BOSTON – The Boston Red Sox couldn’t afford to be patient Saturday against David Price.
“His stuff is so good and he attacks the zone so much,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said, “we went away from our normal approach of working the count.
“We had to swing the bat against him.”
The Red Sox pounced.
Boston scored seven runs off the Tampa Bay Rays’ ace and held on for a 7-4 victory in Game 2 of the American League division series at Fenway Park.
“I thought we had a very good approach,” Boston Manager John Farrell said. “Any time you get seven runs off David Price, you’ve had a good night.”
David Ortiz homered twice. Jacoby Ellsbury had three hits, an RBI and scored three times, thanks to Pedroia’s three RBI.
Boston holds a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series.
The teams will resume the series with Game 3 on Monday at St. Petersburg, Fla.
Rays Manager Joe Maddon wasn’t giving in.
“I’m really looking forward to Game 5 here,” he said. “Boston is lovely this time of year.”
For the Rays to take command, they need to slow down the Red Sox, who have 19 runs in two games.
“Just the one word that we’ve continually tried to drive home is ‘relentless,’ ” Farrell said.
Boston starter John Lackey barely held the lead. He allowed four runs over 51/3 innings.
“The command was hit or miss,” Lackey said. “We kind of grinded through it.”
Craig Breslow pitched out of a couple of jams, as did Junichi Tazawa. Closer Koji Uehara finished it off with a 1-2-3 ninth.
The defense turned three double plays, including rally-killers in the seventh and eighth — Pedroia to shortstop Stephen Drew to Mike Napoli at first.
The pitching held up but it was the offense that came through.
“The guys doing what they did against Price was the story of the day,” Lackey said.
Price entered with a 1.88 ERA at Fenway Park, but Boston took a 2-0 lead in the first inning.
Ellsbury led off with a bloop single to right, then stole second and advanced to third on catcher Jose Molina’s throwing error. Pedroia scored Ellsbury with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Ortiz followed with a blast to the Red Sox bullpen.
Lackey allowed a run in the second but the Red Sox came back with two more in the third on three straight hits — back-to-back doubles by David Ross (off the wall) and Ellsbury (a flare into left), and an RBI single from Shane Victorino.
“(Price) did not throw the ball badly at all,” Maddon said. “Kind of a weird night. We got out-Fenwayed.”
In the fourth, Drew launched a fly ball off the Monster for an RBI triple and Boston led 5-1.
Tampa Bay closed to 5-3 on James Loney’s two-out, two-run double in the fifth. With two runners on, Lackey ended the rally by striking out Ben Zobrist.
The Ellsbury-Pedroia combo worked again in the fifth. Ellsbury singled and scored on Pedroia’s double to the left-field corner for a 6-3 lead.
Tampa Bay knocked Lackey out in the sixth with two singles and a run, closing to 6-4. Breslow entered and got two quick outs to end the inning.
Breslow created a jam in the seventh when he hit Loney and walked Evan Longoria with one out. Zobrist then grounded a ball to Pedroia’s left. He hustled to it and started the double play.
Tazawa relieved in the eighth. Delmon Young singled with one out. Yunel Escobar hit a hard grounder right to Pedroia — another double play.
Ortiz gave Boston some breathing room with a home run in the eighth, ending Price’s night.
Uehara entered in the ninth and Fenway was rocking. He didn’t disappoint, striking out Matt Joyce and Jose Lobaton, and getting Wil Myers to ground out.
“It’s not over,” Ortiz said. “We’re playing a good club that finds ways to win.”
Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: