Boston's Christian Vazquez belted a tie-breaking, pinch-hit home run to lead off the seventh inning, and Chris Sale struck out 10 in six innings as the Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 on Tuesday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.
Vazquez, batting for Mitch Moreland, stroked a 92 mph fastball from reliever Colin Poche (2-4) deep to left for his 16th homer to snap a 2-2 tie.
J.D. Martinez went 3-for-4 for the Red Sox, who have won six of their past nine. The Red Sox and Rays are now in a virtual tie for second place in the American League East, with the Sox at 56-46 (.549) and the Rays at 57-47 (.548).
Andrew Benintendi had two hits and drove in a pair, and Rafael Devers also posted two hits and scored twice for Boston.
A native of nearby Lakeland, Fla., Sale (5-9) allowed two runs on four hits and three walks in his 116-pitch homecoming.
Sale convinced manager Alex Cora, who came out to visit the lefty hurler with two outs and one on in the sixth inning, to leave him in the game for one more out and eventually become the pitcher of record.
Marcus Walden recorded the final out with the bases loaded to record his second save.
Travis d'Arnaud smacked a two-run homer, and Tommy Pham was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI walk for Tampa Bay. The Rays are 5-8 since the All-Star break.
Matt Duffy made his Rays season debut and was 2-for-3 with a double and a walk. He had been sidelined due to hamstring and back ailments.
Tampa Bay starter Yonny Chirinos yielded six hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings, striking out five and walking none.
Chirinos' splitter on the first pitch to Benintendi with two on and two outs in the first inning skipped underneath catcher Mike Zunino for a wild pitch, plating Devers with the first run and moving Martinez to second.
Benintendi, who had a three-hit night Monday in Boston's 9-4 win, then lashed a 3-2 sinker into center for an RBI single.
The red-hot d'Arnaud, a former Eastern League MVP with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, recorded his team's first hit by clocking an 0-2 curve from Sale down the left field line for a two-run homer in the third to tie it 2-2. It was his 11th homer of the season.
Benintendi's RBI groundout with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth made it 4-2. Tampa Bay reliever Adam Kolarek hit Jackie Bradley Jr. with a bases-loaded pitch three batters later to score Xander Bogaerts.
Against Brandon Workman in the ninth, Ji-Man Choi had an RBI single and Pham a bases-loaded walk (off Walden), but Walden retired Austin Meadows on a grounder to first with the bases loaded to end the game after the Rays sent eight men to the plate.