St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Dan Johnson’s leadoff homer to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted Tampa Bay over Boston, 3-2, in the second of three between the clubs at Tropicana Field.
The hit made a winner of Randy Choate (4-3), who recorded the final out in the top of the 10th.
B.J. Upton also homered and Matt Joyce knocked in a run for the Rays, who snapped a two-game slide. Tampa Bay remained tied for first in the AL East after the Yankees topped the White Sox later Saturday.
Victor Martinez homered and David Ortiz finished with three hits for the Red Sox, who have dropped two of three. Boston fell to 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees and Rays.
Scott Atchison (2-2) took the loss after allowing the game-deciding blast.
The Sox picked up a run in the fourth as Martinez singled, Ortiz doubled and Adrian Beltre lifted a sacrifice fly to left.
Evan Longoria’s infield single to short was the first Rays hit, coming with one down in the home fourth, then Joyce singled to start the fifth but Tampa was unable to capitalize.
Tampa tied the game in the seventh. Longoria started with a single, then after a Carlos Pena fielder’s choice, an errant pick-off move from Sox starter Clay Buchholz saw Pena go to third. Joyce’s foul out to right was then far enough away to plate the run.
Buchholz wound up yielding four hits and two runs — one earned — with five strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings, while his counterpart Matt Garza scattered six hits and one run over seven frames.
Martinez reached the seats in right with two out in the eighth against Joaquin Benoit to give Boston a 2-1 lead. Though the Sox had two runners in scoring position afterwards, no runs came in.
Upton tied the game in the home half with a leadoff homer.
It was Johnson’s first career walk-off home run…Tampa leads the season series 9-5 and have evened their record at 4-4 over the Sox in Florida…Prior to the game, the Red Sox activated pitcher Hideki Okajima from the 15- day disabled list and optioned pitcher Michael Bowden to Triple-A Pawtucket.