ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In front of a smaller paid crowd in Tropicana Field (10,543) than the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox had the night before in McCoy Stadium (11,767), the Red Sox fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, 4-3, in 10 innings.
Matt Joyce’s bases-loaded single over a drawn-in outfield brought home the winning run off Burke Badenhop, the sixth Sox pitcher. Ryan Hanigan opened the inning with a double to the wall in left, Hanigan just beating an amazing throw by outfielder Yoenis Cespedes with a head-first slide into the bag. Two intentional walks sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt set the stage for Joyce, who lofted a ball over Cespedes’s head for the winning run.
Cespedes had sent the game into extra innings with a two-out RBI single in the eighth. Cespedes is batting .382 (13-for-34) with runners in scoring position since joining the Red Sox.
The walk-off win was only the fourth this season for the Rays, the last three coming against the Sox. The Rays had three straight walk-offs May 22-24, Cole Figueroa doubling off Badenhop for the only run in a 1-0 game May 23, and Andrew Miller’s throwing error giving the Rays a 6-5 win in 15 innings the next day.
The Red Sox, who split a four-game series here after taking two of three in Toronto, will conclude their penultimate trip of the season with three games against the Yankees in New York beginning Tuesday night in Yankee Stadium.
With Dustin Pedroia (concussion) and David Ortiz (day off) out of the lineup, the Sox managed just six hits against Rays starter Drew Smyly and five relievers. Mookie Betts drove in a run with a double in the third and Mike Napoli hit his 17th homer in the fourth.
De La Rosa went 5 1/3 innings, giving up six hits and striking out four. He did not walk a batter.
Jemile Weeks, acquired from Baltimore in a trade Saturday night, made his Sox debut as a pinch runner in the 10th for Christian Vazquez, who had singled. Weeks was picked off by Grant Balfour, a former teammate in Oakland.