May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Tampa Bay Rays catcher Jose Molina (left) tags Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia (15) at home plate during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox lose challenge and game 2-1


May 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; MLB umpire Dale Scott (5) reviews a play between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays during the seventh inning at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox 2-1 despite only four hits and halted any Boston attempt to reach the .500 mark. Tampa produced the eventual winning run on a walk in the fourth inning and Boston missed an opportunity to tie the game with a dismissed challenge in the seventh.

Tampa started Cesar Ramos (1-1, 3.38) and Boston countered with Jake Peavy (1-0, 2.87), who eventually took the loss to even his 2014 record at 1-1.

The contest, delayed from the previous evening, did elicit a bit of pregame controversy as Tampa claimed the rescheduled twin bill was unnecessary. Player representative Ben Zobrist checked with the union hierarchy and was informed the Red Sox could proceed as scheduled.

Tampa, riddled with pitching injuries, has been less than an offensive juggernaut on the road with a woeful 33 runs scored and a .209 average entering the afternoon game and it certainly showed as Tampa’s offense consisted of a home run and a run-producing walk.

It was Dustin Pedroia bobble-head day and Pedroia (2-4) opened up the Boston first with a ten pitch at-bat that resulted in a walk. With two outs, Mike Napoli drew a walk and Jonny Gomes promptly brought Pedroia home with a single to center producing the lone Boston run for the game. Will Middlebrooks ended a bases loaded opportunity with a pop fly to right field.

In the top of the third, Tampa broke through with a home run by designated hitter David DeJesus to tie it up 1-1. That represented the only blemish against Peavy through his first three frames.

Desmond Jennings opened the fourth with a double and advanced to third on a Matt Joyce ground out. After an Evan Longoria strikeout, Peavy issued back to back to back walks to James Loney, Wil Myers and DeJesus, thus giving Tampa a 2-1 lead. Yunel Escobar fly out to center to end that jam. That finished the scoring for the day.

In the fifth Ramos was finally pulled after his walks matched his strikeouts at six. Ramos managed to go 4.2 innings after recovering from a dismal 35 pitch first frame.

In the seventh Peavy (6.1, 2R, 3H, 5BB, 4K) was removed after a walk to Escobar and replaced with Chris Capuano. Capuano immediately got into the spirit of the contest by issuing a walk to Jose Molina. That was the twelfth walk of the game. A double play erased the Rays threat.

Boston’s chance at a tie came in the bottom half of the inning as Pedroia singled and David Ortiz, narrowly missing a home run, doubled, which resulted in Pedroia being nabbed at home, being called out by first base umpire Toby Basner. After a challenge the play stood and Napoli then whiffed against Jake McGee to end that opportunity.

The challenge question was: did Pedroia’s foot touch home plate? Pedroia clearly beat the throw and evidence was inconclusive, unless, like me, you are a Red Sox fan. Brian Butterfield also received a quick exit over his vociferous complaints to the umpiring staff.

Brandon Gomes, who relieved Ramos in the fifth, pitched 1.1 innings to get the victory and move his record to 2-1. Grant Balfour pitched the ninth to get his fifth save of the season and Joel Peralta set him up with a one walk eighth.

The second game of the twin bill will feature Chris Archer (2-1, 4.11) matched against Boston’s Felix Doubront (1-3, 6.00).

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