By MARK DIDTLER
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Martin Perez pitched out of trouble all night, and Alex Verdugo and Michael Chavis homered to help the Boston Red Sox stop a four-game skid Wednesday with a 5-0 victory over the slumping Tampa Bay Rays.
Perez (2-1) allowed four hits and three walks, wiggling out of jams for five innings. He struck out four.
The left-hander held Tampa Bay to 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position and induced two double-play grounders. The Rays had a man on second with no outs in both the first and fourth.
“Good job, especially when some guys got on base,” Boston manager Ron Roenicke said. “He made some really good pitches. Did a great job putting up five zeros.”
Colten Brewer, Austin Brice, Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman completed a four-hitter.
Tampa Bay has dropped six of seven, scoring 18 runs during that stretch. The Rays (5-7) have trailed in 11 of 12 games this season, including their last 10.
“We wish we had an answer,” manager Kevin Cash said. ì”We need to get going, need to kind of turn it around sooner or later. MartÌn, we’ve faced him enough times and had a fairly solid approach, put him in the hole a couple of times, but the big hit just eluded us.”
Verdugo added to his success against left-handed pitching with a two-run homer off Ryan Yarbrough (0-2) that opened the scoring in the fourth. The left-handed hitter is 38 for 115 (.330) when facing a lefty since the start of the 2019 season.
“That was big,” Roenicke said. “It just doesn’t seem like we have leads at all. So to get a lead there early, and MartÌn threw up a couple more zeros, was huge.”
Christian Vazquez had an RBI single and scored on Chavis’ shot in the sixth that put Boston (4-8) up 5-0.
Chavis finished 3 for 4.
Yarbrough gave up five runs and eight hits in five-plus innings. “Those first five innings, it was one of those days I don’t think I had one clean inning,” Yarbrough said. “It’s still a battle for the most part, trying to get in and out of jams. That sixth inning, it kind of escalated quickly. Frustrating to have those first five innings and give your team a chance to win and not helping yourself in the sixth.”
Yandy Diaz had two hits for the Rays.
TRAINER’S ROOM Red Sox: Third base coach Carlos Febles, who didn’t make the trip after an inconclusive coronavirus test, had a negative test.
Rays: LHP Brendan McKay (coronavirus) threw a two-inning simulated game at the alternate training site.
Red Sox: After a day off Thursday, the Red Sox start a three-game home series against Toronto on Friday night.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell takes the mound Friday night in the first of a four-game set against the AL East-leading New York Yankees. “There’s no better feeling than beating the Yankees,” Snell said. There will be a pair of seven-inning games in a doubleheader Saturday.
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