ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - As much as the Boston Red Sox wanted to play down the significance of beating the Tampa Bay Rays, David Ortiz conceded it did feel good to finally break through against baseball's top team.
"Of course, man. These guys have been giving us a hard time," Ortiz said after he and Kevin Youkilis homered in support of right-hander Clay Buchholz in a 6-1 victory Monday night.
"Not only to us, to everyone," the slugger added. "They have the best record in baseball. So you've got to play your best."
The Red Sox beat the Rays for the first time in five tries, climbing a season-best four games over .500 (25-21) with their third straight win on a difficult road trip that began in Philadelphia.
Buchholz (6-3) won his eighth consecutive road start dating to last August, the longest such streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Roger Clemens won nine in a row from July 18, 1992 to April 20, 1993.
The right-hander allowed one run - Carlos Pena's eighth homer - and six hits over six innings. Hideki Okajima and Daniel Bard didn't allow any baserunners the rest of the way.
"We're getting great starting pitching. When you do that, all we have to do is put a couple runs on the board and those guys can take over," Dustin Pedroia said, adding the Red Sox are focused on themselves - not catching the first-place Rays.
"We're in the middle of the year and just playing," Pedroia said. "We're playing some really good teams and just finding ways to win. That's a real good sign."
Ortiz homered for the fifth time in his last nine games, hitting a solo shot off Wade Davis (4-4) in the second inning. Davis walked in a run and yielded RBI singles to Adrian Beltre and Jeremy Hermida during a three-run third that put the Red Sox up 4-0.
White Sox 7, Indians 2
CLEVELAND - Mark Teahen drove in three runs, John Danks stopped a personal three-game slide and Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak to Cleveland.
Teahen hit a two-run double in Chicago's four-run first inning off Justin Masterson (0-5), who lost his 11th straight decision. The right-hander hasn't won in 16 starts since Aug. 20.
Danks (4-3) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. The left-hander was winless in his previous four starts, and the White Sox scored just three runs in his last three outings.
After shutting out the Indians on opening day in Chicago, the White Sox dropped five in a row to the AL Central's last-place team.
Alex Rios hit his ninth homer for the White Sox.
Chicago's Omar Vizquel got his 2,764th career hit, tying Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio, his boyhood idol, for the second-most by a shortstop behind Yankees star Derek Jeter.
Reds 7, Pirates 5
CINCINNATI - Drew Stubbs had three hits, and right-hander Aaron Harang singled home a run and chugged around the bases to score another during Cincinnati's five-run fourth inning, leading the Reds to a victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Harang (3-5) singled for a 3-2 lead, then barely scored from first on Orlando Cabrera's double. He allowed four runs in 6 1-3 innings, including Ronny Cedeno's two-run homer. Stubbs added an RBI double and a solo homer.
Left-hander Brian Burres (2-2) walked the first two batters in the fourth to start the pivotal rally, which turned on Harang's two-out hit and his all-out dash.
Left-hander Arthur Rhodes pitched the eighth, extending his scoreless-innings streak to 16 1-3 innings. Francisco Cordero gave up a double in the ninth while earning his 15th save in 18 tries.