BOSTON -- Drew Smyly fired 6 1/3 shutout innings, Steven Souza Jr. had four hits, including a home run, and Daniel Nava came up with a clutch RBI single against his former team on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, leading the Rays to 6-2 victory over the Red Sox.
It was the second time Smyly didn't allow a run against the Red Sox in less than two weeks. On Sept. 13, the lefty took a no-decision after a similarly dazzling six-inning performance at Tropicana Field.
"Just pitching to my strengths, getting ahead, staying off the heart of the plate, trying not to give up that big hit," Smyly said. "And I was able to do that tonight."
The game was scoreless until Nava, a key contributor on a World Series-winning Red Sox team two years ago, picked up the go-ahead hit to right in the top of the seventh. The Rays tacked on three more runs in the eighth, chasing Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello. The sinkerballer gave up 11 hits and three runs (two earned) over seven-plus innings.
In the ninth, Red Sox reliever Jean Machi was ejected when he threw a pitch over the head of Souza Jr. right after he gave up a home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. Roman Mendez entered the game for Machi and gave up a homer to Souza Jr. later in the at-bat.
"I obviously wasn't happy with the call. A guy throwing a slider that got away from him, just it didn't merit an ejection from the game," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "It's now in the league's hands and they're going to probably address it and we'll see what happens from here."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED 31 scoreless starts: Smyly allowed no runs on five hits and three walks to give Rays starters their 31st scoreless start of the season, which is the most in the Major Leagues after leading the Majors last season with 32. According to The Elias Sports Bureau, the Rays are just the second club in Major League history with 30 starts in back-to-back seasons when the starting pitcher was not charged with a run. The Cubs did it four straight seasons from 1906-1909.
Mookie stays hot: Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts continued his sizzling September by going 3-for-5. Betts is hitting .410 on the month (32-for-78) with seven doubles, two homers and eight RBIs. Betts also stole third in the bottom of the first, his 20th of the season.
"He's finally recognizing that he's a pretty special player. He feels like he's a big leaguer," said Lovullo. "September, it's really all come together for him. For me, he's one of the better players in the American League with a very, very bright future. He's feeling that and he's showing that."
Kiermaier steals:Kevin Kiermaier is athletic, but one area that athleticism hasn't translated to -- or at least hasn't come to fruition just yet -- is his ability to steal bases. But the speedy center fielder of the Rays is improving. Wednesday night he singled with one out in the seventh then stole second base followed by a theft of third (his 17th and 18th steals of the season). Kiermaier then scored on Nava's two-out single to give the Rays a 1-0 lead.
Seventh-inning squander costs Sox: With the Red Sox down just 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh, Deven Marrero dropped down a perfect bunt single to make it first and second with nobody out. Jackie Bradley Jr. then struck one to deep left that probably would have hit the Green Monster on a warmer night, but Mikie Mahtook tracked it down just in front of the wall. Betts and Dustin Pedroia were then retired to end the inning.
"They said, 'Get out of here.' I said, 'Why? It was a breaking ball.' -- Machi, on his exchange with the umpires while being ejected
"Bellatti, those were the two biggest outs of the game." -- Smyly, on the effort by rookie Andrew Bellatti, who took over for him in the seventh with two aboard and retired Betts and Pedroia to quiet the threat
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Cabrera's solo shot off the "Pesky Pole" gave the Rays shortstop the 100th home run of his career.
Betts is the first Red Sox player age 22 or younger to record 20 stolen bases and 15 home runs in a season since Ellis Burks in 1987.
WHAT'S NEXT Rays:Erasmo Ramirez (10-6, 3.70 ERA) will make his 33rd appearance and 26th start of the season on Thursday at 7:10 p.m. ET. He is hoping he can end a trend that has seen the Rays lose his last five starts after winning 11 of his previous 15. He is 0-0 with a 4.82 ERA in five career appearances against the Red Sox.
Red Sox: Lefty Wade Miley (11-10, 4.34 ERA) starts the finale of this four-game series on Thursday. Miley has been on a consistent role lately, giving up three earned runs or fewer in his last three starts.