After the final out was made in the top of the first inning, it looked like the Red Sox were finally breaking out of their losing slump, having erupted for five runs in the first frame alone.
That inning turned out to be an aberration rather than a sign of things to come, as the Red Sox offense sputtered through the rest of the game, never able to put anything together, as they totaled just one baserunner from the second through the seventh – a walk to Jonny Gomes in the third.
David Price settled down well after the first, retiring 20 of 22 after A.J. Pierzynski’s three-run homer. He struck out Brock Holt with his 100th pitch to end the top of the seventh, an impressive 70 of them for strikes.
Price came back out for the top of the eighth, and the Red Sox got their first hit since the first inning as Xander Bogaerts blooped a single into right field. That was as far as he’d go, as Dustin Pedroia struck out and Mike Carp grounded into a double play to end the inning.
It took Price 34 pitches to get through the first inning. He threw a total of 81 to get through the next seven, averaging fewer than 12 pitches per inning, without having to throw more than 15 in any frame.
The Red Sox struck out 16 times in the game – all coming from the second inning onward. The Rays outhit the Red Sox 14-2 over the final 14 innings.
Even a pinch hitting appearance by David Ortiz in the bottom of the 10th was unable to spark the Sox offense, as Ortiz calmly grounded out to second base before Brock Holt flew out to end the first extra inning.
Only four different Red Sox recorded hits in the game: Holt (2), Bogaerts (2), Pierzynski, and David Ross. It’s going to take a lot more than that to produce some semblance of the team that won the World Series no more than seven months ago that is now in nothing short of a complete tailspin.