Tampa Bay rallies late to nip Red Sox

St. Petersburg, Fla. - David Price outpitched Clay Buchholz and the Tampa Bay Rays scored twice in the seventh inning without getting a hit to rally for a 5-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.

Price (12-4) allowed three runs and six hits in 7 1/3 innings to become the first 12-game winner in the American League. The left-hander walked two and struck out eight.

Buchholz (8-3) pitched well in his first start in more than three weeks, taking a 3-2 lead into the seventh before walking the first batter of inning and hitting the next. Hideki Matsui was walked intentionally to load the bases with one out, and the Rays pulled even when pinch-hitter Jose Lobaton drew a walk from Matt Albers.

Elliot Johnson's sacrifice fly gave Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead, and B.J. Upton's solo homer off Andrew Miller provided a two-run cushion in the eighth.

Joel Peralta got the final two outs of the eighth for the Rays. All-Star Fernando Rodney worked the ninth for his 26th save in 27 opportunities.

Will Middlebrooks hit a two-run homer off Price in the fourth. The Tampa Bay starter's errant pickoff throw to third base allowed the Red Sox to take a 3-2 lead in the sixth.

Buchholz was activated from the disabled list before the game and made his first start since working six innings in a 7-5 win over Miami on June 19. He was placed on the DL with what the Red Sox described as a stomach illness, and the team later announced that he had esophagitis, which led to the erosion of his esophagus and internal bleeding.

Price pitched one scoreless inning in last Tuesday's All-Star game in Kansas City, throwing seven pitches. He limited Boston to Mike Aviles' second-inning single until David Ortiz singled with one out and scored ahead of Middlebrooks when the third baseman hit an 0-2, two-out pitch over the left-centerfield wall for his 11th homer of the season.

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