BOSTON – Desmond Jennings homered, Jeremy Hellickson pitched six strong innings, and the Tampa Bay Rays ended their drought at Fenway Park, beating the Red Sox 6-2 on Wednesday night.
The Rays had scored a total of five runs in losing their first five games this season at the ballpark, including a doubleheader sweep Tuesday during which they managed just a pair of runs on 10 combined hits.
Jose Molina and Evan Longoria each had three of Tampa Bay’s 15 hits and the Rays ended a three-game losing streak with their second victory in the last eight games.
After going a combined 1 for 7 in his extended major league debut during Tuesday’s doubleheader against Boston, top prospect Wil Myers delivered a two-run double during Tampa Bay’s three-run seventh that broke the game open.
Rays pitchers retired 16 of the last 18 batters of the game, yielding one hit over the final five innings.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes had two hits apiece for the Red Sox, who lost for the second time in five games but still lead Baltimore by 1½ games in the AL East.
Coming off one of his worst outings of the season, Hellickson (5-3) surrendered two runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and no walks.
It was a vast improvement from Thursday night, when he tied his career high by allowing eight runs in a 10-1 loss to Kansas City.
Ryan Dempster (4-8) was seeking his third win in four starts, but was hit hard in the first inning before settling down. Dempster allowed three runs on eight hits over his six innings, walking two and striking out three.
The Rays scored as many runs in the first inning Wednesday as they did in 18 innings a day earlier.
Jennings collected his ninth homer with one out in the first, depositing Dempster’s sixth pitch of the game into the seats above the Green Monster in left field
The Rays made it 2-0 when Ben Zobrist singled, moved to third on a base hit by Longoria and scored on a sacrifice fly by James Loney.
Boston cut it to 2-1 in the second when David Ortiz led off with a double to deep center and later scored on an infield single by Gomes.
Longoria nearly saved a run in the fourth on a liner by Gomes, but the third baseman couldn’t squeeze the ball in his outstretched glove, allowing Jarrod Saltalamacchia to trot home and tie the game.
Dempster retired seven straight before Molina singled to open the fifth and scored on a base hit by Zobrist that put the Rays back in the lead for good. Longoria added an RBI single off reliever Craig Breslow in the seventh that made it 4-2 before Myers doubled to right field off Alex Wilson.
NOTES: Boston catcher David Ross is headed to Pittsburgh on Thursday to be examined by a concussion specialist. Ross is currently on the seven-day concussion disabled list. Red Sox right fielder Shane Victorino got the day off. The Red Sox on Wednesday signed their first-round draft pick, left-hander Trey Ball, the seventh overall selection. The Rays continue their seven-game road trip Thursday when they visit Yankee Stadium for the first time this season. It will be the 2,500th game in Tampa Bay history. Red Sox right-hander Alfredo Aceves was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night after earning the win in the first game of the doubleheader. Boston third baseman Jose Iglesias went 0 for 2, ending his career-high 18-game hitting streak.
OAKLAND CATCHER Derek Norris left the game at Texas after getting hit behind the plate with a foul tip.
Adrian Beltre was batting in the sixth inning when he fouled off a pitch.
It wasn’t immediately clear where the ball hit Norris.