BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox moved to within a victory of the American League Championship Series with a 7-4 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.
The Red Sox, who won the opener 12-2 Friday, scored six runs in the first five innings against nemesis David Price, got two solo homers from David Ortiz and had their bullpen get the last 10 outs to go up 2-0 in the best-of-five series.
Game 3 is Monday night in St. Petersburg, with the ever-resilient Rays on the brink of elimination.
It was the first multi-homer game of Ortiz’s postseason career.
Price, 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA lifetime at Fenway, where he beat the Red Sox twice in six days back in July, coming in, gave up seven runs in seven-plus innings. He had pitched his team into the wild-card round with a complete-game play-in win at Texas last Monday.
It was the first time in 20 career starts against Boston that Price, now 0-4 in the postseason (Monday’s playoff counted in the regular season), allowed as many as six runs.
Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits and scored all three times and Dustin Pedroia drove in three runs to give winner John Lackey the support he needed to even his postseason record at 4-4.
Ortiz had been 8-for-37 with no homers and four RBIs against Price coming in.
Lackey, starting Game 2 because he’s been so much better at home this season, lasted just 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs before three relievers finished up.
Koji Uehara worked a perfect ninth (11 pitches, all strikes, two strikeouts) in the ninth for the save, in what became Boston’s 99th win of the season. The Red Sox won 69 games in 2012.
James Loney had a two-run double for Tampa Bay, which has yielded 20 runs on 25 hits in the first two games of the series.
Before the game, Red Sox manager John Farrell, talking about trying to get to Price, said, “We may look to manufacture runs a little bit earlier because of fewer potential opportunities.”
Then, in the first inning, Ellsbury singled and stole second. Jose Molina’s throwing error on the big-jump steal sent Ellsbury to third. Shane Victorino couldn’t get the run in but Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly. Ortiz hit his 13th career postseason homer two pitches later.
NOTES: Tampa Bay 2B Ben Zobrist, taken out hard by a Victorino slide in the third inning, rushed his next DP pivot and threw the ball off the point of the roof of the Boston dugout in fourth inning, the error leading to the Red Sox’s fifth run. He also struck out twice and banged into a double play, leaving five runners on. … Boston RHP Clay Buchholz and Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb are a combined 24-4 this season, counting playoffs, as they face off in Game 3. Cobb, who will become the second pitcher ever to start a postseason game, is 4-0 with an 0.90 ERA in his last four starts, including a 4-0 win over the Indians in the wild-card game. … According to Baseball Reference, Cobb will be only the second pitcher in the history of the game to pitch a postseason game on his birthday (the first since 1903). … Red Sox fans continued their Game 1 chant of “My-ers, My-ers”) directed at Rays rookie right fielder Wil Myers, whose outfield gaffe paved the way to Boston’s opening win. They also cheered Myers’ name in the introductions and he got a partial standing ovation for catching a fly ball in the fifth. … Jim Lonborg, the ace of the 1967 Impossible Dream Red Sox and now a dentist in the Boston area, threw out the first pitch.