ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — If there's a secret to Boston's success against Chris Archer, the Red Sox aren't eager to share it.
David Ortiz, Pablo Sandoval and Alejandro De Aza homered against Tampa Bay's best pitcher on Sunday, keying a 5-3 victory that clinched a series win over the first-place Rays and stopped Archer's career-best six-game winning streak.
The last-place Red Sox beat the right-hander for the second time this season. Archer dropped to 1-6 with a 5.48 ERA in nine career starts against Boston, compared to 28-18 with a 2.88 ERA in 69 appearances against all other opponents.
"He's a great pitcher, but we have a bat in the hand," Sandoval said. "If you make a mistake, we're going to take advantage."
Ortiz hit a two-run shot off Archer (9-5) in the fourth inning, the slugger's 31st career homer at Tropicana Field — more than any visiting player.
Sandoval and De Aza, who homered for the third time in four days, went deep in the second for a 2-0 lead. Sandoval also drove in a sixth-inning run with a sacrifice fly that made it 5-1.
Meanwhile, Justin Masterson (3-2) allowed an unearned run and five hits over five innings to win for the first time since beating Baltimore at Fenway Park on April 20. The start was the right-hander's first since a six-week stint on the disabled list with tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.
Archer began the day with an AL-best 2.01 ERA. He yielded a career-high three homers while allowing five runs, five hits and striking out 10 over six innings.
"They seemed like good pitches. Not great, but sill probably considered a mistake," Archer said of the homers, the most he's allowed since opening day, when De Aza also connected off the right-hander while playing for Baltimore.
"I thought Arch was really good. Six innings, 10 punchouts, five hits — the home run just kind of beat us up a little bit," Rays manager Kevin Cash said.
The loss was the fifth in seven games for Tampa Bay, which leads the AL East by a half-game over the New York Yankees.
Grady Sizemore got three hits, including a seventh-inning RBI single off Tazawa, in his debut for Tampa Bay. The Rays signed him to a minor league contract after the three-time AL All-Star was released by the Philadelphia Phillies this month.
Asdrubal Cabrera drove in two runs for the Rays with a fifth-inning single off Masterson and a seventh-inning triple off Aro.
Rays: Cash said CF Kevin Kiermaier was out of the lineup for the second straight game because "his legs are a little drained." ... 1B James Loney (broken left middle finger) took on-field batting practice.
Red Sox 1B Mike Napoli was ejected by plate umpire Tripp Gibson after arguing a called third strike in the second inning. Brock Holt shifted from second base to first defensively, and rookie Deven Marrero moved into Napoli's spot in the batting order while making his major league debut at second base. With Ramirez unavailable, that left Boston with just one position player — switch-hitting catcher Sandy Leon — on the bench for the rest of the game.
Ortiz's homer was the 478th of his career. It moved him into a tie with Chipper Jones for 25th on the all-time extra-base hit list with 1,055. Ortiz's 78 career RBIs at Tropicana Field are the most by a visiting player.
Red Sox: Begin a four-game series at Toronto, with RHP Clay Buchholz (5-6, 3.68 ERA) facing Blue Jays RHP R.A Dickey (3-7, 4.88).
Rays: Rookie RHP Nathan Karns (4-3), who took a no-hit bid into the sixth inning Wednesday against Toronto, will face Cleveland RHP Cody Anderson (0-0) in the opener of a four-game series at Tropicana Field. Anderson pitched 7 2-3 scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in his major league debut last Sunday.