David Wells retired the first nine Rays, then Tampa batted around in the fourth: five singles, an error and a walk -- and four runs. Wells ended up going six, allowing eight hits and five runs, although only one was earned.
After six innings, Boston trailed 5-1. Coco Crisp's double scored Wily Mo Pena in the seventh and after David Ortiz laid down a perfect bunt single to start the eighth, Manny Ramirez drilled a two-run homer to center, bringing the Sox to within one run. Manny now has a career-best 21-game hitting streak.
After the HR, Jon Switzer got two quick outs, but walked both Pena and Gabe Kapler. With the tying run on second, Alex Gonzalez grounded weakly to second. But those walks meant that Ortiz would have his cuts in the ninth.
Craig Hansen pitched the bottom of the eighth and, unwisely throwing more sliders than fastballs, couldn't hold the line. With one out, Greg Norton singled, BJ Upton walked, and they both scored on Josh Paul's double to deep right (Kapler was very shallow and the ball way sailed over his head). Paul took third on the throw home and came across on a sac fly. Hansen's ERA soared from 4.56 to 5.47 -- and Tampa led 8-4.
The Red Sox rallied against Brian Meadows in the ninth, but they were in too deep of a hole. After Crisp grounded to second, Mark Loretta doubled to left and Ortiz singled to deep right (8-5). Ramirez smacked a hard single up the middle and Youkilis walked to load the bases (both ball 2 and ball 4 were so borderline, I'm amazed that Yook took them and more amazed the umpire didn't ring him up (since they had been strikes for Cy Fossum earlier in the game)). (Also in that at-bat, Yook ripped the 5th pitch down the left field line -- it landed two inches -- literally, two f'n inches -- foul. If it lands fair, the score is 8-6 and the Sox have runners at second and third.)
But it was one out, bases loaded and Javy Lopez with the bat. He was 0-for-4 and had not hit the ball out of the infield. A fly ball was probably our best hope; a strikeout would not have been a disaster. It would give Pena a shot. ... But Lopez hacked at the first pitch and grounded into an pathetically easy 6-4-3 double play. (In his five AB, he saw 12 pitches.)
The fact that Francona is batting Lopez (and Mirabelli a few days ago) ahead of Pena was a goddamn disgrace. Pena must hit 5th behind Manny every single goddamn day. Must. Today, with Youkilis hitting 5th, Pena should have been 6th.
The Sox's 5-9 hitters went 1-for-19, while Tampa's 6-9 hitters went 7-for-13. Dave Hollins, Greg Norton, and Josh Paul -- immortals all -- each had three hits.
It's nights like this -- against shit teams like Tampa -- that we'll look back on with rage if the Red Sox miss the playoffs by a game or two. ... From the SoSH Game Thread:
Any word on why the Orioles released Javy Lopez?fox13weather:
just back from the game. ... Freeking Javy Lopez, Meadows is STRUGGLING and he hacks away at the 1st pitch. ... Of course, if the MFY had signed him he would have hit a granny in that spot.Jason Johnson gets the ball tomorrow afternoon.
David Wells (11.08) / Casey Fossum (4.89), 7: 15 PM
I wonder which game in history featured the biggest weight differential between starting pitchers?
Wells allowed eight runs and eight hits in 4.2 innings against Cleveland. Here's hoping he's a little more consistent with his location. I have this strange, vaguely irrational, belief that Wells can help in August and September.
Fossum tied his career high with 10 strikeouts against Detroit on Monday, while allowing only one run in seven innings.
Manny Ramirez will try to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 21 games.
Musical Catchers: According to Pawtucket's media notes, Corky Miller is on his way to Tampa, Alberto Concepcion was promoted from Portland to Pawtucket and Mike Leonard was promoted from Greenville to Portland.