ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the first inning to set the RBIs record for a player in his final season, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night for their ninth straight win
Ortiz’s 37th homer came off Chris Archer (8-19) and raised his RBIs total to 124, one more than Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1920. The 40-year-old’s 540th homer, his 300th on the road, struck an overhanging catwalk above the right-field seats.
Coming off four-game sweeps of the New York Yankees and Baltimore, the Red Sox began the night with a six-game lead over second-place Toronto in the AL East. They lowered their magic number to two for clinching a playoff berth.
Drew Pomeranz (3-5) allowed one run and four hits in five innings. Brad Ziegler, the fifth Boston reliever, got his fourth save after allowing a leadoff double in the ninth to Evan Longoria.
Archer set a Tampa Bay record for losses in a season, breaking the mark Tanyon Sturtze set in 2002. He has lost 11 straight decisions against Boston since beating the Red Sox in his first career start against them on Sept. 19, 2012.
Ortiz appeared to have his 524th double with the Red Sox, which would have moved him within one of tying Ted Williams for second on the franchise list, but was called out at second base in the seventh after Tampa Bay challenged the original safe call. He was credited with a single.
Mikie Mahtook hit a solo homer in the second for the Rays.
Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright (shoulder) threw at 120 feet on flat ground and might have a bullpen session Sunday.
Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. was in the clubhouse, two days after left hip surgery and expects to be ready for spring training.
MORE BIG PAPI
Ortiz has 35 homers at Tropicana Field, the most of any opponent.
Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello (21-4) will face Rays RHP Matt Andriese (8-7) Saturday night. Porcello has gone seven innings or more and allowed three runs or fewer in 11 consecutive starts, which ties Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the long stretch in a single season in team history.
(Copyright (c) 2018 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)