ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – David Price ran out of pitches much too quickly.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and David Ortiz, Darnell McDonald and Dustin Pedroia drove in runs to help the Boston Red Sox beat Price and the Tampa Bay Rays 4-2 Thursday night.

Price (7-6) lasted just five innings, mostly due to his pitch count, which reached 106.

“I thought we did a great job against Price,” Boston Manager Terry Francona said. “Not necessarily scoring a bunch of runs, but driving his pitch count up.”

Ortiz drew a bases-loaded walk in the first after Price drew a warning from home plate umpire Gary Darling for hitting Kevin Youkilis with a pitch in the left arm to fill the bases. Both benches were warned, and Price settled down to strike out Jed Lowrie and get Carl Crawford to ground out.

“He’s not going to be perfect every time out there,” Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon said. “He didn’t have his best stuff, but he gave us a chance. He was a little off, but he got us through.”


McDonald singled and Pedroia doubled to drive in runs to make it 3-0 in the second. Ortiz drew a two-out walk to load the bases against Price again, but Boston missed out on an opportunity to do more damage when Marco Scutaro popped out to end the inning.

Price walked a season-high five while allowing three runs and five hits. The 25-year-old left-hander struck out five.

“I gave up three runs in the first two innings,” Price said. “That makes it tough on our offense. I knew we were going to make it close. We never give up.”

The win was the 11th in 12 games for the AL East-leading Red Sox, who concluded a 10-day, nine-game trip with an 8-1 record — Boston’s best mark on a trip of at least nine games since 1977.

The third-place Rays are 51/2 games behind Boston, their biggest deficit since the end of the 2009 season. Tampa Bay is 12-24 against teams with a winning record this season.

Clay Buchholz (6-3) allowed one run and two hits in five innings, limiting the Rays to Sam Fuld’s second-inning RBI double and B.J. Upton’s fourth-inning single before leaving the game because of lower back tightness. Tampa Bay trimmed a 3-1 deficit to one run on Casey Kotchman’s solo homer off Alfredo Aceves in the sixth.


Gonzalez’s solo shot off Kyle Farnsworth restored a two-run lead in the ninth.

Kotchman doubled and Upton reached on an infield single to begin the Tampa Bay ninth. Pinch-hitter Elliot Johnson fouled out trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt, and Papelbon escaped by striking out pinch-hitter Justin Ruggiano and Sean Rodriguez to end the game.

Tampa Bay’s bullpen kept the Rays in it with Juan Cruz, J.P. Howell, Joel Peralta and Farnsworth teaming to hold the Red Sox hitless until Gonzalez’s 14th homer with two outs in the ninth.

TIME CHANGE: The Red Sox have pushed back the start time of their Saturday home game with the Milwaukee Brewers to avoid a conflict with the Boston Bruins’ Stanley Cup victory parade.

The game at Fenway Park will be played at 7:10 p.m. instead of 1:10 p.m. The Red Sox also said Thursday they’ll include a pregame tribute to the Bruins. The team said city officials had requested the change to help deal with the large crowds expected for the 11 a.m. downtown parade.


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