BOSTON, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Mike Aviles put Boston in front with a fourth-inning homer Friday and the Red Sox bullpen made the lead stand up for a 4-3 victory over Tampa Bay.
The Red Sox had lost to the Rays four times during the past week to see their lead in the American League wild card race diminish to three games. Not only did Boston move four games in front of Tampa Bay, the Red Sox climbed within 3 1/2 of the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.
Aviles hit a 1-0 pitch from James Shields over the wall in left for a two-out homer in the fourth. Shields (15-11) had won his previous four starts.
Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz both singled in a run to tie it in the bottom half of the inning.
Longoria had an RBI single in the third to put the Rays back in front, but Ortiz delivered a run-scoring double in the Boston half of the frame.
Beckett survived six innings to get the victory, allowing the three runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. Three Boston relievers allowed one hit the rest of the way and worked their way around three walks to keep Tampa Bay off the scoreboard.
Jonathan Papelbon gave up a two-out single in the ninth, but struck out the other three batters he faced to record his 30th save.