Red Sox-Rays Live: Boston’s Offense Sputters As Sox Suffer Fifth Straight Loss

Dustin PedroiaFinal, Rays 3-0: The day started with the Red Sox trading Jake Peavy to the Giants. It ended with a Boston loss.

The Red Sox dropped their fifth straight game Saturday. The red-hot Rays, meanwhile, earned their ninth straight victory.

A throwing error by Christian Vazquez opened the door for Tampa Bay to jump on the scoreboard in the first inning. The Rays never looked back en route to a 3-0 win.

Kevin Kiermaier added an RBI single in the fourth inning, and Ben Zobrist hit his eighth home run of the season in the seventh inning.

The Red Sox produced eight hits but once again couldn’t generate timely knocks. Boston went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.

The Red Sox now have been shut out 11 times this season.

End 8th, Rays 3-0: Koji Uehara surely will be the subject of trade rumors this week. The Red Sox closer worked a scoreless eighth inning.

Uehara allowed a one-out single to Yunel Escobar. He rebounded to strike out Jose Molina and retire Kevin Kiermaier on a popup into foul territory.

The bottom third of the Red Sox’s order — Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Christian Vazquez — is due up in the ninth inning.

Mid 8th, Rays 3-0: Another inning, another stranded runner.

Mike Napoli walked with one out in the eighth. Brad Boxberger maneuvered around him to complete a scoreless inning.

Jonny Gomes popped out, and Stephen Drew struck out swinging.

Koji Uehara will pitch the eighth inning for Boston after seven innings from John Lackey. Lackey allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits while striking out four and walking four.

End 7th, Rays 3-0: John Lackey looked to be on his way to a second consecutive 1-2-3 inning. Ben Zobrist had other plans.

Kevin Kiermaier and Desmond Jennings grounded to second base and shortstop, respectively, before Zobrist put a charge into one.

Zobrist hooked his eighth home run of the season right down the right field line. It’s the 15th home run Lackey has surrendered this season.

Lackey found the third out to be elusive. He walked Matt Joyce and Evan Longoria before finally retiring James Loney on a ground ball to Stephen Drew.

Mid 7th, Rays 2-0: The Red Sox wasted another baserunner in the seventh inning.

Christian Vazquez led off with a single into center field. He was quickly wiped off the bases as Brock Holt grounded into a double play.

Dustin Pedoria flied out to end the inning.

The Red Sox actually have more hits than the Rays — eight to seven — but Boston hasn’t been able to produce in key spots. The Red Sox are 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and have left eight men on base.

End 6th, Rays 2-0: John Lackey enjoyed his first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth.

Brandon Guyer and Yunel Escobar both put the ball on the ground. Jose Molina struck out looking to end the inning.

Christian Vazquez, Brock Holt and Dustin Pedroia are due up in the seventh as Boston looks to get on the scoreboard.

Mid 6th, Rays 2-0: The Red Sox stranded two more in the sixth. Boston failed to score despite having runners at the corners with no outs.

Mike Napoli led off with a base hit. Jonny Gomes pinch-hit for Daniel Nava against left-hander Jeff Beliveau and singled on a strange play.

Gomes hit a weak chopper to the left side. Shortstop Yunel Escobar pulled off it, seemingly thinking that third baseman Evan Longoria was going to make the play. The ball bounced past both players and toward left field, which allowed Napoli to go from first to third.

The Red Sox couldn’t cash in on the golden opportunity. Stephen Drew struck out swinging before the Rays turned to Grant Balfour.

Balfour struck out Xander Bogaerts and retired Jackie Bradley Jr. on a ground ball to end the threat.

Bogaerts thought he represented the inning’s final out and began to take off his equipment at home plate before finally realizing the situation and returning to the Red Sox’s dugout.

End 5th, Rays 2-0: John Lackey induced his second double play of the contest in the fifth.

Evan Longoria singled into center field with one out after Matt Joyce grounded out.

James Loney then grounded to short, where Stephen Drew started the inning-ending double play.

Mid 5th, Rays 2-0: Jeremy Hellickson didn’t go the five innings required for a win. He was removed with two outs in the fifth.

Christian Vazquez flied out and Brock Holt grounded out to begin the fifth. Hellickson stayed in to face Dustin Pedroia, but Pedey singled into center field to extend the inning.

Rays manager Joe Maddon turned to his bullpen and called upon Jeff Beliveau. Beliveau retired David Ortiz to end the inning.

Ortiz hit a rocket right at first baseman James Loney.

End 4th, Rays 2-0: The Rays appeared to get lucky in the fourth inning.

Yunel Escobar singled and took second base when Jose Molina dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Christian Vazquez nearly picked off Escobar, but second base umpire Marcus Pattillo determined that Escobar sneaked his hand in ahead of Stephen Drew’s tag.

It certainly was a bang-bang play. However, it looked like Escobar was out. Red Sox manager John Farrell came out to contest the call but strangely decided not to challenge the play.

As fate would have it, Kevin Keirmaier singled home Escobar to give the Rays a 2-0 lead.

Mid 4th, Rays 1-0: The Red Sox are generating baserunners. They’re just not scoring runs. Go figure.

Mike Napoli led off the fourth inning with a walk. Jeremy Hellickson rebounded to retire Daniel Nava (strikeout) and Stephen Drew (flyout), but Xander Bogaerts extended the inning with a single into left field.

