Top 9th: Rays 6, Red Sox 4
Game over. The Red Sox were swept by the Rays in three games and are beginning to fall hard from the top of the AL East race, firmly now in third place. Tim Wakefield didn’t have it and the Sox offense could muster very little against David Price, who struck out 10 over 7-2/3 innings and earned his 12th win. Mike Cameron had three hits and a homer, David Ortiz also knocked in Boston’s first two runs. The Sox looked shabby in the field with two errors, two wild pitches and a passed ball. Daniel Nava tripled in the ninth as B.J. Upton made an ill-advised diving attempt at the liner. He scored on Cameron’s sac fly to right. Pinch-hitter J.D. Drew stroked a single to left which prompted TB manager Joe Maddon to opt for starter Matt Garza, who pitched the first game of this series. Garza retired Marco Scutaro, but Darnell McDonald stroked an RBI double (third hit) on his 12th pitch against Garza to pull the Sox to within two runs. Kevin Youkilis lined out hard to center to end the game. Garza got the save. There were 24,356 fans on hand to watch.
Bottom 8th: Rays 6, Red Sox 2
The Sox couldn’t take advantage of a Beltre double with two outs, as pinch-hitter Eric Patterson struck out. David Price went 7-2/3 innings, 8 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 10 strikeouts. Jonathan Papelbon pitched the seventh to get some work and Robert Manuel is on in the 8th.
Top 7th: Rays 6, Red Sox 2
Mike Cameron has three hits including a homer here in the 7th. I think I’ve heard 40 times tonight, “Cameron could have done that last night.” Referring of course to Cameron entering the game in the 9th as a pinch-runner, not a pinch-hitter with Niuman Romero due up.
Bottom 6th: Rays 6, Red Sox 1
Wakefield lasted 5-2/3 innings allowing 4 hits, 6 runs, 6 walks and struck out 3. He threw 112 pitches (59 strikes). He walked Zobrist with two outs and Terry Francona came out and replaced him with Dustin Richardson with Carl Crawford due up. Zobrist stole second (No. 16) and Crawford waited out a 12-pitch at-bat and concluded with an RBI single. Richardson exited and left Ramon Ramirez to deal with Longoria, who popped to second base after a wild pitch.
Top 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 1
David Ortiz’ opposite-field double has scored Darnell McDonald with the first Sox run. McDonald singled to center to open the inning, his second hit. After the little burst at the start of the inning, the Sox went back to sleep offensively with Youkilis (fouled out), Beltre (strike out) and Hall (ground out to shortstop) stranding Ortiz at second base. To review: the Sox have committed three errors (well OK, now it’s two after a scoring change) by all the infielder’s except Kevin Youkilis. Adrian Beltre and Marco Scutaro have now combined for 25 errors on the left side of Boston’s infield. Beltre has also struck out three times, in each of his first three at-bats. Here’s an amazing revelation after the inning: the official scorer has changed Scutaro’s error to a basehit. This folks, was a ground ball to shortstop. How can that be a hit?
Bottom 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 0
Sox look tired. Certainly sloppy. The Rays scored three off Wakefield, who walked the first two batters (Shoppach and Zobrist) and then it got ugly from there. A passed ball by Kevin Cash, who made an uncharacteristically lazy play by not getting his body in front and trying to pick the low pitch with his backhand. That scored a run. A Carlos Pena RBI single and then a dropped throw by Billy Hall at second on a feed from Marco Scutaro on Sean Rodriguez’ grounder, allowed the third run to come home. Ugly.
Top 5th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
For the Red Sox to have put two runners on base with two outs was a slight crack in David Price’s armor. Price, 11-4, had really been dealing – seven strikeouts over the first four innings., The Sox did manage singles in the first and third (McDonald and Cameron), but Price has been in command. Scutaro ended the threat in the fifth with a flyball out to right field amid ringing, annoying cowbells here at Tropicana, which is again void of a lot of fans.
Bottom 4th: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Evan Longoria has given the Rays a lead in what had been a an interesting pitchers duel. Longoria struck for a homer, his 13th, off the “D” ring on a 2-2 pitch. The Sox had problems with their defense in this inning, particularly Marco Scutaro, who allowed B.J, Upton to reach on an error which allowed the second run to come home. Scutaro also couldn’t complete a 3-6-3 double-play on Reid Brignac’s grounder when his throw pulled Kevin Youkilis off the bag. The Rays also had a stolen base and had runners advance on a wild pitch by Wakefield. It should also be noted that Wakefield picked Brignac off first to end the inning.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Both teams had a base-runner reach in the first frame – the Rays on an Adrian Beltre error and the Red Sox on Darnell McDonald’s single. But neither amounted to anything. We’ve got David Price, one of the best young pitchers in the game, against Tim Wakefield, one of the best older pitches in the game.