the game came in the eighth when Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi robbed Steven Souza Jr. of a two-run homer down the left-field line -- nearly flipping over the short-porch wall in the process.

Benintendi's catch to rob homer

Beninten-D! Boston LF robs Ray of HR

It preserved a scoreless outing for Price, who let the Rays have few other chances. The win was Boston's ninth in its past 11 games.

"We probably got some pitches to hit that we just missed, but it was a really strong start by David Price," Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said. "We've had some success against him in the past, but tonight you could tell he was mixing his pitches well and kept a lot of balls off the barrel. He threw a good ballgame."

In the ninth, Evan Longoria swatted his 29th homer, a two-run shot to left off Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes to get the Rays on the scoreboard.

Young man's game: Playing his first game since June after returning from a hamstring strain, Chris Young got the Red Sox on the board first. His RBI double against Snell in the fourth drove in Hanley Ramirez and put Sandy Leon at third base.

Young's line-drive RBI double

"It feels great [to contribute]," Young said. "That's the plan going in always. You never really know how it's going to work out with you being out for so long. Being able to be in a situation with a runner on third and less than two outs, you're just trying to do your job." More >

Snell ya later: For three innings Monday, Snell cruised. A stray hit here or an errant walk there only provided hiccups during the rookie's first three innings against the Red Sox. Otherwise, he stood toe-to-toe with Price.

The starting pitcher dispatched of Mookie Betts to lead off the fourth, but only after the outfielder grinded out a seven-pitch at-bat. Boston was only starting. Ramirez worked a six-pitch walk, then Leon smacked the sixth pitch of his at-bat out to right field for a single. Snell's next pitch was a changeup and Young ripped it to right field to break a scoreless tie.

Snell strikes out Benintendi

Boston wore down Snell during the fourth, when he walked three and gave up two hits. His day ended after getting two outs in the frame and letting two runs score, leaving Tampa Bay behind for good.

"Blake just struggled to find the zone again," Cash said. "It drove his pitch count up. He did some good things getting ahead of some hitters, but it just seemed like there were just too many bullets wasted driving the pitch count up and leading to too many walks." More >

Late home run ices it: Xander Bogaerts hadn't hit a home run since July 31. But he connected on a long ball to ice the game in the ninth off Rays reliever Danny Farquhar. It went over the 370-foot sign in left-center and made it a 5-0 game. The Red Sox wouldn't need to use closer Craig Kimbrel.

Bogaerts' two-run jack

"I spent seven years here. I didn't see that catch too many times. It doesn't happen a whole lot. That was huge." -- Price, on Benintendi's catch

David Ortiz's first-inning double was his 40th of the season and 624th of his career, and it tied Hall of Famer Hank Aaron for 10th on baseball's all-time list. His 2,042 hits are tied with Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr for sixth in club history.

Ortiz doubles to tie Aaron

Red Sox: Clay Buchholz (4-9, 5.42 ERA) remains in the rotation to start Tuesday against Tampa Bay at 7:10 p.m. ET. In his pst seven outings, he has a 2.16 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. His 2.63 ERA against the Rays is second-lowest among active pitchers.

Rays: Chris Archer (7-16, 4.18 ERA) tries to continue his most successful stretch of the season when Tampa Bay continues its four-game series with Boston. He has a 2.72 ERA in his past six starts and has lowered his overall ERA in each one.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Sam Blum is a reporter for based in St. Petersburg and covered the Red Sox on Monday.

David Wilson is a contributor to based in St. Petersburg and covered the Rays on Monday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.