Rays - 000 030 000 - 3 8 0 Red Sox - 001 001 000 - 2 5 0Five straight Rays batters reached base in the fifth inning, marring Lester's (7-7-3-2-8, 109) night and giving Price (7.2-5-2-2-3, 116) and the Tampa pen enough of a lead to hold off the Red Sox. Boston, now 2-9, dropped into last place in the East, 5 GB the Orioles, who were rained out in New York.
With one out in the fifth and Boston up 1-0 (thanks to a Darnell McDonald solo shot), Lester surrendered singles to the bottom three hitters in the Rays lineup: Kelly Shoppach, Dan Johnson, and Elliot Johnson. Sam Fuld was safe on a fielder's choice (Adrian Gonzalez grabbed a dribbler on the first base line and threw home, but Shoppach was safe) and the game was tied. Johnny Damon singled to center and two more runs scored.
Boston got one run back in the sixth when Dustin Pedroia led off with a double and scored on Jed Lowrie's double (his second of the game) with outs. Mike Cameron grounded out to third to end the inning.
In the eighth, Pedroia walked with one out and Kevin Youkilis was hit by a pitch with two outs, but Lowrie flew out to left-center. Boston sent three pinch-hitters to the plate against Kyle Farnsworth in the ninth: Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew struck out, and David Ortiz flew out to right.
Dept. of Strange Small Sample Size Statements: Jerry Remy mentioned four-game hitting streaks three times in the first four innings. In the first inning, he said Damon had a four-game hitting streak coming into the game. In the third, Fuld singled and Remy announced that he now had a four-game hitting streak. When Youkilis singled in the fourth, Remy said, "Now a four-game hitting streak for Youkilis, it's starting to come together." ... In the first inning, Don Orsillo made a note of Pedroia's high batting average (.563) at Fenway Park this season. Pedroia and the Red Sox had played four games at home.
David Price / Jon Lester
Last week, we heard a lot of statements like "no 0-4 team has ever won a pennant" (and I posted many of them here)*, but shouldn't we be looking at games behind in the standings rather than a team's won-loss record?
* And Peter Abraham has some more today:
ACTA Sports sent ... examined the first 10 games played by all teams from 2002-10. There were 39 teams that went 0-3 [typo?] their first 10 games.
Of those 39 teams, only one team won 90 games (the 2002 Angels) and only two others (the 2006 Padres and the 2007 Phillies) made the playoffs.
Here's the good news: The 2002 Angels won 99 games and the World Series after a 3-7 start. They also had John Lackey.
The Red Sox (4.5 GB) are trying to win the AL East (or the wild card). So while 2-8 is a very bad won-loss record (32-130 over an entire season, which would be the worst record in AL history), it should be looked at in context of the division's other teams. Rather than asking how many 2-8 teams have made the playoffs in baseball history -- because teams from 1905 or 1952 or 2008 have nothing to do with the 2011 Red Sox, we should be asking:
Can the 2011 Red Sox play at least 5 games better than their rivals over the next 152 games?I say they can, especially when two of the three teams above them are the Orioles and Blue Jays.
Tonight: Orioles/Yankees (7 PM) and Blue Jays/Mariners (10 PM). Last night, the Mariners trailed 7-0 during the seventh-inning stretch, but rallied to win 8-7, thanks in part to three consecutive bases-loaded walks in the eighth.