ST. PETERSBURG — In a ceremony before this afternoon's game, the Rays will present retiring slugger David Ortiz with a few parting gifts.
On Saturday, they gave him and the Red Sox a bigger present, a 6-4 come-from-behind win that will lead soon to a grander celebration as the Sox, who clinched a playoff berth, close in on the American League East title.
"Frustrating loss," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
After getting a solid six innings from RHP Matt Andriese, the Rays took a 3-2 lead into the seventh, but a group fail by the bullpen gave the Red Sox their 10th straight win.
First, RHP Ryan Garton allowed singles to Hanley Ramirez and Brock Holt before getting an infield out that advanced the runners.
Then LHP Dana Eveland came in and walked Jackie Bradley on four pitches.
And then RHP Danny Farquhar, after getting a forceout at the plate, went from ahead 0-and-2 in the count to giving up a grand slam to Dustin Pedroia.
Cash said Eveland's outing was the most egregious: "The walk beats you up a little bit."
Farquhar got ahead 0-and-2 but lost the battle as Pedroia fouled off three more pitches, and took two balls, before crushing a changeup.
"I threw some good pitches and he battled," said Farquhar, whose streak of scoreless outings ended at 13. "You could see why he's as good as he is."
Down 1-0, the Rays scored three in the third on two-out hits by Brad Miller, who reached 80 RBIs, and Corey Dickerson, who continued his September surge (.385 over his past 17 games) but also made a bad baserunning mistake, getting thrown out trying to get to third in the eighth.
Logan Forsythe hit his 20th homer in the ninth, joining Evan Longoria, Miller and Dickerson in giving the Rays four with that many for the first time.
TO THE MATT: Andriese threw only 76 pitches to get through six innings for a third straight strong outing, but Cash decided that was enough given he hadn't worked more than 51/3 in close to a month. "We didn't want to extend him too much," Cash said. "We're trying to be smart." Andriese got Ortiz out three times, with a large percentage of the crowd standing and cheering for a hit: "It's a weird feeling, being at home."
PITCHING IN: With the Red Sox on the verge of locking up the division title, Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi takes the mound today with his own incentive.
"For me, I kind of look at this start as a playoff test, like this would be the first round of the playoffs," Odorizzi said. "It's going to be a playoff-caliber team, and it's nice to go against them at the end when they're trying to clinch.''
BIG GOODBYE: The Rays will be the next team to honor Ortiz, with a pregame ceremony starting around 12:55 p.m.
"I always say that I don't really expect anything from anybody, but whenever somebody takes the time to honor my career, I always really appreciate that," Ortiz said Saturday. "It's been great. Everybody has shown a lot of respect, and that kind of tells you what your career has been."
Ortiz said he has enjoyed battling with the Rays, and has a special affinity for Cash, a former Sox teammate.
"Cash was my boy,'' Ortiz said. "Cash was the guy, we always played cards together on the airplane, talked trash to each other. We had a lot fun. When he (got) to be a manager, it didn't surprise me because I know he has that knowledge for the game."
CROWD CONTROL: With Saturday's crowd of 25,641, the Rays have drawn 1,259,720 (an average of 15,747), surpassing last year's total of 1,247,668 (15,403 avg.) with one game left.
MISCELLANY: INF/OF Nick Franklin was back in the lineup for the first time since a Sept. 15 hamstring strain, though limited to DH duties. … Red Sox RHP Rick Porcello won his 22nd.