When a Major League ace is on his game, you’re bound to pay the price and the Sox lost 5-1 to David Price [5-5] and the red hot Rays [18-3] could take over first place in the AL East by winning the rubber match at Fenway tomorrow.
Price dominated the Sox with a complete game effort; he threw only 97 pitches, 72 of them strikes, and allowed just five hits.
Felix Doubront [7-4] provided a quality start allowing 3 runs in 6 2/3 innings on 6 hits, 5Ks/2Ws.
In a game that will decide First place in the AL East, the Sox will send RHP John Lackey [7-7, 2.95] against RHP Jeremy Hellickson [9-3, 4.62]. A Sox win would stretch their lead to 1 ½ games; a Tampa win would allow the Rays to take over the lead by ½ game over the Sox.
Until the 5-2 loss to the Yankees on Saturday, Lackey had six-game streak of lasting at least seven innings and giving up no more than two runs; he still managed a quality start, allowing just four runs over 6 1/3 innings; he had 7 Ks and did not walk a Yank.
Lackey has logged 133.1 innings against the Rays, winning 12 and losing 7 times with a cumulative ERA of 4.39 with 105 Ks. He has had the most trouble from:
Escobar .455, 11 ABs
Zobrist .400, 30 ABs
Longoria .280, 25 ABs
Scott .357, 14 ABs
Joyce .308, 13 ABs
Hellickson picked up his 9th win against the Jays, allowing 2 runs on five hits on Saturday.
In 67.1 innings he is 4-2 with a 4.14 ERA, 45 Ks in 12 career appearances against the Red Sox.
Two Sox had had success against Hellickson.
David Ortiz [.368, 19 ABs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs] and
|Jarrod Saltalamacchia||[.278||18ABs, 1 HR, 3 RBIs|
In tonight’s loss, the Rays scored all the runs they needed in the third inning and took a 3-0 lead.
After Yunel Escobar grounded out, Desmond Jennings singled and moved to second on a throwing error by Felix Doubront on the pickoff attempt.
Evan Longoria singled sending Desmond Jennings to 3rd.
Ben Zobrist got a sacrifice bunt single loading the bases for rookie Wil Myers who lofted a soft fly ball past Pedroia and in front of center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury.
Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria scored and Ben Zobrist moved to 2nd.
The Rays pulled off a double steal; Ben Zobrist stole (8) 3rd. Wil Myers stole (4) 2nd.
Luke Scott lifted a sacrifice fly to left fielder Jonny Gomes and Ben Zobrist scored.
The inning ended 3-0, when Sean Rodriguez was called out on strikes.
The Sox finally broke through for a run against Price in the 7th:
After David Ortiz grounded out, Mike Napoli, who had a ground rule double against Price in the 5th inning, smacked a shot over the wall between the light tower and the Triple-A sign for his 14th HR [RBI 63] and broke up the shutout.
SEE IT HERE: http://wapc.mlb.com/bos/play/?c_id=bos&content_id=29103513&topic_id=52448062
There was one potential Web Gem in the game on this DP; Escobar started the double play with an extraordinary behind-the-back flip with his glove hand right to Zobrist, who bare-handed the ball and buggy-whipped it to first to complete the double play.
Escobar recently set a team record with 53 straight games without an error.
SEE IT HERE: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1715556-rays-vs-red-sox-video-watch-yunel-escobars-sick-gloved-backhand-flip?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=mlb
In the 8th the Rays tacked on two superfluous “insurance” runs against Beato and Thornton.
After Ben Zobrist flew out, Wil Myers singled on a line drive that was deflected by shortstop Stephen Drew and landed in front of LF Gomes.
Matt Thornton replaced Pedro Beato and induced Luke Scott to ground into a force out of Myers at 2nd.
With Luke Scott on 1st, Sean Rodriguez singled to RF sending Scott to 2nd.
James Loney hit a sharp ground ball through the right side for a single to score Scott and Sean Rodriguez to 3rd.
Jose Molina singled a ground ball through short scoring Rodriguez.
Leading 5-1 Price gave the bullpen the night off by cruising through the 8th and 9th innings, setting the Sox down 1-2-3 twice.
BOX SCORE: http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_07_24_tbamlb_bosmlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=bos#gid=2013_07_24_tbamlb_bosmlb_1&mode=box
All 11 Rays’ hits were singles.
Mike Napoli had two of the Sox five hits against Price [a double and a HR]; Entering Wednesday’s game against the Rays, he had nine extra-base hits in July (four homers, four doubles and a triple), a .268 average and a .359 on base percentage.
Rays starter Jeremy Hellickson is 5-0, 2.19 in his last six starts. He has faced the Sox twice this season and allowed four earned runs over 13 innings. He is 4-2, 4.14 in 12 career appearances against the Sox. … Red Sox starter John Lackey has been terrific much of the season not not so hot against the Rays in two starts, giving up nine runs on 19 hits over 10 innings. He is 12-7, 4.39 in 21 career starts against the Rays. Lackey has suffered from a lack of run support. He has a 2.95 ERA but the Sox are 8-9 in games he has started. … The Sox are 10-5 against the Rays. After tonight, the teams have one series left this season.
GAME TIME TOMORROW 7:10 EST
Skip Lockwood will be in Autograph Alley at Yawkey Way starting one hour before the game through shortly before the first pitch.
• Clay Buchholz threw from 90 feet on Wednesday with increased intensity and felt good afterward, according to manager John Farrell. Buchholz estimated that he will return to the active roster in time to make four or five starts during the regular season. And although Farrell wouldn’t commit to a time estimate, he did call Buchholz’s most recent progress a move in the right direction.
• Farrell texted Andrew Bailey on Wednesday afternoon before the hurler underwent season-ending surgery. Asked if Bailey texted him back, Farrell joked, “Yeah, but it was under that first phase of anesthesia, and it wasn’t legible.”
• Because of an off-day on Monday, Farrell will probably push everyone in the rotation back one day, giving the whole staff an extra day of rest. [http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130724&content_id=54610918¬ebook_id=54611482&vkey=notebook_bos&c_id=bos]
Sox hitting .225 with a .617 OPS in the last eight games and averaging 2.87 runs. … The Rays have won seven of eight, 15 of 17 and 19 of 22. They have a 2.17 ERA in the last 22 games. … Mike Napoli is heating up, going 11 for 28 in his last eight games with seven extra-base hits and five RBIs. … Matt Thornton in six appearances for the Red Sox since being acquired from the White Sox: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K. Opponents are 6 for 16 against him. … Jose Iglesias is 11 of his last 60 (.183) with 11 strikeouts. His batting average has dropped from .411 to .343 and his OPS from .990 to .819. …