The Tampa Bay Rays won their seventh in a row by defeating the Boston Red Sox 8-2 on Monday afternoon at Fenway Park. The Red Sox have now lost six of their last seven, which includes this four-game sweep by the Rays.
Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey had his first rough outing in a Boston uniform. He went just 3.1 innings, allowing eight runs, nine hits, and one walk, while throwing a total of 79 pitches. Lackey struck out only one batter, which occurred in the third inning.
Tampa Bay scored the opening run in the first inning. Jason Bartlett drove a double to right field to start off the game. Carl Crawford laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Bartlett to third. After Crawford's sacrifice, Ben Zobrist grounded into a fielder's choice, scoring Bartlett from third to put the Rays on the board 1-0.
The Rays exploded for five runs in the third inning. With one out, Bartlett lined a single to left center. Red Sox left fielder Jeremy Hermida made a late, missed judgement on the play. The ball deflected off Hermida and rolled toward the wall, allowing the Rays' shortstop to reach second base. The result of the play was a single and an error.
With Bartlett on second, Crawford hit a ground ball to right field for a single. The ball did not go a good enough distance for Bartlett to score, stopping him at third base. As Zobrist was called out on strikes, Crawford stole second base.
Rays third baseman and clean up hitter Evan Longoria was up next. With men on second and third, Longoria drove a fastball to left field for a two-run double to make it 3-0 in favor of Tampa Bay.
Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell made a visit to the mound following Longoria's hit. The visit apparently didn't do anything for the Red Sox starter.
Lackey walked Carlos Pena to keep the inning alive for Tampa Bay. The next batter, BJ Upton, made things worse for Lackey. With runners on first and second, Upton crushed his fourth home run of the season into the Red Sox bullpen to make the score 6-0.
All five runs in the third inning came with two outs.
In the top of the fourth, Rays second baseman Reid Brignac lined a double to center field to start the inning. After moving to third on a groundout by Dioner Navarro, Bartlett came up to the plate. He hit a triple to center field, scoring Brignac to make it 7-0.
After the triple, Red Sox manager Terry Francona had seen enough from his starter and made a call to the bullpen. Reliever Scott Atchison replaced Lackey.
With one out in the fourth, Crawford hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Bartlett from third to make it 8-0. The eighth and final run for Tampa Bay was charged to Lackey.
Atchison, Ramon Ramirez, and Scott Schoeneweis kept the Rays scoreless for the remainder of the game, but the deficit was too much for the Red Sox.
Boston didn't get on the board until the bottom of the seventh inning. With two outs, Bill Hall lined a single to left. Then came Hermida, who made an error back in the third inning. He hit his second home run of the season into the right field seats off Rays starter Jeff Niemann to make the score 8-2.
Overall, Niemann pitched seven strong innings. He allowed two runs, five hits, walked three, and struck out four, while tossing a total of 100 pitches.
Rays pitcher Andy Sonnanstine came in for the eighth and ninth innings. He threw two perfect innings, preventing any comeback from the Red Sox.
Coming into Monday's matchup, the Red Sox have scored 15 runs total in their previous six games, averaging 2.5 runs a game. Those six games were three against Minnesota and three against Tampa Bay. They only scored two runs on Monday.
Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis, and David Ortiz—the Red Sox numbers two through five hitters—combined to go 0-for-13 in the game.
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