Tampa took a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Ryan Roberts sent a sacrifice bunt to first baseman James Loney. Luke Scott dashed home from third and slid in safely when Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway couldn't corral Loney's throw. Ellsbury answered with his two-run shot to right-center.
Rays manager Joe Maddon sent Cobb back out for the seventh inning, but the young righty allowed the first two batters to reach (single, walk) before being pulled for reliever Burke Badenhop. Lavarnway, the only batter Badenhop faced, reached on a fielding error by Rays shortstop Ben Zobrist. JP Howell entered and promptly allowed a two-run single to pinch hitter Mauro Gomez, which provided all the cushion Boston would need.
The Rays added a run in the ninth on an RBI groundout from Zobrist, but Red Sox reliever Mark Melancon shut the door and dropped Tampa to 4½ games back of Baltimore in AL Wild Card hunt.
Cobb dropped to 9-9 with the loss for Tampa, while Boston's Aaron Cook improved to 4-10 with six innings of one-run baseball.