Red Sox - 010 000 000 - 1 3 0 Rays - 010 000 001 - 2 6 1In the ninth inning of a tie game, Rays manager Kevin Cash called on his closer. Red Sox manager John Farrell did not. And Farrell's decision may have cost Boston the game.
After Tampa Bay's Brad Boxberger retired the Red Sox in order in the top of the ninth, Farrell brought in Anthony Varvaro, even though Koji Uehara had been warming up. (Farrell was likely saving Uehara - who had pitched just once in the last five days - for a save situation in extra innings.)
Varvaro allowed a single to leadoff hitter Allan Dykstra. Logan Forsythe flied out to right, but Kevin Kiermaier lined an opposite field single to left and Tampa Bay had the potential winning run (pinch-runner Tim Beckham) at second. That potential was realized when Rene Rivera, batting only .118, ripped a 1-2 pitch past Pablo Sandoval at third and into the left field corner to win the game.
Well, Koji will be well-rested for tomorrow night's game ...
A clean-shaven Clay Buchholz (6-2-1-3-10, 104) pitched very well, allowing both hits in the second inning. Evan Longoria began the inning with a ground-rule double. With one out, Buchholz plunked Dykstra and Forsythe singled home the run. With two men on, Buchholz came back to strike out Kiermaier and Rivera.
Boston had scored in the top of the inning when Sandoval doubled and scored on Daniel Nava's sacrifice fly to center.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, facing Jake Odorizzi (6.2-3-1-3-3, 93) Allen Craig singled and Xander Bogaerts walked. Cash went to his bullpen and Brandon Gomes faced pinch-hitter Hanley Ramirez. Gomes fell behind 3-0, battled back to a full count, and got Ramirez looking at strike three. Boston went quietly in the eighth and ninth innings.
The Red Sox went 1-for-23 with RATS in the series.
With the loss, Boston (9-7) is in a three-way tie for first place, with Toronto and New York.
Clay Buchholz / Jake Odorizzi
Betts, CFThrough the season's first 15 games, Boston's starting rotation has the worst ERA in MLB (5.71).
Red Sox Assistant GM Mike Hazen:
We believe in this rotation. We believe in this rotation now. We believe in it moving forward. What changes, what updates, what things we need to do as the season unfolds that's to be seen. These guys, for the most part, all have proven records over the course through their careers and moving forward. We think these guys are going to be pretty good. I know things haven't at least from a rotation standpoint got off on the right foot necessarily, but it's early in the season.