ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tampa Bay’s comeback from a big early deficit came up short in extra innings.
Daniel Nava hit a tiebreaking single in the 14th inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Rays 10-8 on Monday night after squandering two late leads in a testy game that included a bench-clearing scrum.
“I’m just proud of the boys, the way we came back in that game being down 6-0,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “Really, honestly, thought we were going to win the game all night long. I mean that sincerely, just felt good about our group. We had a chance, we had a definite chance to do it. It did not work out and that just happens sometimes.”
Red Sox starter John Lackey hit Matt Joyce in the back with a pitch in the sixth inning. Joyce, who homered earlier, shouted at the pitcher but was restrained by Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia as players from both teams streamed out of the dugouts.
There was pushing and shoving along the first base line, but it appeared no punches were thrown and the umpires did not eject anyone.
The Rays thought Lackey hit Joyce on purpose in response to the Tampa Bay leadoff hitter swinging at a 3-0 pitch with two on in the second and driving a foul ball with home run distance.
“There’s no question in my mind he did,” Maddon said. “And the sad part is I’ve always considered Lackey a good teammate, but right there he could get one of his own players hurt. So, I really did sense among the group of Red Sox that they were totally not into that moment because they knew it was inappropriate to hit Matt on purpose and furthermore one of them can get hurt. That’s being a bad teammate as far as I’m concerned. In the past he was always a good teammate, but that was really a bad moment for him tonight.”
Lackey said he was trying to throw inside and that he did not hit Joyce intentionally.
“Honestly, I felt it was a pretty bush league move,” Joyce said. “I think it was very obvious. I’d really rather not get too much into it, but obviously I wasn’t too happy about it.”
Shane Victorino opened the 14th with a single off Cesar Ramos (1-2), then tagged up and hustled to second when Dustin Pedroia flied out to deep right field. David Ortiz was intentionally walked before Nava singled to center to put the Red Sox ahead. Saltalamacchia singled for his fourth hit of the game, making it 10-8.
Franklin Morales (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
Saltalamacchia gave the Red Sox an 8-6 lead with a two-run single in the 10th, but closer Andrew Bailey couldn’t hold it.
After Jose Lobaton led off the bottom of the 10th with Tampa Bay’s fourth solo homer, the Rays loaded the bases with no outs on two walks and Ben Zobrist’s fifth hit of the night.
Bailey walked Kelly Johnson on a 3-2 pitch — forcing in the tying run — but escaped further damage when Evan Longoria grounded into a 5-2-3 double play and Sam Fuld was thrown out trying to bunt for a potential game-winning hit.
“We definitely felt like we were going to win the game there at the end, but unfortunately it didn’t work out for us,” Joyce said.
Pedroia singled to extend his season-best hitting streak to 14 games and drive in the first two runs of a six-run first inning against Alex Cobb, who settled down after the rocky start to give the Rays a chance to come back against Lackey.
Pedroia drew a leadoff walk in the 10th and scored when Saltalamacchia singled off Fernando Rodney to give the Red Sox a second lead they couldn’t hold.
Longoria, Joyce and James Loney hit solo homers for the Rays, the latter trimming Boston’s lead to 6-5 in the seventh. Yunel Escobar doubled and later scored on Junichi Tazawa’s wild pitch to make it 6-all in the eighth.
Luke Scott and Zobrist also drove in runs for the Rays, who managed to overcome the big deficit despite going 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position through nine innings.
Nava, Mike Carp and Will Middlebrooks also drove in runs in the first for Boston, which turned seven hits and a walk into a quick 6-0 lead.
The first-place Red Sox improved to 6-1 against the fourth-place Rays, who fell five games off the pace in the AL East. Boston has won eight of 11 to climb a season-best 15 games over .500 at 40-25.
The first eight batters of the game reached base for Boston, which scored six runs before Cobb was able to get an out. The Rays starter didn’t allow another hit, though, and Tampa Bay gradually crept back into the game.
Lackey allowed four runs and 10 hits in 5 2-3 innings, departing with a 6-4 lead.
Tampa Bay pulled even in the eighth. Escobar doubled with one out, moved to third when Joyce grounded out and scored on Tazawa’s wild pitch to make it 6-all.
Cobb lasted four innings, allowing six runs and seven hits.
NOTES: Rays LHP David Price, on the 15-day disabled list since May 16 with a left triceps strain, said he felt as good as he has all year after throwing 45 pitches in a bullpen session. The plan is for the 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner to throw again Wednesday, then pitch a simulated game on Saturday. If all goes well, he’d then begin a minor league rehab stint and possibly return to the rotation late this month or in early July. … Rays RHP Kyle Farnsworth left with right elbow soreness and Maddon said it’s possible the reliever could go on the disabled list.