But that's where Bobby Valentine erred. At that point in the game, the Red Sox skipper sent pitching coach Bob McClure out for a mound visit with Bard, who had walked two batters shortly beforehand.
All signs indicated that Bard was gassed. Instead of yanking the reliever turned starter, Valentine elected to allow the 26-year-old to finish the inning. But the decision backfired, as Bard walked Evan Longoria for the go-ahead run.
"It was the wrong decision," Valentine said. "The inning started, he looked good, he got the two quick outs, he got two strikes on the next two guys. I committed at that time he was going to finish the inning or at least try to finish it. It didn't happen."
It was Bard's only significant blunder of the afternoon, considering he tossed six shutout innings leading up to the moment. In hindsight, he admitted that staying against Longoria wasn't the ideal situation.
"The signs pointed that I was getting tired," Bard said. "In the moment, I wanted to be out there."
Since he's still transitioning to his role as a starter, the former reliever said his command plummeted once he exceeded the 100-pitch mark. But he wouldn't place the blame on Valentine for keeping him.
"I felt like I was one pitch away from getting that release point back," Bard said. "On top of that, those are my runs out there, and I want to be responsible for them. I wanted it. They gave me the chance. I can't complain about it."
Before walking Longoria, Bard had retired the Rays' third baseman three times, including two strikeouts. Bard finished with 111 pitches.