ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Brad Miller had hit only two home runs in 147 at-bats this season, after getting 30 last year, but he came through with a huge one Sunday, a two-run shot in the eighth to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 5-3 win over the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
"That felt good," said Miller, who helped the Rays (47-43) take three of four from the Red Sox (50-39) to pull within 3 1/2 games at the All-Star break. "Obviously a huge series win against a team we're looking up at. That was a lot of fun."
What started as a duel between Tampa Bay's Chris Archer and Boston's David Price saw two lead changes in the final three innings. Dustin Pedroia's two-run shot off Archer in the seventh gave Boston a 3-2 lead, but the Rays clawed back for the win, matching a season-high at four games over .500.
"It's huge. Going into the break against the first-place team in our division, and to win a series, three out of four ... shows what we're capable of in the second half," outfielder Steven Souza Jr. said.
Miller's home run came after the Rays had tied the score in the seventh on a sacrifice fly, also against reliever Joe Kelly (3-1), who came in with a 1.04 ERA and a streak of 23 straight scoreless appearances.
"Very hard-fought series, with some well-pitched games against us, including today," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "Pedie gives us a huge lift with a two-run home run late. ... Unfortunately, they were able to bounce back and put a couple of runs on the board."
Brad Boxberger (1-0) got the win in relief of Rays starter Chris Archer, who dueled with Boston starter David Price. Rays closer Alex Colome pitched a scoreless ninth for his 25th save -- the most in the American League -- and his third in four days.
The Rays' scoring in the seventh and eighth both started with leadoff walks -- "you're inviting trouble," Farrell said.
Down 3-2 in the seventh, Mallex Smith got a leadoff walk on four pitches against Matt Barnes, advanced on a sacrifice bunt and took third on Souza's single off the glove of third baseman Tzu-Wei Lin. Kelly came in and Corey Dickerson hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Smith and tie it at 3.
Boston had two on in the eighth after a pair of two-out walks, but Boxberger struck out Christian Vazquez to end the inning.
Pedroia had gone 161 at-bats without a home run until he had one in Friday's win, and he didn't wait long to do so again. Archer had held the Red Sox to one run and had two outs in the seventh, with a full count on Pedroia, who sent the pitch just over the wall in right field.
Price, facing his former team, held the Rays to five hits in six innings.
"Tampa played extremely well. They threw the ball well. They played unbelievable defense," Price said. "They had the big hits when they need them. That's what you need to do to win baseball games."
Mookie Betts led off the game with a solo home run, his 16th homer of the season, off Archer, setting a Red Sox record with the 11th home run of his career leading off a game.
The Rays answered in the bottom of the first, with Souza hitting a double off the top of the wall and scoring on an RBI single by Evan Longoria.
In the third, Souza walked, advanced on a double by Dickerson and scored on a sacrifice fly by Longoria for a 2-1 lead.
That lead held until the seventh when Archer gave up a bloop single to Lin, before the home run to Pedroia.
The Rays played spectacular defense behind Archer -- Souza made a diving catch of a foul ball in the Rays' bullpen, and Dickerson made a leaping catch against the wall in left field before throwing to double off the runner at first base.
Archer struck out eight batters but came up a pitch short in trying to outduel his close friend and former teammate in Price.
NOTES: The All-Star break is much-needed for the Red Sox, who finished a run of 33 games in 34 days. After the break, they'll play 24 games in 24 days, including a doubleheader against the Yankees on July 16. The Rays, by comparison, have had three off days in the last 18 days. They open the second half with 23 games in 24 days. ... Saturday's 1-0 Rays win was the team's first by that score since August 2015, and the first at home since September 2014. The Rays hadn't won a 1-0 game on a sacrifice fly since 2007 when Josh Wilson did so, also against the Red Sox.