ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When the Red Sox scored six runs in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night, it set up what should have been an enjoyable game.
Extra-inning drama in the longest game of the season was the result.
The Red Sox saved themselves from what would have been the worst loss of the season by scoring twice in the 14th to finally beat the Rays, 10-8.
Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had run-scoring singles off Cesar Ramos as the Sox won a game that lasted 5 hours 24 minutes.
“That was easy,” manager John Farrell said.
The Red Sox used 19 players, as did the Rays. There was nearly a brawl in the sixth inning and 486 pitches were thrown.
“Thankfully it turned out as a win. That was two teams going at it for five and a half hours,” Farrell said. “Every time we seemed to get a little breathing room, they came right back.”
The Sox have won three straight and seven of their last nine. At 40-25, this is their best record after 65 games since 2007. The Sox are 6-1 against the Rays this season.
Shane Victorino singled off Ramos (1-2) to start the 14th. He alertly tagged up and went to second when Dustin Pedroia hit a fly ball to the right-field corner. David Ortiz was then intentionally walked.
Nava had a broken-bat single over shortstop to give the Sox the lead. Saltalamacchia, who was 4 for 7 with three RBIs, singled to left field and pinch runner Jose Iglesias scored.
“Pretty impressive game,” Pedroia said. “We’re just happy to win it.”
Koji Uehara, who threw 31 pitches on Sunday and was supposed to have the day off, pitched two perfect innings before Franklin Morales (2-0) handled the Rays from there.
Morales, who was scheduled to start on Wednesday, threw a bullpen session during the afternoon and was prepared to sit back and watch. He ended up going two scoreless innings for the win.
“I’ve never had to do that before,” he said. “But that was the situation.”
After using all seven of his relievers, Farrell said the Red Sox would need a roster move before the second game of the series on Tuesday. Another will likely be needed to get a starter for Wednesday.
“We’ve got to get some arms in here,” Farrell said.
The first eight Red Sox reached base in the first inning against Rays starter Alex Cobb and six of them scored. That hadn’t happened since June 27, 2003 when the first 11 Sox reached against the Florida Marlins.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single. Victorino followed with a hot shot down the first base line. James Loney, usually a very good first baseman, had the ball go under his glove. Instead of what could have been a double play, Victorino had a double.
Pedroia singled to center to drive in two runs. That extended his hit streak to 14 games. After Ortiz walked, Nava lined a pitch off the wall in left-center for an RBI double.
Mike Carp, playing at first base for a resting Mike Napoli, singled to left to drive in two more runs. That gave Carp 11 RBIs in nine games.
Saltalamacchia doubled to left field, pushing Carp to third base. Will Middlebrooks, activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, singled to left to make it 6-0.
John Lackey took a six-run lead to the mound. But his outing was anything but a Florida vacation. Lackey allowed four runs on 10 hits and didn’t get out of the sixth inning. He left with a 6-4 lead.
Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria had solo home runs in the first inning. The Rays scored again in the third and fourth innings.
Lackey settled in a bit from there and had retired seven straight when Joyce came to the plate in the sixth inning. Lackey’s second pitch was a fastball that hit Joyce in the back.
Joyce pointed at Lackey and when he took a step toward the mound, Saltalamacchia got in his way.
The benches cleared, but no punches were thrown. Lackey then allowed a double by Ben Zobrist and was taken out of the game after 93 pitches.
As Lackey walked back to the dugout, Joyce yelled at him from third base. Third base coach Tom Foley stepped in front of him to maintain the peace.
Lackey said it was not intentional, as did Farrell.
“Trying to come in there, get him off the plate,” Lackey said.
But in the second inning, Joyce flipped his bat when he hit a long foul ball on a 3-and-0 pitch and Lackey looked askance at him. When the inning ended, several Rays yelled at Lackey from the dugout.
“They’ve got a few guys that like to yell,” Lackey said.
Rays manager Joe Maddon was critical of Lackey.
“In the past, he was always a good teammate. That was really a bad moment for him tonight,” he said.
Joyce said his getting hit was, “a pretty bush league move.”
Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa took a 6-5 lead into the eighth inning and got one out before Yunel Escobar doubled to the gap in left field. He advanced to third on a ground out.
With two outs, Tazawa threw a fastball so far inside that it went past Saltalamacchia to the backstop. Saltalamacchia flipped the ball to Tazawa covering the plate but Escobar slid under the tag to tie the game.
Zobrist doubled, but was left stranded when Kelly Johnson hit a popup to the mound. Pedroia made a sliding catch after Tazawa ducked away.
Pedroia said he had never made a diving catch on the mound before.
“The pitcher. He’s a part of the defense, too,” said Pedroia, when asked who should have caught the ball. “He was pointing at it. I was like, ‘Please catch it.’ ”
The alert play saved a run at the time.
Said Farrell: “You can’t say enough about [Pedroia’s] in-game awareness.”
Saltalamacchia’s two-run single off Rays closer Fernando Rodney gave the Sox an 8-6 lead in the top of the 10th inning.
Sox closer Andrew Bailey was beaten up badly in the bottom of the inning.
Jose Lobaton started the inning with a home run to right field. Bailey then walked Escobar and Joyce before Zobrist (5 of 7) singled sharply to right field.
Johnson walked to force in the tying run. Longoria then grounded into a double play. Pinch hitter Sam Fuld tried to win the game with a bunt single but Pedroia swooped in and made the play to end the inning.
“He’s a great bunter. I scooted in a little bit so I could get a good jump,” Pedroia said.
Andrew Miller started the seventh inning and allowed a long home run to right field by Loney.
The Sox had a chance to take the lead in the top of the 11th. But with Ellsbury on third, Pedroia was called out on strikes to end the inning. He heatedly argued with umpire Tom Hallion, to a point where Farrell had to intercede.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe. Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.