– The Associated Press
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Daniel Nava hit a tiebreaking single in the 14th inning and the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 10-8 on Monday night after squandering two late leads in a testy game that included a bench-clearing scrum.
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.
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), who was scheduled to start Wednesday’s game, 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 by Pedroia at second base trying to bunt for a potential game-winning hit.
Pedroia singled to extend his season-best hitting streak to 14 games and drove in the first two runs of a six-run first inning against Alex Cobb, who settled down after the rocky beginning to give the Rays a chance to come back against Lackey.
Saltalamacchia hit a two-run single in the 10th 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 inning for Boston, which turned seven hits and a walk into its 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 8 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 52/3 innings, departing with a 6-4 lead.
Cobb lasted four innings, allowing six runs and seven hits. He walked three and struck out four.
NOTES: RedÂ Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz could have his next start pushed back at least a couple days.
Buchholz, 9-0 with a 1.71 ERA, left his start in the seventh inning Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels because of what the team called “neck tightness.”
RedÂ Sox Manager John Farrell indicated that Buchholz may not be ready to throw his normal between starts bullpen session on Wednesday. His next scheduled start is Friday.
“I think over the next couple days we’ll get a better read on when his next start will line up,” Farrell said before Monday night’s game. “But most importantly he feels improvement over yesterday.”
Also, the RedÂ Sox reinstated third baseman Will Middlebrooks from the 15-day disabled list. Sidelined by a lower back strain, Middlebrooks was in the starting lineup Monday.
With Middlebrooks back, Jose Iglesias, who had been filling in at third, will move into a utility role. Pedro Ciriaco was designated for assignment.
Farrell said Iglesias should play at least three times a week on the left side of the infield.
“Will is healthy, he’s back and in the lineup,” Farrell said. “Jose knows that he’s got a bright future here and he’s earned his way to remain on this roster rather than go back down to Triple-A.” TUESDAY’S GAME
WHO: Red Sox (Lester 6-2) at Tampa Bay Rays (Hernandez 3-6)
WHEN: 7:10 p.m.