Final, Rays win 1-0: Cole Figueroa played the hero for the Tampa Bay Rays, who handed the Boston Red Sox their eighth consecutive loss thanks to Figueroa’s walk-off hit.
Following a one-out walk to Desmond Jennings, right-hander Burke Badenhop replaced lefty Andrew Miller out of the bullpen. Rays manager Joe Maddon responded by pinch-hitting Figueroa, a left-handed hitter, and the move paid off for Tampa.
Figueroa lined a 1-2 pitch into the gap to plate Jennings, who had stolen second base, and vault the Rays (21-28) over the Red Sox (20-27).
Figeroa’s walk-off, combined with the Red Sox’s offensive futility, spoiled a tremendous pitching effort by John Lackey, who tossed seven shutout innings of five-hit ball but ended up with nothing but a no-decision. Miller (1-3) takes the loss, while Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-0) gets credit for the win.
Bottom 9th, 0-0: Burke Badenhop needed a couple extra moments to warm up, which is why Pierzynski and Miller had an extended meeting on the mound after Miller issued a one-out walk to Jennings after Loney led off by popping up to short.
The Rays respond to the righty coming in by inserting left-handed batter Cole Figueroa in place of Rodriguez.
Mid 9th, 0-0: The Rays have a chance to walk off with a win thanks to sort of a messy inning by the Red Sox.
Pierzynski came within feet of putting Boston ahead 1-0 with a shot down the right-field line that curved foul. Instead, he rapped a leadoff single, but he was wiped out at second when he could not advance on a perfectly fine bunt by Victorino.
Bad news immediately got worse when Victorino had to leave the game. Jonny Gomes came on as a pinch runner, but was left at first base after Sizemore hit a pop foul after an eight-pitch at-bat, and pinch-hitter Mike Carp grounded out.
End 8th, 0-0: Eventually, somebody has to score. When that happens is anybody’s guess.
Miller didn’t have much trouble, as pinch hitter Brandon Guyer flied to center, and Myers swung through strike three. Lackey can’t do any better than a no-decision, but at least his seven shutout innings are intact thanks to DeJesus being stranded.
Bottom 8th, 0-0: Tazawa did his job, although it required a highlight-reel play by Pedroia to sit down Longoria on a grounder. Andrew Miller’s on.
Bottom 8th, 0-0: Lackey doesn’t like it, but he’s coming out, and just in time. DeJesus leads off the Rays’ half of the eighth with a single up the middle and manager John Farrell comes to get him.
It’s not one hit that forces Farrell’s hand, though. The Rays have threatened in each of the last two innings, and it showed a great deal of trust on his part to give Lackey even one batter in the eighth.
Junichi Tazawa comes on in relief.
Lackey has nothing to be ashamed of about this outing. He went seven innings strong, allowing five hits and striking out three. He didn’t allow a run so far, but he is responsible for DeJesus.
Mid 8th, 0-0: It wasn’t fast — nothing is fast when Peralta is on the hill — but it was efficient.
Pedroia rolled one to Rodriguez at second, Ortiz whapped a would-be single into the shift and Napoli lifted a high pop up to first base.
The game is still scoreless, and it looks like Lackey’s going to keep going for Boston.
End 7th, 0-0: Lackey and the Red Sox are living on the edge, but they are living, so there’s that.
Jennings reached on a throwing error by Holt and advanced to second on a sacrifice by Rodriguez. He really had the Sox sweating when he dashed to third base on a grounder by Escobar.
But that was as far as Jennings would reach, as Lackey got Hannigan to ground out to first base. It’s still scoreless, but the Rays are knocking on the door, while the Red Sox haven’t been able to figure out either Tampa Bay pitcher.
Joel Peralta is coming in for the Rays. Maybe the Red Sox will be able to figure him out.
Mid 7th, 0-0: Jake McGee picked up right where Archer left off.
Archer departed after six innings of four-hit, 11-strikeout, scoreless work, giving way to the left-hander out of the bullpen.
McGee kept the Ray’s pitching momentum going by retiring Bradley on a fly to center, Holt on a grounder to short and Bogaerts on a deep fly to left.
End 6th, 0-0: The Red Sox got out of it unscathed, but it wasn’t an easy half-inning for Lackey.
After a leadoff groundout to second base by DeJesus, Longoria singled to center, Joyce walked and Myers reached on a fielder’s choice, with Joyce wiped out at second.
Lackey then thought he had Loney on an inside cutter for strike three, but it was called a ball. Lackey recovered to get Loney to roll one to Bogaerts to end the threat.
Mid 6th, 0-0: Something really freaky is going to have to happen for either team to score tonight, because it doesn’t look like either starter is going to blink.
Pierzynski struck out, Victorino popped back up to the mound and Sizemore was called out on strikes as Archer skimmed through another easy inning.
There have been two hits, total, since the second inning.
End 5th, 0-0: Lackey hasn’t allowed a baserunner in two innings after a crisp 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
He froze Rodriguez, worked a lineout by Escobar and induced a grounder to third out of Hannigan.
The Rays aren’t too fond of Stu Scheurwater’s strike zone, but even without the umpire’s help, Lackey is dealing.
