Rays hand stumbling Sox their fourth straight loss

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) reacts as Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings (8) runs around the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Friday night.
Kim Klement | USA Today Sports
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) reacts as Tampa Bay's Desmond Jennings (8) runs around the bases after hitting a two-run home run during the fifth inning at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., Friday night.
Posted July 25, 2014, at 10:32 p.m.

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Evan Longoria snapped a tie with a three-run double in the seventh inning and the Tampa Bay Rays extended their longest winning streak of the season to eight games with a 6-4 American League East Division victory over the Boston Red Sox Friday night.

Ben Zobrist went 4-for-4 with the game-tying RBI in the seventh and Desmond Jennings slugged a two-run homer for the Rays, who are 4-0 versus Boston at home. David Price (11-7) allowed three runs and struck out 10 in eight innings to win his first start against the Red Sox since a contentious encounter May 30 in Boston.

Shane Victorino had a solo homer and an RBI single while David Ortiz chipped in a run-scoring base hit as the Red Sox lost their fourth straight. Jon Lester let up two runs and struck out seven in six solid innings and left with a 3-2 lead before Tampa Bay got to the Boston bullpen in the seventh.

Andrew Miller took over for Lester and hit Jose Molina with a pitch to begin the frame before Jennings drew a one-out walk against Junichi Tazawa (1-2). Zobrist punched a single to left that was bobbled by Jonny Gomes as the tying run raced home and Longoria followed a walk to Brandon Guyer with a bases-clearing double into the left-field corner.

Price struck out Mike Napoli and Gomes to strand a runner in the eighth and reach 10 strikeouts for the ninth time in 2014. Jake McGee allowed a run in the ninth before striking out Brock Holt with a man on second to pick up his 10th save.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Price hit Ortiz with a pitch in the first inning of that May 30 matchup, which involved a bench-clearing incident, and the two later engaged in a war of words through the media. … The home run by Jennings snapped Lester’s career-long scoreless streak at 18. … The Red Sox have scored 11 total runs in four games since a 14-1 win in Toronto on Monday.

Yankees 6, Blue Jays 4

NEW YORK — Ichiro Suzuki ended the third-longest homerless drought of his career by hitting a go-ahead three-run home run with one out in the bottom of the third inning and the New York Yankees extended their home winning streak over the Toronto Blue Jays to 17 games with a 6-4 victory Friday night at Yankee Stadium.

Suzuki ended a drought of 294 at-bats when he drove a 1-1 curveball from Toronto left-hander Mark Buehrle (10-7) into the right field seats. It was his first home run since Aug. 30 when he connected off Baltimore Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez.

The Yankees continued their home domination of the Blue Jays despite two home runs from right fielder Jose Bautista. Bautista had his 23rd career multi home run game as he hit a three-run shot with one out in the first off right-hander Hiroki Kuroda (7-6) and hit a solo shot with two outs in the third after the Yankees were within one run.

New York has not lost to the Blue Jays at home since Sept. 19, 2012. It is the Yankees’ longest home winning streak against any team since winning 19 in a row over the Cleveland Indians from June 10, 1960-April 21, 1962.

Designated hitter Carlos Beltran also homered for the Yankees, who have won seven of eight on a season-high 10-game homestand and 13 of their last 19. Second baseman Brian Roberts added a run-scoring infield single and left fielder Brett Gardner lifted a sacrifice fly.

Buehrle continued struggling against the Yankees and he was gone after allowing six runs and nine hits in three innings. It was his shortest start since going three innings June 6, 2010, against the Cleveland Indians for the Chicago White Sox and was his 10th straight loss to New York since April 10, 2004.

Kuroda improved to 6-1 when pitching on four days rest as he allowed four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings. After allowing Bautista’s second home run, Kuroda retired nine of the final 12 batters he faced.

David Huff and Shawn Kelley each pitched a scoreless inning. Dellin Betances allowed a one-out double to Bautista in the eighth but struck out Juan Francisco for the final out.

David Robertson allowed a two-out infield single to center fielder Anthony Gose but struck out shortstop Jose Reyes for his 26th save in 28 opportunities.

Toronto took a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning when Bautista drove a 3-0 sinker into the first row of the left field bleachers for his 19th home run of the season and his second since July 2. Bautista’s home run came after shortstop Jose Reyes singled to left field and left fielder Melky Cabrera singled to right.

The Yankees opened the second inning with two singles and a walk. They scored their first run on an infield single by second baseman Brian Roberts and were within a run after a sacrifice fly by left fielder Brett Gardner to Blue Jays center fielder Anthony Gose, who made a running catch.

Buehrle escaped further trouble by retiring Jeter on a ground ball that required Toronto shortstop Jose Reyes to make a throw on the run from deep in the hole.

Bautista struck again with two outs in the third inning, sending a 2-1 slider into the first row of the left field seats.

New York got within a run with one out in the bottom of the third inning for the second time when Beltran sent a 2-1 changeup a little farther than Bautista’s second home run. After singles by McCann and Headley, Suzuki drove a 1-1 curveball into the right field seats.

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