Napoli and Bogaerts each advanced a station with two outs, as Hellickson uncorked a wild pitch with Jackie Bradley Jr. batting. Bradley failed to take advantage of the scoring chance, though. He struck out swinging.

End 3rd, Rays 1-0: John Lackey is still trying to settle in.

Lackey surrendered a couple of singles in the third inning before escaping the frame unscathed. The right-hander benefited from a huge, inning-ending double play.

Matt Joyce and James Loney sandwiched Evan Longoria’s strikeout with base hits. That put runners at the corners for Brandon Guyer.

Guyer grounded to short, where Stephen Drew started a 6-4-3 twin killing.

Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: Brock Holt’s aggressiveness got the best of him in the third inning.

Holt worked a six-pitch walk. A couple of the pitches were borderline strikes, but he still managed to earn the free pass.

Holt took second base when Dustin Pedroia hit a chopper to short handled by Yunel Escobar.

David Ortiz grounded into the shift. Holt, apparently thinking he could catch the Rays off-guard, rounded third base and darted home. First baseman James Loney fired to the plate, where Holt was out by a mile.

End 2nd, Rays 1-0: John Lackey worked through some trouble in the second inning.

Jose Molina walked and Kevin Kiermaier singled with one out to put runners at first and second. Neither Desmond Jennings nor Ben Zobrist could take advantage of the ducks on the pond.

Jennings popped out and Zobrist grounded out to end the inning.

Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild grew annoyed with the Red Sox’s dugout in the third inning. He took off his mask and started walking toward the dugout while exchanging words with manager John Farrell. Farrell wasn’t ejected, but it’s something worth monitoring.

Mid 2nd, Rays 1-0: The Red Sox made some noise in the second inning but came away empty handed.

Stephen Drew and Jackie Bradley Jr. produced singles. Drew hit a line drive into right field with one out. Bradley golfed a changeup into left-center field with two outs.

Christian Vazquez put a charge into one to deep left field, but Brandon Guyer easily sized it up and made the catch to end the threat.

End 1st, Rays 1-0: There’s been no shortage of debates in the first inning.

There was some question in the top of the first as to whether David Ortiz’s line drive to right field should have been a home run. The bottom of the first featured an errant throw that Red Sox manager John Farrell argued wouldn’t have occurred if Desmond Jennings was in the base path.

Christian Vazquez bounced out from behind the plate on Jennings’ leadoff dribbler in the infield. The rookie catcher, who has an absolute cannon, fired to first base, but his throw sailed wide of Mike Napoli, enabling Jennings to cruise into third base.

Ben Zobrist walked. Matt Joyce singled into right field to knock in Jennings with the game’s first run.

John Lackey retired Evan Longoria (strikeout), James Loney (flyout) and Brandon Guyer (groundout) to avoid any additional damage.

Mid 1st, 0-0: David Ortiz thought he hit his 25th home run of the season. Instead, Big Papi ended up with a double.

Ortiz ripped a line drive to deep right field with two outs in the first inning. A fan reached over and caught it, causing some debate as to whether the ball would have cleared the fence.

The umpires ruled the play a double. After reviewing the play, the umpires upheld the initial call. Ortiz was awarded second base.

Ortiz didn’t score, as Jeremy Hellickson struck out Mike Napoli looking to end the threat.

7:12 p.m.: The big story Saturday has been the Red Sox trading Jake Peavy and whether more deals are forthcoming. However, there’s still baseball to be played.

Jeremy Hellickson deals a first-pitch strike to Brock Holt.

5:15 p.m.: Shane Victorino has been on fire since returning from the disabled list last Saturday. The Red Sox’s current plan calls for him to play four of five games, though, so Victorino will sit out Saturday.

Brock Holt will patrol right field in Victorino’s absence. Daniel Nava and Jackie Bradley Jr. will man left field and center field, respectively, against right-hander Jeremy Hellickson.

Christian Vazquez will be back behind the dish. He’ll bat ninth.

Saturday’s complete lineups are below.

Boston Red Sox (47-56)
Brock Holt, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Christian Vazquez, C

John Lackey, RHP (11-6, 3.66 ERA)

Tampa Bay Rays (50-53)
Desmond Jennings, CF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Matt Joyce, DH
Evan Longoria, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Brandon Guyer, LF
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Molina, C
Kevin Kiermaier, RF

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP (0-0, 2.08 ERA)

5 p.m. ET: The Boston Red Sox offered the first real indication that they’re looking toward the future Saturday by trading pitcher Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for two minor league pitchers.

While the move doesn’t signify a full-fledged fire sale — the Red Sox have major league-ready talent ready to step in — it does show Boston is willing to make moves geared toward improving the club for 2015 and beyond. The Peavy trade could just be the first shoe to drop for the Red Sox, who enter Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field with a 47-56 record and 10 1/2 games back in the American League East.

Boston’s woes are no longer are Peavy’s problem. But you can bet the Red Sox aren’t ready to pack it in just yet. Boston obviously faces a huge deficit, but there’s too much pride within the Red Sox’s clubhouse for the defending World Series champions to just roll over with 59 games remaining on the schedule.

John Lackey will start Saturday’s contest. He leads the Red Sox with 11 wins, and his next victory will mark the 150th of his major league career. It also will snap a losing streak, as the Red Sox have dropped four straight after suffering a 6-4 loss in Friday’s series opener at The Trop.

Lackey will face Jeremy Hellickson in a clash scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with NESN.com’s live blog.

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