Mid 5th, 0-0: A leadoff double by Holt had Rays reliever Brad Boxberger getting ready in the bullpen, but Archer rediscovered his groove enough to stay in the game.
Archer struck out Bogaerts and Pedroia — one looking, one swinging — before issuing a two-out intentional walk to Big Papi. But Napoli couldn’t cash in, ripping a liner directly at shortstop at Escobar snared.
End 4th, 0-0: It looks like Lackey hit the “Easy” button after that first inning, because he’s cruised along ever since.
A lineout by Myers, a groundout to second by Loney and a swinging strikeout by Jennings sets down Tampa Bay in order. Lackey has retired 10 of the last 11 batters he has faced.
Mid 4th, 0-0: “Quick” is a relative term for Archer, who pitches with the urgency of a dead tortoise. But he put together another somewhat “quick” inning in the top of the fourth, working a Pierzynski flyout, Victorino groundout and Bradley strikeout around a Sizemore walk.
Archer takes his time, but it works for him. At least, it has tonight. He’s given up three hits and three walks, but he has also struck out seven and has never felt like he’s been really threatened.
End 3rd, 0-0: Lackey seems to be settling in now.
He retired Ryan Hannigan and DeJesus on ground balls, gave up a seed by Longoria for a single and got Joyce to ground out to Napoli.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: The third inning began like a case of deja vu.
Bogaerts whiffed, and Pedroia walked, just as each did in their first at-bat. But Ortiz, who singled his first time up, broke form by striking out.
Napoli brought the universe back to order, though, with his backwards-K strikeout in as many at-bats.
End 2nd, 0-0: Lackey settled in and set down the Rays in order.
Desmond Jennings and Sean Rodriguez went down on consecutive pitches with fly outs to center and shortstop, respectively. Yunel Escobar ended the frame by swinging through a full-count strike.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Once again, the Red Sox got a baserunner after giving up two quick outs — and again they don’t give themselves a chance to get anything out of it.
Grady Sizemore slapped a seeing-eye single up the middle, after A.J. Pierzynski struck out, and Shane Victorino grounded out to third. Jackie Bradley Jr. smoked a grounder up the middle that Sean Rodriguez web-gemmed, but S-Rod’s throw to Yunel Escobar, hoping to catch Sizemore advancing to second, was late.
But Holt lifted a fly ball to center that ended it, continuing the Red Sox’s woes with runners on base.
End 1st, 0-0: John Lackey survived an eventful opening that included two hits and a batter reaching on an error.
David DeJesus flied out to left to lead off, then Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce ripped back-to-back singles. Joyce was wiped out at second on a groundout by Wil Myers, and James Loney ended the threat with a chopper to third.
Mid 1st, 0-0: After setting down Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts in order to begin the game, Chris Archer played it safe with Dustin Pedroia, walking the Boston second baseman on four pitches.
Nothing came of it, however, not even after David Ortiz punched a single through the left side of the infield. Mike Napoli, making his return to the field after missing two games with flu-like symptoms, watched strike three go by to end the half-inning.
6:32 p.m.: The Rays might have thought they were slick when they kept the Trop silent during Red Sox batting practice. But “Radio Raheem” Buchholz brought his own tunes.
6:01 p.m.: Alex Cobb was so good Thursday against Oakland, the Rays gave him his own bobblehead.
Actually, Cobb’s bobblehead giveaway at Tropicana Field was scheduled for some time, but the timing is perfect. The Boston-born right-hander pitched 6 2/3 innings of no-run, three-hit, six-strikeout ball to shut down the Oakland A’s.
Check out Cobb’s military-themed souvenir below.
Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) May 23, 2014
5:20 p.m.: Stephen Drew will open his 2014 season in Single-A Greenville, where he was optioned Friday to get him some at-bats before he joins the Red Sox.
Relief pitcher Alex Wilson was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to fill Drew’s spot on the 25-man roster.
3:30 p.m.: John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox both look to bounce back as the team hits the road in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The Red Sox (20-26) have lost seven games in a row, dropping back-to-back three-game sets for the first time since April 2012. The Rays (20-28) are looking for improvement of their own, sitting in last place in the disappointing American League East.
Lackey (5-3, 4.01) was hit hard in his last start, giving up five earned runs on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings. He’ll go up against Chris Archer (3-2, 4.59), a 25-year-old right-hander coming off one of his best starts of the season, a 5 2/3-inning, two-hit outing in which he struck out five and did not allow a run to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Bright spots are hard to find for the Red Sox, but Dustin Pedroia has kept swinging the bat even as the team-wide hitting woes spread “like a disease.” Pedroia has hit safely in 10 of the last 11 games with four doubles, four walks and one home run. His .283 batting average in that span isn’t gaudy, but the Red Sox will take whatever they can get coming off a homestand in which they scored a total of 13 runs in six games.
The lineups appear below.
Red Sox (20-26)
Brock Holt, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Shane Victorino, RF
Grady Sizermore, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
David DeJesus, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
Matt Joyce, LF
Wil Myers, RF
James Loney, 1B
Desmond Jennings, CF
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
Yunel Escobar, SS
Ryan Hanningan, C