BOSTON -- For the second consecutive day, a closer blew a save and the game at Fenway Park on a two-run home run in the ninth inning. On Sunday, it was the Boston Red Sox's Alfredo Aceves who gave up the go-ahead home run to the Tampa Bay Rays' Sean Rodriguez.
Saturday night, it was the Rays' usually lights-out closer Fernando Rodney who gave up a walk-off home run to Jarrod Saltalamacchia.
Aceves entered Sunday afternoon's the with the Sox up by a run, but a leadoff walk to Ben Zobrist set the stage for Rodriguez's two-run shot into the seats above the left field wall on a 3-1 fastball, lifting the Rays to a 4-3 win.
It was the third blown save in 14 chances this season for Aceves, who fell to 0-2 with a 4.76 ERA.
"He just got behind on Zobrist and walked him, a pretty close pitch. And obviously he got behind on Rodriguez and threw him a fastball, and he hit it over the fence," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said.
For Rodriguez, it was his fifth home run of the season, the first off Aceves by a batter on the Rays' active roster.
"I could see (Aceves) was a little off and thought he'd have to keep coming with his fastball," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "The one before was a cutter a little in. I thought he might have to come back with one. It just came over."
And it led to the Rays' "dance party" after the win.
"Something like that," Rodriguez said of his team's postgame celebration. "Every team wants to win. We just want to remember how much fun it is."
Rodney earned the save, his 16th, with a perfect ninth inning.
A three-run home run by Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh inning gave the Red Sox all the runs they would get. David Ortiz, who walked, and Kevin Youkilis, who singled, scored ahead of Gonzalez. Gonzalez went with an outside pitch and hit it over the Green Monster down the left field line.
Neither team's starter was involved in the decision.
Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson went 7 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks (one intentional) with three strikeouts.
"I felt good. Good command of my pitches again," Hellickson said. "I thought I made a pretty good pitch to Gonzalez, but he got it up.
Boston's Clay Buchholz went seven innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and a walk with six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA from 7.84 to 7.19.
The Rays got single runs off Buchholz in the fourth and seventh innings. In the fourth, Matt Joyce hit a one-out double, taking third on an error by Gonzalez, who was playing right field for just the second time at Fenway this season. Gonzalez entered this season with just three career games in the outfield, but he has played there six out of the past eight games.
Joyce then scored on Zobrist's groundout.
In the seventh, Rodriguez hit a one-out double, and he scored on Will Rhymes' single to left.
"Clay had a really good changeup. His fastball was explosive. I was very encouraged," Valentine said. "He looked good. He looked good, and then gave up that second run. He was still throwing pretty good, I guess."
Jake McGee (2-1, 1.65) earned the win, pitching a third of an inning, getting Gonzalez to ground out to end the eighth.
Rodney had to face Saltalamacchia leading off for the Sox in the ninth. This time he got the Red Sox catcher to ground out.
The Rays took two of three from the host Red Sox in the weekend series.
"I know exactly how they feel after (Saturday) night. It's not a good feeling," Maddon said.
With the loss, the Red Sox (23-24) failed to go over .500 for the fifth time this season. It is the latest they have failed to get above .500 since 1996, when they got over .500 on Aug. 25, at 66-65.
"Again, that's not our goal," Valentine said, "but we would have liked to have won that one."
NOTES: Red Sox outfielder Ryan Sweeney, on the seven-day concussion disabled list since May 21, has passed the mandatory tests and expects to be activated Monday. He is the first Red Sox player to go on the concussion DL since its inception before the 2011 season. ... The walk-off home run Rodney gave up Saturday was just the second of Rodney's career. The other one occurred May 8, 2002, in the second game of his career, while with Detroit at Anaheim. ... The Rays said Saltalamacchia's pinch-hit, walk-off home run was the first a Tampa Bay pitcher has allowed in the club's 15-year history. ... Hideki Matsui went 1-for-4 Sunday for Triple-A Durham, and he is getting closer to joining the Rays. He is hitting .178 through 12 games since signing a minor league deal with Tampa Bay. ... Rays pitchers took batting practice at Fenway Park in preparation for upcoming interleague play. ... B.J. Upton's sixth-inning single extended his hitting streak to 10 games, matching a career high. ... Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday night. ... Boston outfielder Ryan Kalish was scheduled to continue his rehab assignment with high Class A Salem on Sunday night, playing the outfield. ... Rhymes had a season-high three hits.
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