BOSTON -- Matt Moore's previous success against the Red Sox this season meant nothing Friday.
David Price's career numbers meant just as little Saturday.
And suddenly the Red Sox are threatening to make a mockery of the notion that their series with the Rays is among the most evenly matched of the divisional round, posting a 7-4 victory in Game 2 in front of 38,705 at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox can advance to the ALCS Monday night with a victory in St. Petersburg, Fla., but they took pains to declare that the Rays aren't done.
"It's not over," said David Ortiz, who homered twice off Price. "We know we're playing against a good ballclub. They always find a way to win games. We don't take anything for granted."
Joe Maddon, whose team captured three must-win games in three different cities to get to the ALDS and hasn't been home since Sept. 23, is always a glass-half-full manager, and he stayed true to form.
"I'm really looking forward to Game 5 here," Maddon said.
The Red Sox, who followed Friday's 14-hit attack with 11 Saturday -- getting nine hits and seven runs against Price -- were not offended.
"That's what Joe should say. He's a great manager. He has those guys believing," said Dustin Pedroia, who had three RBIs. "They've already played a couple of elimination games and they've won. I'm not going to say anything bad about Joe. I respect the heck out of him and so does our whole team. It's going to be tough to put them away."
John Lackey, whose Boston career mostly was a mix of disappointment and injury until this season, allowed four runs and seven hits in 51/3 innings but still bested Price, who was expected to dominate -- or at least pitch far better than he did.
The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner was coming off a complete-game victory Monday night in the wild card play-in game against Texas and boasted superb career numbers against the Red Sox, especially at Fenway Park -- 6-1 with a 1.88 ERA in 10 previous starts here.
He wasn't battered to the degree Moore was in Friday's 12-2 Game 1 loss, but Price still took it on the chin in seven-plus innings. "Honestly, I thought it was pretty good tonight, but that team just beat me," he said. "That's a very good team."
One that toppled two of the AL's best pitchers back-to-back.
"I'm just glad I'm a catcher on this team and not having to figure out how to pitch to this lineup," said David Ross, who had one of Boston's three doubles.
Ortiz and Jacoby Ellsbury were the hitting stars of this game for Boston, and they teamed up early.
Ellsbury led off the first inning with a single, the first of his three hits, and with Shane Victorino at the plate, took off for second. Catcher Jose Molina had little chance to get him and didn't. Making things worse for the Rays, Molina threw wildly into center, allowing Ellsbury to go to third. Ellsbury's steal made it 42 consecutive stolen-base attempts for the Red Sox since Aug. 9.
After Victorino grounded out to third -- Ellsbury had to hold -- Pedroia's sacrifice fly to center made it 1-0.
Ortiz then slammed Price's 1-and-0 cutter over the Red Sox bullpen in right-center to make it 2-0, the designated hitter's first career homer off the lefthander. Ortiz came in 8-for-37 in his career against Price, who allowed only two homers to lefty batters this season.
The Red Sox built their lead to 5-1 in the fourth and kept the Rays at bay, inducing three double-play balls, their most in a postseason game since Game 4 of the 1918 World Series.
The first two games, in reality, couldn't have gone much better for the Red Sox. Or worse for the Rays.
"They win home games and we win home games and now we're going home," the Rays' Evan Longoria said. "We've been pretty good in win-or-go-home situations so far. We're happy to be going home."
With David Lennon