BOSTON — The Red Sox made a series of mistakes and paid a heavy price, losing a second straight time to the league-best Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

Unlike previous displays from the Rays, this one was solely on the Red Sox. Boston was sloppy defensively, charged with two errors, which marked their fourth of the series against Tampa Bay and left manager Alex Cora with just three words to sum up what’s transpired recently.

“It’s not good baseball,” Cora said following Boston’s 6-2 loss at Fenway Park. “… This game, you gotta be locked in on every play.”

Initally, Boston showed fight, tying the contest up at 1-1 in the third inning and issuing an instant response to Tampa Bay’s first scoring blow. But, it all slipped away from the Red Sox quickly, and only got uglier as the innings continued.

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“The difference between them and us, right now? Base-running, defense and throwing strikes,” Cora pointed out. “That was the game today. We saw it. … We gotta keep pushing these guys to be better. Right now, we’re one game over .500. Who we are, right? Tomorrow’s game 60 and it’s getting — I mean, not in the middle of the season, but you know what I mean. The way the season is going now, everybody’s picking it up and we have to pick it up.”

In the fourth and sixth innings, the Rays put together a pair of two-run rallies, which at base value don’t seem all too bad. However, it wasn’t how much run production Tampa Bay’s elite offense presented, rather how easy the Red Sox made it. Boston committed two game-costing errors, one by Masatka Yoshida and the other by Connor Wong, both leading to runs that would’ve never scored had the play been routinely fielded in the first place.

Wong’s miscue was especially problematic as Yandy Díaz’s grounder to the outfield turned into a Little League home run. His hit initially allowed Manuel Margot to score before Díaz rounded the bases thanks to Wong’s throw to second in an attempt to get the Rays infielder heading into the outfield with no one backing up the play.

“We make two good throws, we get him out at the plate,” Cora said. “And we didn’t do that.”

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Here are more notes from Sunday’s Red Sox-Rays game:

— The Red Sox have compiled seven total errors in their last six games played.

“We’re just giving good teams more outs,” Alex Verdugo said. “Especially when you give more errors out there. You can’t give these kind of teams four or five outs in an inning. They’re gonna capitalize and we’re seeing that right now. I think this is one of those things where we gotta clean it up on all facets.”

— Tanner Houck pitched four innings of work on the mound, charged with four earned runs, which made for the fourth time this month that he’s allowed four-plus runs in a start. Three occasions have resulted in losses for the Red Sox.

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“Definitely not my best outing with command-wise,” Houck said. “… Just gotta be better. So, all those things where, come back, work tomorrow, try and work out the kinks. Just continuing to go about it and just make a few small adjustments here and there and keep going.”

— The Red Sox lineup has totaled 11 hits in the last two games after recording 12 in the first game of Saturday’s double-header against the Rays.

— Yoshida plated home Boston’s first run with an RBI single in the third inning, giving the rookie his 29th of the season. That also gave Yoshida his 500th RBI between games played in Major League Baseball and Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan.

— Wong extended his career-high on-base streak to 11 straight games.

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— Boston and Tampa Bay meet for the series finale Monday. First pitch from Fenway Park is set for 4:05 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, following an hour of pregame coverage, live on NESN.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images