Some dude named Cole Figueroa was the hero on a night John Lackey and his ten-gallon hat should have saved the day. The Tampa Bay Rays refused to follow the script with a 1-0, walk-off victory over the Boston Red Sox last night at Tropicana Field.
Lackey and Chris Archer dueled to a stalemate — Lackey was tremendous, limiting the Rays to five hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out three. Archer had a very Archer-like performance, whiffing 11 Red Sox batters and walking four over six frames. There were just 11 hits allowed in the entire contest.
In the bottom of the ninth with one out, Burke Badenhop replaced Andrew Miller (1-3), who had just issued a free pass to Desmond Jennings. Rays manage Joe Maddon countered the move, sending Figueroa to the plate for Sean Rodriguez. Jennings nabbed second on a pitchout, and Figueroa lofted a double to center, scoring Jennings for the only run of the game for either team.
The hit made a winner of the Artist Formerly Known as Leo Nunez (1-0).
The loss was the eighth straight for the Red Sox, who at 20-27 have entered the AL East cellar.
Brock Holt had a double in the leadoff spot for the Sox, who were otherwise relatively quiet, leaving eight men on base. Other teammates with a hit included David Ortiz, A.J. Pierzynski, and the much maligned outfield duo of Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley.