John Lackey pitched a gem for his ball club, but reminiscent of 2013, he received no run support. Both teams were able to get a man in scoring position in the first inning, but could not capitalize on their early opportunities.
The Sox had little success against Rays starter Chris Archer, but managed to drive up his pitch count early on. Through the first 3 at bats, Red Sox hitters made Archer throw 66 pitches, an average of 22 offerings an inning. The high pitch count did not phase the young righty, as he settled in and mowed down opposing hitters.
After Pedroia walked in the 3rd, Archer set down 11 of the next 14 men to face him through the 6th inning, striking out seven. Archer’s slider was exceptional from the beginning, and that pitch combined with a mid-90’s fastball overpowered the Sox lineup over six innings.
Overall, Archer shut out his opponent on four hits, walked four and struck out 11. Walks have been an issue of late for Archer, as he came into tonight’s game with 15 free passes in his last 20.1 innings pitched.
John Lackey matched Archer’s success, though he shut down the Rays in a more economical fashion. Lackey wiggled out of a 1st inning jam, then retired 13 of the next 14 before an Evan Longoria single with one out in the 6th.
Lackey went out for the 8th with 102 pitches under his belt still working on the shutout. David DeJesus lead off the inning and battled Lackey for a leadoff single, the end of the road for big John. Lackey was visibly upset, letting out a few choice words as Farrell walked out to the mound. Hard to fault a guy for being such a fierce competitor.
The Sox starter left the game after 7 shutout innings, giving up 5 hits, walked one, and struck out three. This marks the first quality start for a Sox pitcher since Jon Lester last Friday against Detroit. The last Boston starter to shut out a team was also Jon Lester, back on May 3 in his gem against the Oakland Athletics.
A.J. Pierzynski’s leadoff single in the 9th gave the Sox a great chance to push across the first run of the contest, though a hard bunt by Shane Victorino quickly erased the backstop as Longoria threw on to second to get the lead runner. Yet another opportunity passes with nothing to show for it.
Speaking of opportunities, the Sox went 0-5 with runners in scoring position tonight, and left 9 men on base. Execution with RISP remains an issue for the 2014 Red Sox. Unfortunately for , Tampa made the most of their chance in the home 9th.
In the bottom of the ninth, Desmond Jennings worked a one out walk facing Andrew Miller. Farrell handed the ball over to Burke Badenhop, and Rays manager Joe Maddon went to the bench for a pinch-hitter in 26 year old rookie Cole Figueroa.
During the at-bat Desmond Jennings stole second, a key to the walk-off victory. Cole Figueroa sent the Rays fans home happy with a soft liner to right center, scoring Jennings for the only run of the game. The Rays have won their last two in walk-off fashion, as Sean Rodriguez hit a 3-run homer to beat the A's yesterday.
Boston will try to end the losing streak once again as Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.33) gets the start tomorrow at 4:05, while the Rays counter with their ace David Price (4-4, 4.28) in game two.
News & Notes
Hobbling Hawaiian-In the 9th, Shane Victorino came out of the game limping after busting it down the line. It looked as though he re-aggravated that hamstring that sent him to the DL.
Just How He Drew it up- Stephen Drew started his tune-up tonight with Class A Greenville in South Carolina, going 1-2 at the plate and played 5 innings at shortstop. The earliest return for Drew, required to spend 10 days in the minors, would be June 2 against the Cleveland Indians.
Wilson Makes the Team- Right handed reliever Alex Wilson is with the team after being called up from AAA Pawtucket, with Drew sent down to the minors. The 27 year old owns an impressive 1.42 era in 19 innings with the Paw Sox this season. Walks are an issue however, as he’s walked 12 in those 19 innings.
Workman Scratched- Brandon Workman was penciled in to start tonight for the Paw Sox, but was scratched before the game. The Red Sox have not announced a starter for Sunday, so it’s possible Wilson could be sent back down in favor of Workman to make a start.