Perhaps the memory of the success Boston enjoyed last time against David Price will provide the Red Sox with the spark needed to avoid their longest losing streak in 13 seasons.
In danger of dropping nine in a row, the Red Sox try to keep the Tampa Bay Rays from matching a season high with their third consecutive victory Saturday. Boston (20-27) has totaled 16 runs, been shut out twice and batted .189 with runners in scoring position in its last eight games.
The reigning World Series champion last lost nine consecutive contests Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 2001.
“You can’t really point a finger at one person, one area,” John Lackey said after pitching seven strong innings in a 1-0 loss Friday. “We’ve had nights where everybody hasn’t played up to his capability. We just have to put a ballgame together and play better.”
The Red Sox managed five hits, stranded nine runners and struck out 11 times against Rays starter Chris Archer.
David Ortiz had one of those hits to snap an 0-for-17 slump. “(Saturday) we’re going to have to find a way to win a game,” catcher A.J. Pierzynski said.
Pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa’s ninth-inning RBI single in the gap gave Tampa Bay (21-28) its second straight walkoff victory following a four-game slide, during which it totaled four runs and was shut out twice.
“We’ve been struggling a little bit offensively, so all we can ask for is just to scrap a few runs out, just enough,” said Figueroa, 2 for 8 since making his major league debut last Friday.
Price (4-4, 4.28 ERA) is 10-6 with a 2.93 ERA in 20 career regular-season starts against the Red Sox, but he allowed seven runs and gave up a pair of solo homers to Ortiz in seven innings of a 7-4 loss in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS.
The left-hander posted a 2.57 ERA while going 1-1 in his first three starts this month, then gave up six runs and a season-high 11 hits, including two homers to Albert Pujols, over 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
Ortiz is batting .300 (6 for 20) with a double against Price over the past two regular seasons.
The Red Sox will hand the ball to Jake Peavy (1-2, 4.33), who allowed two runs and three hits but walked a season-high five in 6 1-3 innings of a 2-1 home loss to the Rays on May 1. He’s recorded a 7.71 ERA while going 0-1 in three starts since then, yielding 11 runs and 20 hits in 10 1-3 innings of the last two.
He gave up five runs and 11 hits in six innings of a 6-2 loss to Detroit on Sunday. Evan Longoria has three hits in his last nine at-bats with a home run and a triple against Peavy. He went 3 for 4 on Friday after going 4 for 34 with 12 strikeouts in his previous 10 games. Longoria is 7 for 11 in his last three regular-season contests against the Red Sox.