St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - Carl Crawford's eighth-inning homer proved to be the difference as Tampa Bay clipped Boston, 3-2, in the second of three games from Tropicana Field.
John Jaso and Jason Bartlett also knocked in a run each for the Rays, who have taken the first two games in the series and six of their last seven overall.
Jeff Niemann (7-2) earned the win after scattering four hits and one unearned run over six innings, fanning five despite three walks. Rafael Soriano gave up a run in the ninth but held on for his 23rd save.
"There were some tough innings," Niemann said. "I walked a few guys in one inning and gave up a few hits in anonther one. Sometimes you just have to grind those out and keep making your pitches."
Daniel Nava and Eric Patterson drove in a run apiece for the Red Sox, who have lost three in a row.
Felix Doubront (1-1) suffered his first big-league loss after yielding just five hits and a pair of runs with four walks over 5 2/3 frames.
"He pitched behind in the count, saying that, I don't think the atmosphere, I don't the game speeds up on him," said Boston skipper Terry Francona about his young hurler. "I think there's a lot to like about this kid."
Crawford reached the seats in right to start the eighth against Hideki Okajima, and the blast was valuable since Soriano encountered trouble in the ninth.
Bill Hall worked a leadoff walk, then after a pair of outs, moved up to second on defensive indifference with Patterson at the plate. Patterson kept things interesting with his triple to the gap in right-center for a 3-2 contest, and David Ortiz was walked intentionally to put men on the corners.
Niuman Romero, however, grounded to second for the final out.
Jaso singled to start the third, moved up on a wild pitch and scored when Bartlett followed with a base hit.
Boston countered in the fourth when J.D. Drew reached second on Evan Longoria's throwing error then scored when Nava beat out a dribbler to second.
Tampa moved back in front in the home half as Sean Rodriguez tripled and came home on Jaso's groundout.
The Sox escaped a bases loaded situation in the sixth but in the process, Doubront's outing came to an end. He allowed walks and a single to fill the sacks, then Longoria was picked off third before Carlos Pena walked. Scott Atchison then came on and fanned Rodriguez to end the threat.
Tampa Bay has won seven of 11 meetings with Boston this season, but has won just two of five in Florida...Niemann hadn't recorded a victory since June 8, going 0-2 with two no-decisions since...Doubront had won his major-league debut on June 18 against the Dodgers...Soriano has converted his last seven save opportunities.