Red Sox - 000 000 000 - 0 5 0 Rays - 000 011 02x - 4 7 0Shields (9-5-0-3-5, 110; 2.60 ERA) pitched his third shutout and fourth complete game of the season. It was also the 12th time in his 14 starts that he pitched at least seven innings.
Shields's four CG are more than the totals of 22 MLB teams (including the Rays, who have one non-Shields CG); only three teams have pitched more complete games this year than Shields (Phillies 6, Rangers 5, Mariners 5). ... Shields's three complete-game shutouts are also more than the totals of the Red Sox, Royals, Blue Jays, Athletics, Yankees, Cleveland, and White Sox combined. ... Five teams -- Blue Jays, Yankees, Astros, Reds, and Cubs -- don't have three shutouts of any kind this season.
Jacoby Ellsbury walked to start the game and, with one out, Adrian Gonzalez (3-for-4) singled him to third. Kevin Youkilis (0-for-4, with 2 GIDP) struck out, but David Ortiz walked to load the bases. Carl Crawford, making his first plate appearance at the Trop since leaving the Rays and signing with the Red Sox, grounded out first-to-pitcher.
Ellsbury and Gonzalez singled in the third, but Yook GIDP to end the inning.
J.D. Drew singled to start the fifth, but Marco Scutaro flew out and Ellsbury GIDP.
Gonzalez singled with one out in the sixth, and Yook GIDP.
Scutaro walked with one out in the eighth, but was stranded there as Ellsbury flew out and Dustin Pedroia struck out on one of Shields's many devastating changeups in the dirt.
Wakefield (7-4-2-5-2, 119) allowed a home run to Justin Ruggiano in the fifth. Tampa scored another run in the sixth on two walks, a fielder's choice, and two passed balls. It was the most pitches Wakefield had thrown in a game in almost eight years (September 18, 2003, 119, also against the Rays).
Terry Francona's top priority in the eighth inning should have been keeping the Rays from adding to their 2-0 lead (since Boston had only one more inning to bat). Calling on Tommy Hottovy was not a wise move. Matt Joyce doubled, Evan Longoria was hit by a pitch, and Casey Kotchman singled (scoring Joyce). Alfredo Aceves took over and got out of trouble, but a single by John Jaso scored Kotchman.
Tim Wakefield/ James Shields
Very dangerous. This team is very dangerous right now. I have seen this before.The Red Sox are 6-0 on this road trip. They have begun a road trip 7-0 only twice since 1967.
1977: This was the memorable 9-0 west coast trip from July 29 to August 7. Boston beat California 6-5 (10), 3-0, 1-0; beat Seattle 3-2 (10), 12-4; and swept Oakland 3-1, 1-0, 2-1, 5-2).
2002: After taking four in Tampa Bay (May 3-6: 3-2, 7-5, 2-0, 5-3), the Red Sox flew out to Oakland and swept the A's (May 7-9: 9-7, 12-6, 5-1), giving them a 24-7 record and a five-game lead over New York. The Sox then lost their next two games, in Seattle.
In 1939, the Red Sox won the first 12 games of a 22-game (!) road trip (July 4-23); they finished with a 17-5 record.
Sidebar: In 1939, 144 of Boston's 152 games were played in under 2:35! ... From August 11, 1937 to September 30, 1939, 356 of the Red Sox's 358 games lasted less than 3:00! (The streak probably continued into 1940, but the times of many games in April are unknown.)
A SoSHer pointed out (in the thread linked above) that 51 of the 65 games this season have been part of winning or losing streaks of three games or more. It does look odd when you break the season up into winning and losing streaks:
LLLLLL W L W LLL WWW L WWWWW LL W LL WWW LLL WWW LL WWWWWWW L W L WWWWW LLLL WWWWWWWWW
Joe Maddon has arranged his starting pitching so the Red Sox -- who have won nine straight games and are 6-0 on their current road trip -- will face Shields, Jeremy Hellickson and David Price.
Tonight's game will be the Rays' third game in as many cities in three days. After playing in Seattle and Anaheim, the Rays played a weekend series in Baltimore. They travelled to Detroit for a make-up game on Monday and then flew home for the Red Sox series.
Johnny Damon, who reached base in his 38th consecutive game last night, setting a new club record:
This is what every major league team has to do. I don't think you'll ever be happy with certain road trips ... But it's been one of the more grueling ones that I've been a part of in all my years.AL East: Rangers/Yankees and Orioles/Blue Jays at 7 PM.