ST. PETERSBURG -- Jake Odorizzi stymied Boston's bats on Sunday in a 3-2 Tampa Bay win at Tropicana Field.
The Rays (73-77) are still clinging to faint hopes of earning the American League's second Wild Card slot. Minnesota holds a 5 1/2-game advantage for that spot. The Red Sox (85-64) are trying to hold off the Yankees and secure the AL East title. Boston's division lead remained at three games after New York lost to the Orioles on Sunday.
Odorizzi pitched effectively, holding the Red Sox hitless through five innings before Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
"I had good life on my fastball and he was sitting dead-red on it," Odorizzi said. "If I had thrown him a changeup, he probably would have swung and missed by a good bit, but I didn't and he didn't."
The home run tied the game at 2 and gave the Red Sox their first and only hit against Odorizzi, who was lifted after the sixth.
"These last couple of starts, I've had a lot better control and velocity," Odorizzi said. "So it kind of bodes well, so as long as I can get ahead and kind of take control of the at-bats, good things usually happen."
Odorizzi remained the pitcher of record, claiming his ninth win of the season thanks to his batterymate, Jesus Sucre, who hit a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth off Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez.
Rodriguez struck out seven over his 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (two earned). Sucre's home run ended an otherwise good day on a sour note.
"I was good with all my pitches, slider, changeup," Rodriguez said. "Everything was good, and the only one I missed over the plate was out."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Sucre comes through: Sucre has been getting the job done for the Rays all season. Pitchers have raved about throwing to the backup catcher, who joined Tampa Bay without a roster spot just prior to Spring Training. In addition to his defensive prowess, Sucre has managed to chip in some offense, too. Sunday's solo home run gave him six on the season and provided the winning margin for the Rays.
"I was kind of joking with [Rodriguez] because he's one of my best friends from Venezuela, and when I got my first hit, he was looking at me and he was like, 'I'm not going to throw you a fastball,'" Sucre said. "So he did, he threw me one fastball right there. I got a pretty good swing on it."
Bobbles aid Rays' cause: Some shoddy glovework by the Red Sox aided the Rays in the first. Kevin Kiermaier singled to lead off the inning, and he moved to second when third baseman Rafael Devers couldn't handle Peter Bourjos' grounder. Evan Longoria followed with a single to center to drive home Kiermaier. Bradley bobbled the hit and might have been able to make a throw to the plate if he'd fielded the ball cleanly.
"We didn't really help [Rodriguez] much defensively in the first inning, but he was able to get a number of key strikeouts with men in scoring position," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
"Everyone is pretty aware when you're out there. You just feel good, and it's unfortunate that it ended that way, but it did. That's all right." -- Odorizzi on whether he knew he had a no-hitter going.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Bradley's 439-foot home run in the sixth was his second longest since Statcast™ began. His longest is 441 feet on May 17. In addition, Sunday's home run had a 110-mph exit velocity, which tied his hardest-hit home run since Statcast™ began.
Cesar Puello had a career-high three hits, his first multi-hit game in 12 games (six starts) in the Major Leagues.
WHAT'S NEXT Red Sox: The Red Sox continue their road trip with a stop in Baltimore for a three-game series with the Orioles starting Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Doug Fister (5-8, 4.40) will get the call for the Sox, coming off an outing in which he gave up six runs in four innings. Before that, he had fired off four straight quality starts, all lasting more than seven innings.
Rays: The Rays have an off-day on Monday before welcoming the Cubs, and former manager Joe Maddon, to Tropicana Field for a two-game series. Chris Archer (9-10, 4.06) gets the starting nod in Tuesday's opener at 7:10 p.m. ET. Archer picked up the win in his other outing against the Cubs this season, on July 4 at Wrigley Field.