The Tampa Bay Rays (78-65) were shut out 2-o in their opening game of the their three game series against the Boston Red Sox (88-58). Clay Buchholz returned to the mound for the first time since June 8th and improved to 10-0 and lowered his ERA to 1.61. Koji Uehara worked the final 1.1 innings to earn his 19th save. The Rays are now 5-11 in games played after an off day.
The Rays fall to 8.5 games behind the Red Sox in the race for the AL East. They opened the evening with a 1.5 game lead on the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians. Neither team will gain any ground as the Orioles lost their game 7-5 to the New York Yankees and the Indians fell to the Royals 6-3.
David Price (8-8, 3.45 ERA) was the hard luck loser as the offense could not generate any run support to back him. He delivered a career high 127 pitches in 8 innings of work only allowing only 2R/ER on 3 hits striking out 9 and walking none. Since coming off the disabled list he has walked just 8 of 394 batters.
The Red Sox pushed across their two runs in the top of the 5th in an inning marred by two sloppy defensive plays by center fielder Desmond Jennings. Mike Napoli led off the fifth inning with a fly ball to deep center which Jennings appeared to have the ball in his sights but made contact with the wall and was unable to secure the catch as Napoli pulled into 2nd base with a double.
Jonny Gomes followed with a single to center field to score Napoli and he advanced to second when Jennings throw to the plate missed the cut off man and drifted up the 3rd base line. Daniel Nava moved Gomes to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt and he came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Jarrod Saltalamacchia to give the Red Sox the early 2-0 lead.
Clay Buchholz (9-0, 1.71 ERA) making his first start since June 8th shut the Rays out for 5 innings allowing just 3 hits striking out 6 and walking 1. He made 74 pitches with 44 landing for strikes. He departed the game with the Red Sox leading 2-0.
Craig Breslow came in to work the 6th inning a nd allowed a lead off walk to Yunel Escobar. The lead off walk did not harm him as Escobar was erased on a fielders choice by Wil Myeyrs for the first out of the inning. Ben Zobrist then bounced to Dustin Pedroia who tagged out Myers and threw over to first to complete the double play.
The Red Sox added an important insurance run in the 8th inning. Daniel Nava led off with a single, moved into scoring position on a 1-out wild pitch, and advanced to third on a second wild pitch. Both wild pitches came during a tough 12 pitch at-bat against Wil Middlebrooks who finally grounded out to a drawn in infield which temporarily kept Nava at 3rd.
Junichi Tazawa came in to work the 8th inning and gave up a 2-out double to Yunel Escobar and with Wil Myers representing the tying run Koje Uehara was summoned from the bullpen. Uehara entered the game having retired the previous 27 hitters he faced and that streak increased by one as Wil Myers popped out to first to end the inning.
Joel Peralta came in to work the top of the 9th and allowed a lead off single to Dustin Pedroia. He came back to retire Shane Victorino and David Ortiz on fly outs to right. With 2-outs in the inning Pedroia stole second and Mike Napoli walked but Jonny Gomes flew out to center to end the inning.
Uehara remained in the game to face the heart of the Rays order. He retired Ben Zobrist on a ground out to 2nd, Evan Longoria struck out, and Matt Joyce struck out to end the game. Uehara has now retired the last 31 hitters he’s faced.
The Rays will play the middle game of their three game series tomorrow evening at 7:10 p.m. Alex Cobb (8-3, 2.99 ERA) will take the mound for the Rays and will be opposed by Ryan Dempster (8-9, 4.79 ERA).