Once again it was Price vs. Buchholz; once again the Price got the W, but this time the best LHP in the AL took it up a notch and Buchholz slipped a gear; he gave up a 3-run HR to Rays’ 2b Jeff Keppinger in the first frame and that was enough to hand the Sox their fifth loss in six games and 19th in the last 26 games.
Price got some unexpected fielding gems from the defensively-challenged Rays: a diving catch by left fielder Desmond Jennings in the ninth and a Molina toss out of Pedro Ciriaco, when he tried to steal third; the plays snuffed out a Sox rally. Price allowed seven hits, fanned 13 and walked none; he threw 112 pitches; 84 were strikes. He is one W shy of 20 with just 5 losses.
In 6 innings, Buchholz allowed eight hits, fanned 5 and walked 2; he threw 99 pitches; 61 were strikes. The L gave him 7 against 11 Ws.
The 5-2 win kept Tampa’s Wild Card [84-70] hopes with a heartbeat with Baltimore at 88-67 and the White Sox and Tigers at 82-72; in the AL West Oakland is 87-67 and the Angels are 85-69.
At 69-86 and seven games to play, the Sox are a half game out of the cellar and 21 games behind the Yankees; if they can run the table, the can still finish above 90 wins at 69-93; small comfort.
They will roll up the tarps and store them at Fenway, as the Sox play their home finale Wednesday; LHP Jon Lester (9-13) is scheduled to challenge Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb (9-9).