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Red Sox Miss Opportunities, Drop Nightcap, 6-5, Get Swept by Rays


The Red Sox were swept by the Rays in Thursday’s doubleheader, dropping the night cap, 6-5, at Fenway Park. It was the first time the Sox were swept in a doubleheader since April 21, 2013, against the Royals and the first time in the Rays’ history they swept a doubleheader at Fenway.

After dropping the first game of the Thursday’s weather-induced doubleheader, there was little the Red Sox could do through the first four innings with Rays Game 2 starter Chris Archer. The right-hander allowed just one hit, a Shane Victorino first-inning double, along with two walks through the first four frames.

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Meanwhile, the Rays got a run in the second and another in the third off left-hander Felix Doubront. Sean Rodriguez hit a one-out double in the second scoring on James Loney’s single. Desmond Jenning’s solo home run in the third gave the Rays a 2-0 lead.

But the Sox jumped all Archer for five runs in the fifth, all with two outs, sending 10 batters to the plate, forcing the right-hander to throw 32 pitches in the inning.

Xander Bogaerts led off with a walk, followed by a one-out walk to Will Middlebrooks. A wild pitch to Jackie Bradley moved the runners up, with Bradley eventually walking. After Dustin Pedroia flied out, Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch, forcing in Bogaerts. David Ortiz doubled, scoring Middlebrooks and Bradley. Mike Napoli singled, scoring Victorino, and Grady Sizemore singled, scoring Ortiz. Bogaerts got up for the second time in the inning, but Sizemore was picked off first, ending the inning, with the Sox leading 5-2.

Doubront gave back two runs in the sixth, when Evan Longoria reached on an error by Middlebrooks, his infield pop-up dropping as Longoria went to second. With one out, Rodriguez launched a blast into the left field light tower, pulling the Rays to within a run, 5-4.

The Rays tied the game with two outs in the eighth off Tazawa when Rodriguez doubled, scoring on Loney’s single.

Koji Uehara came into the game in the ninth, giving up lead-off home run to Yunel Escobar on his second pitch. Escobar had been 0-for-11 in his career against Uehara up to that point.

The Sox threatened against Rays closer Grant Balfour in the ninth, as Victorino led off with a double, moving to third on Ortiz’s groundout. Napoli struck out looking before Sizemore walked, putting runners at the corners. But Bogaerts struck out looking to end the game.

Uehara took the loss, falling to 0-1 with a 1.69 ERA. Jake McGee got the win (2-0, 2.03), pitching a scoreless eighth. Balfour earned his second save of the day, his sixth of the season.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:
• The Sox scored five runs in the fifth inning, as they batted around for the third time this season, all in the last five games.
• Will Middlebrooks went 0-for-1 with a run scored and three walks, a new career high. He had multiple walks in a game just twice before, the most recent on Aug. 19, 2013, at San Francisco, when he had two intentional walks.
• Doubront rebounded from a shaky performance in his last outing to go six innings, giving up four runs, three earned, on five hits, and a walk with five strikeouts for his third quality start.

THE LOWLIGHTS:
• Middlebrooks and Bogaerts misplayed Longoria’s lead-off pop-up in the sixth into a two-base error and a eventually an unearned run.
• Sizemore ended the fourth and fifth innings running into outs on the bases with Bogaerts at bat.
• Bogaerts went 1-for-4 with a walk, a run scored, and three strikeouts, including one looking to end the game.
• Despite the quality start, Doubront also had a wild pitch and gave up two home runs.
• Uehara took the loss, his first in the regular season since Sept. 17, 2013, against the Orioles. The ninth-inning home run he gave up to Escobar was just his fourth allowed at Fenway since joining the Sox, and first since giving up a homer to Jose Bautista on June 30, 2013.

THE STARS:
• Escobar gave the Rays the win with his ninth-inning home run, his second of the season. It was the third go-ahead home run in the ninth inning or later in his career and first since April 5, 2011, against the A;s while with the Blue Jays.
• Rodriguez went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, two RBI, a home run, and two doubles. He tied a career high in hits. Rodriguez entered the game with just five hits this season.
• Burke Badenhop pitched in both games, going 1 1/3 scoreless innings, giving up a hit with two strikeouts.

WHAT’S HAPPENING
:
It was a day of missed opportunities for the Red Sox. They were 3-for-12 with runners in scoring position in the night cap, 4-for-22 overall. The left 10 runners on base in the second game, 21 total. The Sox were 0-for-4 with less than two outs and runners on third.

AROUND THE BASES:
• Napoli extended his career-high on-base streak to 24 games, going 1-for-4 with a walk. It is the longest on-base streak by a Sox batter since Jose Iglesias reached in 27 straight games last season.
• Shane Victorino went 2-for-4 with two doubles. Five of his eight hits this season have been for extra bases, all doubles. He was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning, driving in a run. It was the first time this season he was hit by a pitch after leading the Sox with 18 last season.
• Ortiz’s go-ahead two-run single in the fifth with the bases loaded was his 913th career hit at Fenway Park, tying him with Dom DiMaggio for seventh on the all-time list. Since the start of 2013 he is batting .571, going 8-for-14, with 18 RBI with the bases loaded.
• Sizemore is batting .409, going 9-for-22 when batting fifth in the lineup, with seven of his eight RBI coming in that spot.
• Left-hander Drake Britton, called up for the second game of the doubleheader, did not get into the game and will return to Pawtucket.

UP NEXT:
The Red Sox host the Athletics for three games beginning Friday night. Clay Buchholz (1-2, 6.66) is scheduled to start, opposed by right-hander Dan Straily (1-1, 5.14).

Buchholz is 2-2 with a 7.90 ERA, giving up 24 earned runs over 27 1/3 innings in six career starts against the A’s. It is his highest ERA against any AL team. He has pitched fewer than five innings in three of those six starts. He last faced the A;s on April 30, 2012, earning the win despite allowing six runs on seven hits and five walks.

In his last outing April 26 at Toronto, he started off shaky, giving up three runs in the first inning, before settling down while the Sox offense got going against the struggling Brandon Morrow. Buchholz earned the win, going seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks with three strikeouts and a wild pitch.

Straily bounced back from a couple of rough outings to beat the Astros on Saturday, going 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The A’s are coming off a three-game sweep in Texas, scoring a combined 25 runs. Oakland’s pitching staff has a combined 2.85 ERA, best in the American League.

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