Red Sox 3, Rays 0. With AP Photos.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) - Kevin Kiermaier got the Tampa Bay Rays off to a positive start with a sharp single on Clay Buchholz's first pitch.
They didn't muster much offense after that.
Buchholz threw a three-hitter to stop his string of seven starts without a win, leading the Boston Red Sox over the Rays 3-0 on Sunday and handing Tampa Bay its 16th shutout of the season.
''He just did everything that you want to do as a pitcher, and when a pitcher does that it makes it really tough to hit,'' said Matt Joyce, who had a fourth-inning double. ''I don't think we're really built as an offensive juggernaut as a team, so sometimes you're going to take your licking, unfortunately.''
Buchholz (6-8) walked none and struck out six. Joyce was the only Rays runner to reach second base.
Alex Cobb (9-7) gave up two runs and seven hits over 6 1-3 innings and took his first loss in two months. After losing to Pittsburgh on June 23, Cobb went 7-0 with a 2.14 ERA in 11 starts entering Sunday.
''(Buchholz) had his `A' game going today and when he's on like that, it's tough to scratch across runs. So I knew it was going to be at a minimum,'' Cobb said. ''I was angry to give up the runs that we gave up because one was self-inflicted.''
Xander Bogaerts singled leading off the third, went to third when Cobb was charged with an error for a wild pickoff try and scored to put Boston up 1-0 on Christian Vazquez's single. The Rays have at least one error in eight consecutive games for their longest streak since a team-record, 11-game stretch in 2004.
After Mookie Betts had an RBI single in the fifth, David Ortiz made it 3-0 when he went the opposite way against a defensive shift and hit a run-scoring single in the eighth.
It was the first win since July 18 for Buchholz, who came in with a 5.77 ERA. He became the fourth pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout against the Rays this season.
''Today there's nothing he did not have going on,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ''We ran into a really good pitching performance today. He'd have beat up a lot of folks today with that stuff.''
Since becoming the fourth team in big league history to reach .500 after falling 18 games under the break-even point, Tampa Bay (66-71) has dropped 10 of 15.
Ortiz has reached base in 16 straight games. He has 152 RBIs against the Rays, the most of any opponent.
LOTS OF ZEROS
With 18 shutouts of their own, the Rays have played in 34 shutouts this season, the most by an American League team since the New York Yankees were involved in 37 in 1973.
Struggling Rays OF Wil Myers was out of the lineup. The 2013 AL Rookie of the Year has just six hits in 42 at-bats, including 16 strikeouts, since returning from a broken right wrist that sidelined him for 70 games.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia was out of the lineup one day after leaving with concussion-like symptoms. Manager John Farrell said Pedroia is not expected to play Monday, but felt better Sunday and the team is hopeful the injury is a short-term issue.
Rays: CF Desmond Jennings was out of the lineup for the third straight game due to left knee soreness. ... OF David DeJesus (broken left hand) expects to activated from the disabled list Monday.
Red Sox RHP Rubby De La Rosa (4-5) and Rays LHP Drew Smyly (9-10) are the scheduled starters for the finale of a four-game series Monday. Last Wednesday night at Baltimore, Smyly became the second Tampa Bay pitcher to allow two hits or fewer over seven or more innings in consecutive starts.