The Rays' four-game winning streak ended yesterday, as they fell short to Boston 5-3. We saw an improved Matt Moore yesterday, who gave the Rays a quality start with six strong innings of work allowing three earned runs.
Moore struggled in the first inning, however, as the control didn't seem to be their early. He hit a man to load the bases, and then walked in a run (the only walk of his outing) to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. He had some good strikeout stuff today, which he displayed in the first inning by striking out three batters.
In the top of the second, the Sox extended their lead to two via solo homer from recently-acquired Marlon Byrd.
Boston tacked on another run in the third inning, as Cody Ross went yard for a solo dinger.
The Rays would respond and get on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the inning. After B.J. Upton reached on catcher's interference and Luke Scott was hit by the pitch, left-handed pitching killer Jeff Keppinger knocked in a run with an RBI single to left.
Making his first MLB start since 2004, Rich Thompson—recently acquired in a trade by the Rays—narrowed the deficit to just a run with an RBI single up the middle. Not only was it Thompson's first career RBI, but it was also his first big league hit.
In the eight inning, the Rays' bullpen was not able to keep Boston's lead at one. Cody Ross—who continues to haunt the Rays in 2012—grounded an two-run single up to middle to make it a 5-2 game.
The Rays were able to plate one run in the eight inning from an RBI single by Upton, but it wouldn't be enough.
The two big right-handed bats of Jennings and Longoria would have came in handy against lefty starter Felix Doubront. The effect was definitely there, as the Rays left 20 men on base and plenty of them in scoring position. The Rays still out-hit the Red Sox 8-7 in this game, and didn't commit any errors. And the best news is that the Rays finished a game without any more injuries.
Tampa's now 24-15 on the season (14-4 at home). They fall out of first place, as the O's regain a game lead over them. The Yankees lost again to Toronto, so they're still 3.5 games behind the Rays. Boston now trails the Rays by 5.5.
Notable stat lines:
- 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 8 K through 6.0 IP. ERA now 5.20.
- B.J. Upton: 2-3, R, RBI, BB
- J. Keppinger: 2-4, RBI, BB
- R. Thompson: 1-3, RBI, 2 SB
- Click here for a full boxscore
Rays news and notes:
- Red Sox first baseman Adrian Gonzalez guaranteed a home run in Thursday night's game. He ended the game 0-3 with a strikeout.
- Here's a video of Will Rhymes giving an update on his scary injury the day after.
- The Rays start yet another tough series tomorrow night, as they take on the red-hot Atlanta Braves (24-15). The teams' No.1 starters, Tommy Hanson (4-3, 3.43 ERA) and James Shields (6-1, 3.52 ERA), square off to kick-off the much-anticipated Interleague matchup.
- The Rays' starter for Saturday's game (in replace of Jeff Niemann) has still not been determined.