ST. PETERSBURG -- Mikie Mahtook called timeout at second base and looked to the Tropicana Field roof, letting a massive deep breath escape him. His RBI double gave the Rays a one-run lead in the seventh inning. It also snapped a personal 0-for-34 stretch that dated back to Aug. 9.The
ST. PETERSBURG -- Mikie Mahtook called timeout at second base and looked to the Tropicana Field roof, letting a massive deep breath escape him. His RBI double gave the Rays a one-run lead in the seventh inning. It also snapped a personal 0-for-34 stretch that dated back to Aug. 9.
The lead would hold for the Rays, who went on to defeat Boston, 2-1, on Thursday.
"We needed a lot of things to come together for us to get that win," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "It seemed like they all did today."
Despite Boston's loss, the Red Sox and Blue Jays remained tied for first place in the American League East after Toronto's 6-3 loss to the Angels on Thursday night.
"We had a winning road trip," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We had to go out and put up a winning record, we've done that. But despite being 7-4 [on the road trip], there's times you look back, today being one of them, that you could have possibly capitalized."
Jake Odorizzi threw seven innings of one-run ball, as he dropped his second-half ERA to 1.59, the lowest in the AL. He's also 6-0 since the All-Star break. Drew Pomeranz was nearly as good, striking out 11, but he allowed two straight hits to start the seventh inning.
• Career-best 11 K's not enough for Pomeranz
Tyler Sturdevant, who was called up by the Rays before the game, came on to pitch the ninth with closer Alex Colomé unavailable and struck out the first two batters. Enny Romero came in to face pinch-hitter David Ortiz and struck him out, earning his first MLB save.
The Rays finished their best homestand of the year at 7-3.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Blooper reel: Odorizzi was cruising against the Red Sox through five innings on just 63 pitches, and Boston couldn't buy a rally. Then Bryan Holaday had a bloop hit that a shifted Steven Souza Jr. couldn't get to in right field. Boston would get the next two batters on, and with the bases loaded and no one out, Mookie Betts lined a sacrifice fly to left field to get Boston a 1-0 lead.
Red Sox done in by defense: With the Red Sox down a run in the eighth inning, Dustin Pedroia led off with a single to left field. Xander Bogaerts immediately grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. The next batter was Betts, who doubled down the left-field line. But Mahtook picked up the ball quickly and threw a strike to second base to nab Betts and end the threat.
Odo's Houdini act: Twice in the sixth inning, Odorizzi found himself facing a bases-loaded situation. The Rays' right-hander first loaded the bases when he walked Bogaerts with no outs to put Red Sox at every base. Betts followed with a sacrifice fly. The bases were again juiced after Hanley Ramirez walked, but this time Odorizzi got Jackie Bradley Jr., to hit into a 4-6-3 double-play.
"Have to credit [pitching coach Jim Hickey]," Odorizzi said. "Great mound visit. He came out and said first-pitch changeup, get a double-play. So that's exactly what we did."
Luke Scott is safe:Luke Scott set the Rays' team record with an 0-for-41 stretch in 2012. While Mahtook had some work to do to reach Scott, their names were becoming intertwined since the Rays outfielder found himself in an 0-for-34 slump. Mahtook's notoriety came to an abrupt halt in the seventh inning when he doubled home Souza to put the Rays up 2-1. Mahtook celebrated in the top of the eighth by throwing out Betts trying to stretch a single into a double for the third out of the inning. More >
"They hit some balls hard. They hit a couple balls where we weren't. It was good placement by them, and that's that." -- Pomeranz, on giving up the lead in the sixth inning
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Brad Miller had another RBI on Thursday, giving him 11 for the homestand, which tied him with Nick Franklin for the most by a Rays player during a homestand this season.
Red Sox:Steven Wright (13-5, 3.01 ERA) will make his first start since Aug. 5 as he returns from the disabled list to start against the Royals at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. ET. The knuckleballer has already thrown a complete game against the Royals this season on May 18 in Kansas City.
Rays: The Rays travel to Houston to play the Astros on Friday at 8:10 p.m. ET at Minute Maid Park. They will send lefty Drew Smyly (6-11, 4.88 ERA) to the mound to try and win his fourth consecutive start and fifth consecutive decision. He's 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA in five starts since July 30, allowing 21 hits and 11 runs in 32 2/3 innings. .
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Sam Blum is a reporter for MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Thursday.
Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.