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Aug 25, 5:56 PM EDT

Romero strikes out Ortiz to end it, Rays hold off Red Sox


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AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- To earn his first major league save, Enny Romero emerged from the bullpen with a one-run lead and one job - set down Boston slugger David Ortiz for the final out.

Romero did it, getting Big Papi to look at strike three Thursday to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 2-1 win over the Red Sox for a four-game split.

"In a one-run ballgame, I figured at some point we would see David Ortiz come to the plate," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.

After Tyler Sturdevant struck out Hanley Ramirez and Jackie Bradley Jr. to begin the ninth, Romero was summoned. Romero sent Ortiz to the ground with a high-and-tight 1-2 fastball, then got him on a called third strike.

Romero said he threw a cutter to close out the save. The 25-year-old lefty was in his 65th career game over three seasons.

A day earlier, the 40-year-old Ortiz reached 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. Ortiz was rested for the final day of an 11-game road trip that saw Boston go 7-4.

The Red Sox, who began the day tied with Toronto for the AL East lead, lost the final two games of the series.

"There are times you look back, today being one of them, that you could have capitalized on situations and had a different outcome," Boston manager John Farrell said.

Mikie Mahtook ended a stretch of 34 hitless at-bats with a go-ahead double in the seventh off Drew Pomeranz (10-10), who is 2-3 since being traded from San Diego to Boston.

"It was a relief," Mahtook said.

Mookie Betts was thrown out by Mahtook from left field trying to stretch a single into a double in the eighth.

Jake Odorizzi (9-5) improved to 6-0 in eight starts since the All-Star break. He gave up one run and five hits in seven innings.

Pomeranz struck out a career-high 11 in six-plus innings.

After Betts put the Red Sox up 1-0 on a sacrifice fly in the sixth, Odorizzi avoided a big inning by getting an inning-ending double play from Bradley with the bases loaded.

"Outstanding damage control," Cash said.

Tampa Bay tied it at 1 in the bottom of the sixth when Evan Longoria doubled and scored on Brad Miller's single. Miller had 31 RBIs since the All-Star break.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: LF Andrew Benintendi (left knee sprain) was put on the 15-day disabled list. Farrell is hopeful the rookie will return before the season ends. ... LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (left hamstring) felt fine after a bullpen session and will start Sunday against Kansas City. . RHP Clay Buchholz, who was moved out of the bullpen for three starts due to injuries, will return to a relief role.

Rays: INF Tim Beckham (left hamstring tightness) sat out for the second consecutive game.

HITLESS WONDER

The Rays record for most consecutive at-bats without a hit is 41, set by Luke Scott in 2012.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright (13-5) will be reinstated from the 15-day disabled list after missing 2 1/2 weeks with a strained right shoulder and start Friday night at home against Royals RHP Ian Kennedy (8-9).

Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (6-11) will face Astros RHP Mike Fiers (9-6) at Houston on Friday night.

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