ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays walked off with an extra-innings victory to overshadow another big accomplishment for David Ortiz.
Big Papi became the oldest player ever to hit 30 homers in a season, but the Rays came back from a three-run deficit to beat Boston 4-3 in 11 innings Wednesday night and prevent the Red Sox from taking sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Luke Maile doubled with two out in the 11th and scored from second base after Red Sox pitcher Heath Hembree (4-1) dropped a throw to first base on Kevin Kiermaier’s grounder. A throw to the plate beat Maile, but catcher Sandy Leon dropped the ball as Maile slid across with the winning run.
“It’s fun anytime you can walk off in front of your fans and have a celebration out there on the field,” Kiermaier said. “We don’t get to do that very much. It’s a win. We’ll take it.”
Brad Boxberger (2-0) got the win after one inning of relief.
“Soon as I saw the ball go on the ground, I knew I wasn’t going to beat it unless it got kicked around a little bit, but I just tried to run hard and pick up the ball as soon as I touched third,” said Maile, who had entered the game in the 10th inning. “Instincts just kind of took over after that.”
Boston has won 10 of its last 13 games and remained tied in first with Toronto after the Blue Jays lost 8-2 to the Angels.
“It’s hard to lose a game like that at this time,” Ortiz said. “You expect to win that kind of game, especially (in) the stage that we are in now. ”
Bidding to become the majors’ first 18-game winner, Rick Porcello allowed Evan Longoria’s tying homer in the eighth before leaving with 7 2/3 innings pitched. Longoria became the first Rays player to hit 30 home runs in four seasons.
Red Sox rookie Andrew Benintendi left the game in the seventh with a left knee sprain after being tagged out by shortstop Matt Duffy on a double play.
The 40-year-old Ortiz hit the first pitch he got from starter Matt Andriese in the first inning for a two-run homer. Ortiz is the only player with 30 homers and 100 RBIs in each of the past four seasons, and he’s the first Red Sox player to drive in 100 runs 10 times.
Ortiz has 533 home runs, one shy of Jimmie Foxx for 18th on the career list. Ortiz plans to retire at the end of the season.
Brad Miller’s double in the third drove in Tampa Bay’s first two runs.
Andriese struck out eight in six innings, giving up three runs on six hits.
SIX-MAN ROTATION LIKELY FOR RAYS
With Alex Cobb and/or Chase Whitley coming back from injuries and rookie Blake Snell facing limits on his innings, the Rays are considering a six-man rotation down the stretch, and even that would mean removing a current starter from the mix.
“I think that’s probably a good option,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We’re not going to draw straws and say one guy’s out of the rotation, but we’re going to have to find a way to get everybody their innings.”
Rays: RHP Cobb (Tommy John surgery) will make his final rehab start Saturday for Triple-A Durham and hopes to have his first major league appearance in almost two years during a series Sept. 2-4 against Toronto.
The Rays optioned 1B Richie Shaffer to Triple-A Durham immediately after the game and recalled RHP Tyler Sturdevant.
LHP Drew Pomeranz will make his eighth start for the Red Sox on Thursday against Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi, who is 5-0 with a 1.64 ERA in six starts since the All-Star break.
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