ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Mike Carp connected for a pinch-hit grand slam in the 10th inning Wednesday night, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-3.
Carp sent a drive over the center-field fence on the first pitch from Roberto Hernandez. It was the first pinch-hit grand slam for Boston since Kevin Millar hit one at Milwaukee on June 7, 2003.
Dustin Pedroia opened the 10th with a walk against Joel Peralta (2-7) and went to second on Shane Victorino’s bunt. After David Ortiz was intentionally walked, Hernandez replaced Peralta and walked Mike Napoli on four pitches before Carp connected for his ninth homer.
Boston closer Koji Uehara (4-0) struck out two during a perfect ninth. He has retired his last 34 batters.
James Loney homered for the Rays, who trail the Red Sox by 9½ games in the division race. Tampa Bay, which has lost 13 of 17, saw its lead drop to one game over the New York Yankees for the second AL wild-card spot.
The Rays trailed 3-1 before Evan Longoria doubled in a run in the seventh and Loney hit a tying solo shot off Brandon Workman in the eighth.
Napoli had a two-run double and Daniel Nava hit an RBI grounder off Alex Cobb to put the Red Sox up 3-0 in the third. Napoli has driven in 11 runs over his last seven games.
The Rays got one run back in the third on David DeJesus’ RBI double. Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew made a strong defensive play later in the inning with two outs and the bases loaded when he dived to his right to field Desmond Jennings’ grounder, then throw out Matt Joyce at second base.
Ryan Dempster, who gave up one run, four hits and five walks in five innings, struck out Jennings to leave the bases loaded in the fifth.
Cobb allowed three runs and seven hits over 52/3 innings.
Tampa Bay just missed turning a triple play in the sixth. With runners on first and second, Longoria leaped to grab Will Middlebrooks’ high-hopper near the line and then landed on the third-base bag. Longoria threw out Drew at second, but Middlebrooks just beat the ensuing throw to first.
NOTES: Red Sox Manager John Farrell said right-hander Clay Buchholz came through his first start in three months Tuesday night in good shape and will pitch again Sunday. Buchholz, who had been sidelined by a strained neck, threw five innings in Boston’s 2-0 victory against the Rays.
Texas Rangers senior adviser Tom Giordano scouted the game on the 60th anniversary of his debut as a major league player with the Philadelphia Athletics; he hit a home run.