Matt Joyce used his bat to gain a measure of revenge on the Boston Red Sox.
He and the Tampa Bay Rays will next be up against Alfredo Aceves , who was involved in some notable incidents this spring and could add to the intrigue of this series heading into Wednesday night's finale at Tropicana Field.
This AL East rivalry intensified this week during Boston's 10-8, 14-inning victory in Monday's opener when Joyce was hit by a pitch from John Lackey , resulting in a bench-clearing scrum.
The Rays (35-29) continued to insist the pitch was intentional one day later and the Red Sox (40-26) continued to disagree.
On the field, Tampa Bay hit four homers including Joyce's two-run shot in the fifth inning that ended Jon Lester 's night in the Rays' 8-3 victory Tuesday. Desmond Jennings went deep twice and Evan Longoria also connected.
"It's a great feeling, especially to help your team win," Joyce said. "I've never really been the type of person to talk a lot of trash, so I wanted, of course, to come out and play a good game. Play the game the right way and win the ballgame."
Boston was originally going to start Franklin Morales on Wednesday, but he was forced into action Monday to result in a change of plans.
"We'll make another move after tonight to get a starter here, and that will be Aceves, who will start (Wednesday) for us," manager John Farrell told the Red Sox' official website. "We're in about a three-day stretch here where we've got some shuffling going on with the pitching staff."
Aceves (2-1, 6.57 ERA) was a key figure in two incidents during the spring in which benches cleared, the first being a March 9 game in the World Baseball Classic. He and several players threw nasty punches when a fierce, full-scale brawl erupted between Mexico and Canada.
Exactly one week later on March 16, Aceves was with the Red Sox when benches cleared after the right-hander hit the Rays' Sean Rodriguez in the shoulder with a pitch in the fifth inning.
Rodriguez was batting for the first time since hitting a two-run homer in the third inning. Aceves said the pitch was a split-finger fastball that got away, and Rodriguez wasn't buying that explanation.
Aceves is 2-1 with a 6.05 ERA as a starter this year in four outings.
He's never started against the Rays, but has enjoyed great success against many of their hitters. Rodriguez is 1 for 9 against him, Longoria, Luke Scott and Ben Zobrist are all 0 for 7 and Joyce is 0 for 6.
Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer (1-1, 4.91) is 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA in three career home starts as opposed to 0-3 with a 5.74 ERA in three on the road.
The right-hander was outstanding in a 2-1 win over Baltimore on Friday, allowing one run and two hits in seven innings.
Archer earned his first career victory Sept. 19 by yielding three runs over five innings in a 13-3 rout of Boston, although Jacoby Ellsbury went 3 for 3 against him.
|Boston Red Sox|
|June 11, 2013||Clayton Mortensen||15-Day DL||Right hip impingement|
|June 08, 2013||Clay Buchholz||Day-to-Day||Left game - neck stiffness|
|May 31, 2013||Jacoby Ellsbury||Day-to-Day||Tight left groin|
|May 26, 2013||Clay Buchholz||Day-to-Day||Right collarbone pain|
|May 24, 2013||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Low back strain|
|May 24, 2013||Will Middlebrooks||15-Day DL||Low back strain|
|Tampa Bay Rays|
|June 05, 2013||Kelly Johnson||Day-to-Day||Back stiffness|
|May 16, 2013||David Price||15-Day DL||Left triceps strain|
|May 15, 2013||David Price||Day-to-Day||Left tricep tightness|
|May 08, 2013||Brandon Gomes||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|May 04, 2013||Yunel Escobar||Day-to-Day||Left hand contusion|
|April 27, 2013||Jose Molina||Day-to-Day||Knee|
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Alfredo Aceves had another successful spot start.
Aceves threw six solid innings, Daniel Nava homered and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Wednesday night.
"Ace gave us a huge lift today," Boston manager John Farrell said. "He did an excellent job, and the bullpen came in and was stellar. This was a very good series to win here and Ace had a lot to do with that."
Boston won two of three in the series, which dropped the fourth-place Rays five games behind the Red Sox.
"They did a nice job against us because we've been scoring a lot of runs," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "They've gotten us this year in a lot of close games and we have to figure out a way to beat them."
Aceves (3-1), recalled before the game from Triple-A Pawtucket, allowed one run, four hits and four walks. This is the right-hander's third stint with the Red Sox this season.
"He came up today, he kept us in the ballgame, and won it for us," Boston catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said.
Aceves allowed one run over six innings in another spot start on May 27, a 9-3 win over Philadelphia.
Nava put the Red Sox up 2-0 on a third-inning, two-run homer off Chris Archer (1-2), who gave up two runs, four hits, four walks and struck out seven over four innings. The Rays rookie right-hander exuberantly left the mound after striking out Nava with the bases loaded to end the fourth.
"He was into the game just as we were into the game," Nava said of Archer. "I just saw him jump up and down after that. Obviously it was just emotional. He's just out there competing, wanting to win. I get that. It threw me off guard, that's all."
Archer was making his third start this season, and appearing in ninth career big league game.
"I was pretty amped," Archer said. "I was just competing and I wasn't holding anything back. When I do that, it's not towards the other team."
Evan Longoria got the Rays within 2-1 on a solo homer in the sixth. He has gone deep in three consecutive games after homering just once over his previous 26.
Andrew Bailey , the fourth Boston reliever, pitched the ninth for his seventh save in nine opportunties. After Craig Breslow allowed a two-out double in the eighth Kelly Johnson , Koji Uehara entered and struck out Longoria.
Jacoby Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single and scored on Nava's two-out shot in the third. He also stole two bases in the game, giving him 29 for the year. Ellsbury has scored a run in 10 consecutive games, and stolen a base five straight games.
Tampa Bay loaded the bases by drawing three walks from Aceves in the second, but failed to score when Yunel Escobar hit an inning-ending grounder.
Aceves worked out of a two-on, no-out jam in the third by striking out Johnson and getting a double-play grounder by Longoria.
Rays first baseman James Loney made a strong defensive play in the first, diving to his right to take away a potential two-out RBI single from David Ortiz .
NOTES: Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz played catch for the first time since leaving his start last Saturday with neck stiffness. He might return to the rotation Sunday or Tuesday. ... Rays LHP David Price , on the 15-day disabled list since May 16 with a left triceps strain, will throw in a simulated game Thursday. ... The Red Sox optioned RHP Jose De La Torre to Pawtucket. ... Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pro Bowl defensive tackle Gerald McCoy threw the ceremonial first pitch. He was first scheduled to do it May 25, but was delayed that day getting to the ballpark due to a minor vehicle accident in which no one was injured.