Rays take series over Red Sox on Rivera's walk-off single

Rays take series over Red Sox on Rivera's walk-off single

ST. PETERSBURG -- Tampa Bay pushed across a run in the ninth on Rene Rivera's walk-off single to claim a 2-1 win over the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night at Tropicana Field.

With the win, the Rays claimed the three-game series.

Allan Dykstra singled to lead off the ninth against Anthony Varvaro. Tim Beckham came in as a pinch-runner and one out later Kevin Kiermaier singled to left to put runners at first and second for Rivera, who lined a single down the left-field line to drive home Beckham with the winning run.

"It was a curveball," Rivera said. "He left it up a little bit and I kind of got the head of the bat out there. But he threw some good ones before. You want to see a pitch all the way to the hitting zone and finally I got an opportunity to get a hit."

Rivera on walk-off hit

Varvaro took the loss.

"I was trying to strike him out," said Varvaro on the approach with Rivera. "That last pitch there was in the zone where I wanted it. He just did a good job of putting the bat on it. Maybe just an inch below the zone and I have him finished, but he did a good job."

Clay Buchholz and Jake Odorizzi locked up in a pitching duel that saw both allow a run in the second -- the Red Sox on a Daniel Nava sacrifice fly and the Rays on an RBI single by Logan Forsythe -- and a bunch of zeroes. The right-handers each came away wiith a no-decision.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Kiermaier's diving catch

Buchholz turns in dominant effort: The Red Sox got exactly what they needed from Buchholz, as the righty pitched six stellar innings, allowing two hits while walking three and striking out 10. It was easily Buchholz's best performance since he fired seven shutout innings against the Phillies on Opening Day. The only run the Rays scored off Buchholz came in the second, when Forsythe came through with an RBI single.

"Best I've felt all year," said Buchholz." I felt that way warming up. Getting here today, I felt really good. My mindset was to build off the last time out. I just about had all of my pitches working the way I wanted to." More >

Gomes gets big out: Odorizzi had run out of gas when the Red Sox put two on with two outs in the seventh, prompting a call to the bullpen for Brandon Gomes. The Red Sox countered with pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez, who quickly got ahead 3-0 in the count. But the gritty right-hander fought back to strike out Ramirez looking to end the threat. More >

Nava's sac fly scores Sandoval

QUOTABLE
Odorizzi "gave us exactly what we needed against a very good lineup. The defense played well. There wasn't a bunch of hitting going on, but it seemed like there were some timely hits, obviously in the last inning. Bullpen, credit again, Gomes came in and got a big out against Hanley pinch-hitting and then Jep and Box just doing what they do." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash on the win, referring to relievers Kevin Jepsen and Brad Boxberger.

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The Red Sox went 1-for-23 with runners in scoring position while losing two out of three to the Rays, and are hitting .078 with RISP in the last seven games.

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Righty Rick Porcello takes the ball on Friday night for the opener of a three-game series against the Orioles at Camden Yards. Porcello struggled against the Orioles in his last start.

Rays: The first sign of relief comes to the Rays when they send Drew Smyly to the mound to start the home series against the Blue Jays, thereby reducing the number of players on the DL to 11. Smyly pitched well for the Rays last season, including a two-hit shutout of the Blue Jays in Toronto, but he has not started a Major League game since Sept. 6. The Rays shut him down early at the end of last season and he began Spring Training with tendinitis in his left shoulder.

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Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.