The Rays dropped the rubber match of the series with Boston Sunday afternoon, losing by a score of 7-3.
James Shields took the mound against Josh Beckett in the battle of the former aces, and both had their share of early-inning struggles.
The Red Sox got on the scoreboard first with an RBI single by Adrian Gonzalez in the first inning.
The Rays struck back in the bottom half of the inning, scoring three runs to take what would be their only lead of the ballgame. The first three batters—Will Rhymes, Carlos Pena, and Ben Zobrist—all singled to start the inning, tying up the game at one. Then later in the inning with the bases loaded, Desmond Jennings knocked in two more runs with an RBI single.
The first three batters who all scored would be the only to score for the Rays in the entire game, as Beckett immediately found his groove following the shaky first.
Down 3-1, it didn't take long at all for Boston to come back. A Mike Aviles two-run blast to straightaway center field in the second tied the game back up at three.
Then came the fifth inning, which was really the turning point in the game. Shields struggles continued, as he allowed a solo homer to Daniel Nava and then a two-run single to Will Middlebrooks later in the inning to give Boston a 6-3 lead.
The Red Sox added an insurance run off the Rays' bullpen in the sixth, when Cody Ross drove in Boston's seventh run with a sacrifice fly (run charged to Jake McGee).
After Beckett's six solid innings of work, the Rays failed to score against the Boston 'pen.
They did give the Red Sox a scare in the ninth, however, as three batters walked to load the bases and bring the potential tying run to the plate. That potential tying run was Hideki Matsui, who just got under a fastball which he nearly drilled into the right field bleachers.
Well, at least they made it exciting.
The Rays failed to take advantage of a Yankees and Orioles loss today. They are now 46-43 on the season, and remain 8.5 games behind New York and a half-game behind Baltimore. Boston now moves within a game of the Rays.
- J. Shields (L,8-6): 11 H, 6 ER, 3 BB, 5 K through 5.0 IP
- W. Rhymes (leadoff hitter): 2-5, R
- C. Pena: 2-4, R, BB
- B. Zobrist: 3-4, R, RBI, BB
- D. Jennings: 1-4, 2 RBI
- E. Johnson: 2-3, BB
- Click here for a full boxscore
Rays News and Notes
- Bullpen Banter does a scouting report on prospect Taylor Guerrieri.
- The Rays begin a four-game series against the Cleveland Indians tomorrow night. Alex Cobb (4-5, 4.89) will square off against Zach McAllister (3-1, 3.40); first pitch at 7:10 ET.