A chance to face the beleaguered Boston Red Sox staff appeared to give the Tampa Bay Rays just what they needed to break out of their funk at the plate.
They'll try to keep that momentum going while giving Drew Smyly enough support to earn his first win of the season Tuesday night in a matchup with former teammate Rick Porcello, who likely won't have Hanley Ramirez available to help him.
Tampa Bay (14-12) was batting .178 and had scored 10 runs in its six games before a 5-1 win at Fenway Park on Monday night. David DeJesus, 0 for 16 in his prior five contests, had two of the Rays' 11 hits and Logan Forsythe registered two for the fifth time in six contests.
"I do like the lineup we put out there today," manager Kevin Cash said. "The fact that we're versatile with the right-left going through the lineup is pretty important."
The Red Sox's ERA remained at 5.04 after their fourth straight loss, all at home. Their starters have posted a 6.00 mark and have a 6.05 staff ERA while losing nine of the last 12.
Porcello (2-2, 5.34 ERA) kept up his end Wednesday in a 4-1 win over Toronto, yielding one run and two hits over seven innings.
While with Detroit last season, the right-hander had vastly different showings in two starts against the Rays. He tossed a three-hitter in a 6-0 road win Aug. 20 and was tagged for seven runs in 5 2-3 innings in a 7-3 home loss July 6.
The Red Sox are probably hoping to see the Porcello's form from August, Ramirez's status is unclear. The outfielder left in the first inning after running into a side wall while trying to make a catch and spraining his left shoulder.
Ramirez tied a franchise record with his 10 home runs before May 1 but hasn't added to that total or driven in a run so far this month.
"He's day to day," manager John Farrell said. "Right now obviously with the sprain to the left shoulder on the collision, we're hopeful over the next couple days there's some improvement. There's no clear-cut DL at this point."
If Ramirez has to sit, it could make it a little easier for Smyly (0-0, 3.38) to record another effective outing. The left-hander has given up two runs or fewer in eight consecutive starts dating back to Aug. 11 and pitched at least six innings in all but two of those.
He gave up a pair of solo homers and two other hits in six innings Wednesday against the New York Yankees, but Tampa Bay needed 13 innings for a 3-2 win.
Smyly is 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA in 10 starts since being acquired from Detroit on July 31. He gave up two runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings in a 4-3 win over Boston on Sept. 1 and went 1-0 with a 2.31 ERA in his two matchups last season.
Forsythe, 10 for 24 (.417) in his last six games, is 5 for 12 in four against Boston this season and 0 for 3 lifetime against Porcello.
David Ortiz, batting .385 (10 for 26) in his last seven contests, is 4 for 7 with a home run against Smyly in his career.