After a quiet offensive night in the series finale against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday, the Boston Red Sox responded with another lackluster game with the bats in the series opener against the Tampa Bay Rays.
The Red Sox only had five hits in Thursday’s 4-1 loss at Tropicana Field, marking their second straight loss after starting off the 10-game road trip 5-0.
Chris Sale had his strikeout pitch working, as he punched out 12 batters over seven innings of work. Unfortunately for the left-hander, a series of mislocated pitches allowed the Rays to collect four runs on seven hits, including two home runs.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 49-37, while the Rays improve to 45-42.
Here’s how it all went down.
GAME IN A WORD
Boston’s bats had no answer for Rays starter Jacob Faria. The 23-year-old only allowed four hits over six innings of work. And if that wasn’t impressive enough, Tampa Bay’s relievers only allowed one hit in the ensuing three innings to earn the series-opening victory.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Wilson Ramos took Sale deep for a two-run home run in the sixth inning, extending Tampa Bay’s lead to 4-1. Given the way Boston’s bats were struggling, a three-run cushion was more than enough for the Rays’ pitchers to preserve the victory.
ON THE BUMP
— Sale’s night got off to a tremendous start, as he struck out the side in order in the first inning. The left-hander continued his dominance in the second and third frames, only scattering two hits and punching out four in the two innings combined. But some trouble arrived in the fourth.
With one out in the inning, Logan Morrison looped a single to shallow center field. Ramos followed with a double ticketed for the left-center field gap, which allowed Morrison to score Tampa Bay’s first run. Sale limited the damage in the fourth to just that one run, but a Peter Bourjos home run to lead off the fifth gave the Rays a 2-1 lead.
Things wouldn’t get any better for Sale in the sixth. Evan Longoria led off the inning with a double, and two batters later, Ramos sent a two-run shot into orbit to swell Tampa Bay’s advantage to 4-1. Sale labored to finish the inning, and then responded with a 1-2-3 seventh to cap off his outing.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Deven Marrero plated the Red Sox’s only run in the contest. The rookie infielder notched a sacrifice fly in the third inning to score Tzu-Wei Lin. He also singled in his 1-for-2 effort.
— Dustin Pedroia was the lone Boston hitter to record a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with two singles.
— Andrew Benintendi (1-for-3) and Sandy Leon (1-for-4) both had singles.
TWEET OF THE DAY
Benintendi gets some birthday love in The Sunshine State.
The Red Sox and Rays will play Game 2 of their four-game series Friday night. Drew Pomeranz is scheduled to get the ball for Boston and will be countered by Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi. First pitch from Tropicana Field is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images