Rays nip Red Sox, claim three-game sweep

Brandon Lowe hit a two-run home run, Shane McClanahan worked six quality innings and the Tampa Bay Rays edged the Boston Red Sox 3-2 Sunday night to complete a key three-game sweep at St. Petersburg, Fla.

Manuel Margot added an RBI as the Rays expanded their newfound lead in the American League East to 1 1/2 games over the Red Sox. The rookie McClanahan (5-4) matched a season high in innings, allowing one run on four hits and two walks while striking out seven.

Hunter Renfroe homered for Boston, which has dropped a season-high four straight.

Two-out singles by Enrique Hernandez (three hits) and Rafael Devers had men on the corners for the Red Sox in the top of the ninth. Matt Wisler got J.D. Martinez to fly out to right on a full-count slider for his first save of the year.

The Red Sox got within 3-2 in the seventh when Alex Verdugo led off with a double off reliever Drew Rasmussen. A Kevin Plawecki fly to deep right that Margot leaped into the padding to secure advanced Verdugo to third, allowing him to score on a wild pitch with two outs.

Boston stranded two men on when Martinez grounded to short to end the threat.

After Tampa Bay left men on the corners in the bottom of the seventh, Rasmussen worked around a leadoff walk to record the first two outs of the eighth. Ryan Sherriff came on and struck out Verdugo to end the frame.

The Rays got on the board when Lowe hooked a slider from Red Sox starter Nick Pivetta to right with two outs in the third inning for his 23rd homer. Renfroe’s 16th blast with one out in the fourth got Boston back within one.

Wander Franco singled to lead off the fifth, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Margot single to push the Rays ahead 3-1.

Pivetta (8-5) surrendered three runs on three hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings. He struck out six.