ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Wade Davis threw a six-hitter, John Jaso hit a three-run homer and the Tampa Bay Rays moved within 5 1/2 games of AL wild-card leading Boston with a 7-2 victory over the Red Sox on Friday night.
Davis (10-8) struck out eight in his second career complete game. The righthander, who had his other complete game on Sept. 17, 2009, had gone 0-2 with an 11.12 ERA in three previous starts against Boston. Tampa Bay pitchers have 15 complete games this season.
Jaso put the Rays ahead 3-0 with a three-run homer off John Lackey (12-12) in the second. He entered 8 for 37 (.216) in 14 games since returning from strained right oblique last month. Boston has lost five of six. After two more games in Florida this weekend, the Red Sox will host Tampa Bay in a four-games series that starts Thursday at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox were without infielder Kevin Youkilis, who returned to Boston to have his sore hip examined by team doctors and undergo an MRI exam.
Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon was back in the lineup after missing the previous three games because of a sore right leg. He had an infield single during the third that moved him past Doc Cramer into 62nd place on the all-time hits with 2,706.
Damon and Matt Joyce had RBI singles in the third to made it 5-0. Jaso later in the inning hit a two-out shot with the bases loaded off Lackey’s left leg, but the pitcher recovered to pick up the ball and throw the Rays’ catcher out at first.
Lackey left with a bruised calf and was replaced by Scott Atchison to start the fourth. Lackey, who has lost three consecutive starts, gave up five runs, five hits and three walks in a 69-pitch outing.
Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an RBI infield during a two-run sixth that got Boston within 5-2. The other run scored on Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly.
The Rays got both runs back in the bottom of the sixth on RBI doubles by Reid Brignac and Evan Longoria.
Notes: Tampa Bay has won 19 in a row when scoring five runs or more. … Red Sox manager Terry Francona said RHP’s Clay Buchholz (lower back) and Josh Beckett (sprained right ankle) are making progress. A schedule for when Buchholz could throw off a bullpen mound may be determined this weekend. … Boston recalled Atchison from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game. … Red Sox RHP Kyle Weiland (0-1) and Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson (12-10) are Saturday’s scheduled starters.