The Red Sox went 3-6 during their nine-game stretch at Fenway Park, capping the disappointing effort with a 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night.
Boston showed fight after falling behind in its series finale against Tampa Bay. But the Red Sox need to do more than “show fight” now that they’re sitting two games under .500 (13-15) and heading out on the road for a lengthy excursion.
GAME IN A WORD
Justin Masterson was all over the place with his pitches, essentially gift-wrapping a win for the Rays.
Amazingly, Masterson allowed just four runs despite his inability to find the strike zone. But ultimately, his wildness was too much for the Red Sox to overcome late.
IT WAS OVER WHEN…
Daniel Nava and Brock Holt turned over a pair of ground balls to first base with the bases loaded and the Red Sox trailing 4-3 in the eighth inning.
David Ortiz walked, Mike Napoli singled and Pablo Sandoval walked to pack the bags for Allen Craig. Red Sox manager John Farrell called upon Nava to pinch-hit for Craig against right-hander Kevin Jepsen, but the move did little to help Boston.
Nava, who has been struggling, hit a bouncer to first base that James Loney gobbled up and fired home for the inning’s second out. Holt did the same, with Loney taking it to the bag himself.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— Mookie Betts hit his third home run in two games in the eighth inning. He has five this season.
Betts, who drilled two solo homers into the Monster seats Tuesday night, ripped a 2-0 fastball from Jepsen over the left field wall Wednesday.
— Xander Bogaerts and Blake Swihart lined back-to-back doubles into the left-center field gap in the third inning to produce Boston’s first run.
Swihart’s double marked his first major league extra-base hit and his first RBI. Dustin Pedroia knocked in Swihart with a sacrifice fly.
— The Red Sox continue to struggle with men on base.
Boston went 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and left nine men on base.
ON THE BUMP
— Masterson’s stat line was messy. So, too, was his performance.
He surrendered seven hits (including a homer), issued six walks, plunked a batter and uncorked a wild pitch. He was charged with four runs because of the Rays’ inability to produce with men on base, but it was a sloppy effort, particularly after he escaped first- and second-inning jams via a pair of double plays.
Logan Forsythe followed a double and a walk with an RBI single in the third inning.
Evan Longoria homered in a fourth inning in which Masterson also gave up a double, walked two and threw 10 consecutive balls at one point.
Joey Butler lined a two-run single into right field in the fifth inning to give the Rays a 4-2 advantage and send Masterson to the showers.
Masterson threw 96 pitches over 4 1/3 innings, with just 49 being strikes.
— Edward Mujica deserves credit for keeping Boston in the game.
Mujica, who relieved Masterson in the fifth, struck out Asdrubal Cabrera and retired Brandon Guyer on a groundout to wiggle the Sox out of a first-and-third jam. He then made a heads-up defensive play in the sixth inning on a comebacker to cut down a runner at the plate and keep Boston’s deficit at two.
— Junichi Tazawa overcame a first-and-second, no-out situation in the seventh inning. Him and Tommy Layne combined for back-to-back walks to open the frame, but Taz pitched his way out of trouble.
— Robbie Ross Jr. pitched a clean eighth inning.
— Alexi Ogando surrendered a moon shot to Longoria in the ninth inning. Longoria, of course, connected on two home runs in the contest.
TWEET OF THE GAME
One of those nights for the Red Sox’s starter. Again.
You can hear the groans and the boos at Fenway as this inning and night completely slipped away from Masterson.—
Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) May 07, 2015
The Red Sox will regroup with an off day Thursday. They’ll then travel north of the border to face the Toronto Blue Jays for three games starting Friday.
Wade Miley is scheduled to face Aaron Sanchez in Friday night’s series opener at Rogers Centre.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images
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