With one balk from starter Clay Buchholz and two more from reliever Franklin Morales, the pitching staff experienced a string of unorthodox sequences against the Rays in Wednesday's 2-1 loss.
Buchholz' miscue in the second proved to be costly. Shortly after walking Will Rhymes, the right-hander was charged with a balk in an at-bat against Jose Molina, allowing Carlos Pena to score.
"The balk in my head — I was going to go third and first," Buchholz told reporters in St. Petersburg. "I got caught.
Then came Morales, who has been a staple of success on the road for the Red Sox this season. Upon entering for Matt Albers in the seventh, Morales balked when facing his first batter of the game.
An inning later, Morales repeated the same mistake. Before plunking Rhymes in the eighth, he stepped off the bag for a balk and allowed Rich Thompson to move to third base. Fortunately for Morales, Scott Atchison entered and prevented further damage.
With three balks in the game, the Red Sox became the first American League team to tally that total in one contest since April 23, 1994, when the Blue Jays' pitching staff amassed three blunders.
After Wednesday's game, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine couldn't offer any answers to describe the pattern.
"I have no idea," Valentine said. "I've never seen [it]. I don't know what to make of it."
It marks league-high six balks for the Red Sox this season.
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