Rays Rip Josh Beckett, Bullpen as Tampa Tops Red Sox 8-5


Rays Rip Josh Beckett, Bullpen as Tampa Tops Red Sox 8-5 Red Sox ace Josh Beckett fell behind early and the bullpen let it get away late as the Sox dropped Wednesday night's match to the Rays 8-5.

Beckett allowed five runs — including two homers — en route to his fourth straight winless start. The ace went six innings and allowed seven hits while striking out nine. Beckett's offense didn't give him much help as the Sox went just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position.

Tampa got on the board early when Carl Crawford — the Rays' second batter of the game — smashed a solo shot to left. After three runs in the second, the Rays scored one in the third before slowing down and allowing the Sox back into the game.

Down 4-1, Boston's bats put up a pair of runs in the fourth before plating one apiece in the seventh and eighth to tie things up at five — but that's when the Rays' offense decided to turn the power back on. Tampa untied things against the Sox bullpen in the eighth thanks to a Pat Burrell RBI single and a long Evan Longoria two-run homer to give the home team the eventual 8-5 win.

Rays 8, Red Sox 5
Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
September 2, 2009

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Headliner: Leading the Rays offense was third baseman Evan Longoria who went 2-for-4 with a towering two-run blast over the catwalk and into the left field stands in the bottom of the eighth. The 23-year-old, who now has nine homers in 29 career games against the Sox, also scored three times.

Dirt dog: Gregg Zaun brought his "Z-Game"
Wednesday night as the Rays catcher went 3-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored
and an RBI. Zaun?s RBI double in the third proved to be costly as the
Red Sox would go on to stage a comeback in the late innings.

Better luck next time:
Chalk up another sub-par performance for Josh Beckett. The ace allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in six innings. Although he struck out nine and walked none, he coughed up two more homers ? the 11th and 12th long balls he?s allowed in his last four outings. In 27 starts this season, the righty has given up 24 homers. He allowed a career-most 36 home runs in 33 starts in 2006, his first season with the Red Sox.

Key moment: After pinch-runner Joey Gathright scored the tying run in the eighth on a wild pitch, the Rays were able to score three quick runs in the bottom half to take back the lead for good. Highlighting that frame was Longoria, who smashed a two-run homer to deep left field.

On deck: Clay Buchholz, who is coming off his best start since firing his 2007 no-hitter, will be taking the bump in the series finale at the Trop. Buchholz went 8 1/3 innings and allowed just one run on three hits while striking out nine in Boston?s 3-2 win over the Jays on Aug. 29 at Fenway. By far his finest performance of the season, the righty?s nine strikeouts tied a career high as he picked up his third win of the season and improved his career record at Fenway Park to 5-3.

Buchholz is 1-1 in two career starts against the Rays and was a tough-luck loser in his only career appearance at the Trop. In April of 2008 he went eight innings and allowed two runs on three hits while striking out nine in a 2-1 loss in St. Petersburg.

Squaring off against Buchholz and the Sox will be David Price, who picked up his first career road win in his last start ? a one-run, five-hit performance over 7 1/3 innings in Detroit. Price is 7-6 with a 4.63 ERA in his first season as a starter and won his only career start against the Sox. The lefty is 6-2 at home this season where he has allowed just four homers in 51 2/3 frames.

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