ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria's tie-breaking, bases-clearing double down the left-field line Friday night at Tropicana Field brought to mind memories of his past heroic moments for the Tampa Bay Rays.
And the suddenly resurgent Rays have looked a lot more like their old selves lately, too.
Left-hander David Price pitched eight strong innings and Longoria delivered the decisive blow in the seventh inning, leading the Rays to a 6-4 win over the Boston Red Sox.
The Rays (50-53) have now won eight in a row and 26 of 37 games since June 11, remaining 4 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees for the second American League wild card spot.
"It felt good. It's definitely nice to be reminded every once in a while that you can still hit in those situations," Longoria said. "But more importantly, for the team, we're fighting to get back in this thing."
They might also be fighting to keep their ace on board, as Price's name has been a hot topic in trade rumors since last season. Fall out of contention, and the Rays might not be able to pass up the chance to trade him.
But if they keep winning?
"The world works in perverse ways sometimes," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "Nobody wants to lose him around here, so let's just keep on winning, keep him here. That sounds like a nice equation."
Dueling against Red Sox ace Jon Lester in front of a crowded section of scouts preparing for the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, Price (11-7, 3.08 ERA) struck out 10 and allowed only three runs as he picked up his sixth win in his last six starts.
Price is 7-3 with a 1.88 ERA and 99 strikeouts over his last 11 starts, backing up his claim that he's pitching the best he ever has.
But it was Longoria who delivered in the biggest moment, clearing the bases and breaking a 3-3 tie in the seventh with a double into the left-field corner off Red Sox reliever Junichi Tazawa.
While Tampa Bay showed continued signs of life, Boston (47-56) lost four straight after winning eight of its last nine.
Lester has given up two earned runs or less in eight straight starts, and he left Friday's game in line for the win. The lefty allowed two runs on six hits while striking out seven over six innings.
But the bullpen couldn't hold the line.
"I felt good with it," Lester said. "To leave up 3-2 against David Price is a good feeling, but they were able to put some good at-bats there against Andrew (Miller) and Taz."
Miller began the inning by hitting Jose Molina, giving way to Tazawa. Outfielder Ben Zobrist tied the game with an RBI single to right field, then Tazawa (1-2, 3.15 ERA) walked left fielder Brandon Guyer.
"Uncharacteristic with him misfiring as much as he did," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Tazawa. "Just off the edge on a number of pitches. It's not typical that you see him walk a number of guys in a given inning."
Longoria fell behind in the count but stayed alive, eventually pulling a 2-2 curveball into the corner to clear the bases, put the Rays ahead and rekindle a little bit of Rays magic.
"We've won some games, and we've done some things that kind of remind us, I think, of what we're capable of," Longoria said. "But by no means are we where we want to be. We definitely have to continue to keep ourselves in this thing and keep reminding ourselves on a daily basis that we've got a lot of work to do."
NOTES: Red Sox DH David Ortiz (back spasms) was back in the starting lineup Friday night after leaving Thursday's game in the ninth inning. ... The Rays received several bits of good news on the injury front Friday, with reliever Joel Peralta (illness) scheduled for a minor league game this weekend and return Monday, OF Wil Myers (right wrist fracture) hitting off a tee and C Ryan Hanigan (left oblique strain) feeling "much better," according to manager Joe Maddon. ... Boston RHP John Lackey (11-6, 3.66 ERA) will face Tampa Bay RHP Jeremy Hellickson (0-0, 2.08) on Saturday night. Hellickson will be called up from the minors, where he pitched during the All-Star break to stay fresh after missing time earlier this season.