Red Sox slip up in 11th, but stay in 1st place

Red Sox slip up in 11th, but stay in 1st place

ST. PETERSBURG -- Luke Maile saw reliever Heath Hembree drop the ball at first base in the 11th inning and started his sprint home. And the Rays' backup catcher slid in safely as Sandy Leon couldn't handle the throw at the plate to give Tampa Bay a 4-3, walk-off win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Tropicana Field. The Red Sox remain in a tie for first place in the American League East since the Blue Jays lost to the Angels on Wednesday.

"I was just busting my butt trying to get to the bag," Hembree said. "Was just running a little bit too fast. Knew the ball was coming and trying to find the bag, it was just, I just dropped it. ... It's a play I should make 10 out of 10 times."

Rays manager Kevin Cash labeled the ending a "unique play."

"I didn't envision Luke Maile taking an extra 90 feet on a ball that didn't get out of the infield, but I'm glad he did," Cash said.

One-run win a wonderful result for Rays

Maile entered the game in extra innings and doubled with two outs in the 11th in his only at-bat. He was at second base when Kevin Kiermaier hit a dribbler to first base, where Travis Shaw fielded the ball before Hembree dropped his toss while covering the bag. 

"That's kind of a routine 3-to-1 play," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Unfortunately it comes at a time when there's two outs and a guy is on the move. It ends up being the difference in this one. Yeah, that's a routine play."

Evan Longoria's game-tying home run in the eighth inning off Rick Porcello was his 30th homer of the year. It was also his franchise-leading fourth 30th-homer season, as he passed Carlos Pena, who had three.

Longoria's game-tying home run

Matt Andriese settled down for the Rays after giving up a two-run homer to David Ortiz, also recording No. 30, in the first. The right-hander finished with a quality start, allowing three runs over six innings.

Brad Miller had the other big hit for Tampa Bay off Porcello, who was trying to become the first pitcher to reach 18 wins this year. With two outs in the third inning, Miller doubled down the right-field line to score two runs.

Papi makes history: Ortiz became the oldest player to hit 30 home runs in a season with his two-run blast in the first. It also gave him 100 RBIs, giving him 10 100-RBI seasons with the Red Sox, the most in franchise history. He also singled in the sixth inning.

"It's good. We need that," Ortiz said. "We need offense. We've had a good offense this year, and that's what's keeping us alive. Hopefully it continues." More >

Must C: Papi oldest to hit 30 HR

Miller comes through: Miller entered Wednesday's game with three home runs in 11 career at-bats against Porcello. So when Miller stepped to the plate with two on and two outs in the third, the Rays couldn't have had a better guy at the plate. Miller didn't homer, but he did score both by ripping a double, cutting the Red Sox's lead to 3-2.

Miller's two-run double to right

Porcello just misses 18th win: At 7 1/3 innings and two runs allowed, Porcello seemed to be on his way to picking up his 18th victory. But Longoria tied it up with his home run. Porcello exited after allowing a two-out single to Matt Duffy on his career-high 123rd pitch.

"Obviously, I wish I had thrown that curveball in a different spot than I did to Longoria," Porcello said. "Other than that, we played hard, top to bottom. We came up just short."

Porcello's strong road start

Andriese is quality: Andriese had allowed at least five runs in each of his previous two starts, but he was much better against Boston. He left on a high note, striking out Brock Holt swinging with runners on second and third to end the sixth.

Andriese strikes out Holt

"I think everyone in the ballpark knew that ball was leaving. In a tight game like that, if he hits a double or whatever, you're all right, you can still manage that. You just can't give up a home run." -- Porcello, on Longoria's solo shot

Tampa Bay trailed, 3-2, in the seventh when the Red Sox got runners on second and third with no outs, prompting the Rays to play their infield in. Dustin Pedroia grounded up the middle, but Duffy managed to grab the ball at short, tag out Andrew Benintendi heading back to second, then throw to first to complete the double play. Xander Bogaerts ended the inning by grounding out to third. Benintendi sprained his left knee trying to get back to second on the double play and had to be helped off the field. More >

Duffy turns a quick two

When Pedroia was called safe stealing second with one out in the first, the Rays challenged. After review, it was ruled that the call on the field stands.

Pedroia's steal survives review

Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz (10-9, 2.95 ERA) will look to extend his four-start streak of allowing two earned runs or fewer when he faces Tampa Bay at 1:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. He's faced the Rays twice in his career (one start) and has yet to allow a run against them.

Rays: Jake Odorizzi (8-5, 3.63 ERA) will make his 27th start of the season on Thursday, and he hopes to continue the roll he's enjoyed since the All-Star break. The right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA since the break.

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

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for since 2005.

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