BOSTON (AP) - A strong start by Blake Snell and a few home runs were enough for Tampa Bay to extend its winning streak to seven.
Snell struck out nine while pitching into the eighth inning for the first time in his career and the Rays held on to beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 on Friday night.
Wilson Ramos hit a two-run homer in the first inning for the Rays, who added solo homers by Rob Refsnyder and Daniel Robertson while handing the Red Sox just their second loss at home this season.
“To see the offense put four runs on the board, it just allows me to be more aggressive,” said Snell, who won his fourth consecutive start. “It just allows me to miss in the zone and be OK with it.”
Snell (4-1) struck out five straight during a stretch in the first three innings and didn’t allow a baserunner until the fourth.
Xander Bogaerts, back in the lineup for the first time in nearly three weeks, had Boston’s first hit off Snell, a leadoff single in the fifth. Bogaerts finished 3 for 4 in his first action since missing 15 games with a broken bone in his left ankle. He struck out in his first at-bat, one of many victims to Snell’s curveball.
“His curveball was on point and that one he threw me was pretty nasty,” Bogaerts said.
Snell allowed two runs on five hits and one walk in 7 1/3 innings. Alex Colome worked the ninth for his fifth save in seven opportunities, striking out pinch-hitter Andrew Benintendi looking to end it.
“It’s Fenway Park. There’s always going to be drama when you’re in a one-run ballgame,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “That offense is too talented not to, but Alex - he threw a heck of a ball.”
Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez hit RBI doubles for the Red Sox, who have lost four of six. Boston left five runners on base, including Bogaerts in the ninth, and the Red Sox struck out 11 times.
“We’re striking out too much lately. It’s becoming an issue,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “There are certain situations that we have to put the ball in play.”
Drew Pomeranz (0-1) lasted five innings in his second start of the season. Pomeranz, who missed the first 18 games with a forearm injury, allowed four runs - all on homers - struck out four and walked two.
Ramos’ two-out blast over the Green Monster scored C.J. Cron in the first. Refsnyder led off the third with another shot over the Monster, his first homer since October 2015. Robertson led off the fourth with another homer to left.
Pomeranz said he just didn’t have command of his curveball.
Boston didn’t have a baserunner until Snell walked Betts to start the fourth.
Snell took a shutout into the sixth, when Christian Vazquez led off with a double off the wall in left and scored on Betts’ one-out double to center. Martinez drove in Betts with a two-out double down the line in right.
Betts doubled again in the eighth off Chaz Roe and scored on a single by Martinez.
BOGAERTS IS BACK
Bogaerts made a great defensive play in the sixth with a diving stop on a hard grounder, then threw out Ramos from his knees.
Bogaerts said he still has some pain in his ankle, comparing it to a couple of needles stabbing him, but felt ready to go. He injured himself April 8 while sliding into the Rays dugout to grab an errant ball.
“It’s been amazing improvement,” he said. “It’s (pain) there but I think I’m good enough to play.”
Refsnyder’s last hit a homer Oct. 1, 2015, when he was a member of the New York Yankees in a game against the Red Sox. His three career home runs have all come against Boston.
Rays: Activated 3B Matt Duffy (strained right hamstring) from the 10-day disabled list and optioned RHP Austin Pruitt to Triple-A Durham.
Red Sox: Activated Bogaerts and placed IF/OF Brock Holt on the 10-day DL because of a strained left hamstring.
Rays: RHP Yonny Chirinos (0-1, 2.92 ERA) went 4 2/3 innings Sunday while allowing two runs on four hits in his first appearance as the Rays’ fourth starter.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (2-2) gets his third start in the first month of the season against his former club. Price pitched seven scoreless innings in each of the first two starts against the Rays.
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