ST. PETERSBURG -- Zeros were the order of the day on late Saturday afternoon when Rick Porcello and Alex Cobb took the mound for the Red Sox and Rays, respectively, at Tropicana Field.
The right-handers were on, making runs precious. In the end, one proved enough as the third-place Rays took a 1-0 win to move to within 4-1/2 games of the American League East -leading Red Sox heading into Sunday's first-half finale. The Rays last won a 1-0 contest on Aug. 20, 2015, at Houston.
"Exciting win to say the least," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It was awesome to see the crowd get into it there at the end. Not a lot of hitting, but a lot of pitches were made. A lot of plays on defense. Their guy was outstanding. Our guy was just a tick better. Alex set the tone. We knew we needed a big start out of him."
The Red Sox looked primed to tie it up or even take the lead in the top of the ninth against Rays closer Alex Colome when Mitch Moreland smashed a double to right that put runners on second and third with one out. But Hanley Ramirez struck out and Chris Young popped up to end it. Red Sox manager John Farrell could have used lefty Jackie Bradley Jr. -- who had a rare day off -- to pinch-hit for Young, but opted not to.
"Right-handers are hitting nearly .300 against Colome on the year," Farrell said. "Felt like we had the right guys in the order where we were. Chris has been so good with bases-loaded situations where he's remained patient, he's laid off some borderline pitches. Like I said, I thought we had the right guys at the plate."
The only run scored came in the second when Steven Souza Jr. and Brad Miller singled to open the inning. Adeiny Hechavarria then grounded into a 6-4-3 double play but the Rays challenged, and the call was overturned to leave runners at first and third with one out. Porcello then hit Shane Peterson to load the bases for Jesus Sucre, who seized the moment by delivering a sacrifice fly to center that scored Souza Jr. and put the Rays up 1-0.
"Hats off to Alex Cobb, he threw an incredible ball game and did a great job," Porcello said. "When their guy's throwing the ball that well, runs are at a premium. Just a tough one. We'll get back out there tomorrow."
Cobb notched his third scoreless start of the season, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out three in 7 2/3 innings to pick up the win and move to 7-6 on the season. Colome recorded the final four outs of the game to preserve the win and pick up his 24th save of the season.
"Sucre coming up with the big RBI and the way he was able to handle the game calling behind the plate was just fun. And then walking off the mound at the end and hearing the fans. ... All the way down to the wire, and Colome came up huge. Settled down. I don't know how he doesn't show any emotion on the mound."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sucre delivers: Sucre's offense has been one of the pleasant surprises for the Rays this season. While spelling everyday catcher Wilson Ramos on Saturday, opportunity came Sucre's way in the second when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded. Porcello fell behind 1-0 when his first-pitch slider missed. Sucre then swung at Porcello's second pitch, an 86.9-mph slider, and flied out to center field. Souza scored on the play and that run held for the eventual game-winner.
"I've never done good against [Porcello]," Sucre said. "So I just tried not to get too big and put the ball in play."
Colome to the rescue: Colome entered the game with two outs in the eighth and retired Mookie Betts on a flyout to center to end the inning. Things then got interesting in the ninth when Xander Bogaerts drew a one-out walk and Moreland followed with a double. But Colome recovered to strike out Hanley Ramirez swinging. After intentionally walking Andrew Benintendi to load the bases, Colome retired Chris Young on a popout to shortstop to end the game.
"I went up to [Colome] and said, 'Nobody said it was going to be easy. You got one out. Don't try to do too much.'" -- Sucre, on his ninth-inning mound visit
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
• Saturday marked just the 11th time since 1913 that the Red Sox have lost a 1-0 game when the only run allowed was on a sacrifice fly. It was the first time Boston has lost in such fashion since Sept. 10, 2007, on a sac fly by Tampa Bay's Josh Wilson at Fenway Park.
• Sucre's sacrifice fly was the 55th RBI from Rays catchers this season, matching their total from the 2016 season.
The Rays challenged in the second inning when Hechavarria was called out at first on the back end of an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. After a delay of 1 minute, 34 seconds, the call on the field was overturned.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Chris Archer (7-5, 3.95) gets the nod for the Rays in the series finale against the Red Sox on Sunday in a 1:10 p.m. ET contest at Tropicana Field. On Tuesday against the Cubs, the right-hander threw a season-high 116 pitches and notched his 11th quality start of the season.
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price (4-2, 4.02) closes out his abbreviated first half when he starts the finale of this four-game series against the team that drafted and developed him. Price is 36-30 with a 2.88 ERA lifetime at Tropicana Field. Price missed the first two months of the season with a left elbow strain, but is coming off two strong starts in wins over the Twins and Rangers.