An important nine game road trip for the Red Sox got off to a shaky start as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated Boston 5-3 in the first of three at what I call the mausoleum, Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field.
David Ortiz got the Red Sox off on the right foot four batters into the game as he launched a mammoth three-run homer off Rays starter Matt Moore, who came into the game 6-0, to quickly put the Sox up 3-0.
John Lackey started this one for the Red Sox and, after a clean first two innings he got into a bases loaded jam in the third. But he got out of it unscathed as he got Desmond Jennings and Ben Zobrist to ground out around two hits and a walk in the inning.
But Lackey could not escape the disaster that was the fourth inning. After three straight hits to start the inning, Lackey ended up giving up five runs total as Luke Scott had an RBI double followed by a Jose Molina two-run single. What followed represents the abomination that is Tropicana Field.
With two out in the inning Lackey seemingly got out of it with only the three runs by popping up Matt Joyce. One problem though: the ball was hit so high it hit the catwalk overhead and dropped to the field between an annoyed Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia. That’s a fair ball by the ridiculous stadium ground rules in Tampa so two additional runs scored for a five run inning and a 5-3 Rays lead.
From there, Moore mowed down the Sox after the first inning trouble and showed why he and Clay Buchholz have been the top two pitchers in the AL so far this season.
Moore worked the first six giving up just the three runs on three hits with two walks and eight strikeouts on 100 pitches as he improved to 7-0. The Rays pen finished up with a spotless three innings of work as the Sox bats again went quietly after the first inning outburst. If they’re going to start winning some games they have to start getting some hits. One hit after the first inning isn’t going to cut it.
Lackey (1-4) did not have a good start as he only lasted 4.1 innings with the following line: 9H, 5ER, 1BB and 3K as his ERA rose from 2.82 to 4.05.