BOSTON -- For all their struggles over the years against Tampa Bay, the Boston Red Sox may never have had such a wait for a victory over the pesky Rays.
Two months, six days after this game was originally scheduled, New England's whimsical weather added a rain delay of nearly three hours Tuesday before the Red Sox completed a 5-1 win over the Rays in the opener of a day-night doubleheader.
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"If you really put the hours into it, from the time it was first scheduled until the last out today, that's a pretty long game," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
Long enough that Maddon grabbed a nap in his office after the downpour began and the field was cleared at 2:58 p.m. EDT. The next pitch was delivered at 5:57 p.m. in the bottom of the fifth inning.
The only fans there to see it were a stout rooters who rode out the storm and were joined by others who showed up early for the second game, scheduled to start a little after 7 p.m.
That was about 20 minutes after Game 1 actually ended and with a light turnout expected, the Red Sox invited the fans from the opener back for the nightcap free of charge. But first, Fenway Park was cleared during the brief interim of about 45 minutes.
"I was worried that it was going to rain out the whole time, but so far they've been really good," fan Alex Cole said while packed tight in a crowd of people waiting outside the Yawkey Way gates to get back into the ballpark.
Cole and his fiance, Kim Serulneck, were in town from Winter Park, Fla., and had tickets for the second game, but were able to get in to catch the end of the opener. He was wearing a Rays jersey and she -- originally from Framingham, Mass. -- was in Red Sox gear for Cole's first visit to Fenway.
"It was a little weird seeing it empty because of the rain. It was really cool," Cole said. "I was excited just to go in."
Security got the fans turned around and back inside before the first inning was over and Fenway was about three-fourths full despite the cool, soggy conditions.
David Ortiz drove in three runs and Ellsbury finished with a single, double and triple, scoring all three times he reached base.
Highly touted Rays prospect Wil Myers went 0 for 4 in his major league debut. The 22-year-old rookie played right field.
Alfredo Aceves (4-1) overcame early control problems and won his third straight start, allowing one run and three hits. He did not return after the delay, which was actually his second of the day. Manager John Farrell said Aceves was stuck in traffic on his way to the park, but made eventually made it.
"He's not a guy that reports to the clubhouse early to begin with and was a little delayed," Farrell said. "He had plenty of time to get loose."
The Red Sox had lost four of six, including two of a three-game series at Tampa Bay last week. The Rays have lost five of six.
Chris Archer (1-3) took the only loss for the Rays last week, and Boston beat him again. He struck out five in 4 2/3 innings, but also walked five while allowing four runs and five hits.
Archer walked Daniel Nava to load the bases with two outs in the fifth and that was it for him. Josh Lueke came in from the bullpen and had just started warming up when the rain arrived and the game was delayed. Almost three hours later, Lueke struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning.
Ortiz hit a two-run single in the third after Ellsbury and Victorino opened the inning with singles.
Myers had little time to savor his debut. He was starting again in right field for Game 2.
"It was awesome. First time in the big leagues was really cool," he said. "I tried to soak it in a little bit. It was a very cool experience. It was everything I thought it would be."
Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia was back in the lineup after sitting out Sunday in Baltimore. He had started the team's first 70 games this season. ... Boston 1B Mike Napoli also returned to the lineup after missing the past three games because of an illness. ... At 22 years, 190 days old, Myers became the youngest player to make his MLB debut in right field at Fenway Park since Boston's Dwight Evans did so at 20 years, 318 days on Sept. 16, 1972.