Rafael Devers collects 3 hits, drives in winning run as Red Sox battle back for 4-3 win over Rays

The Red Sox battled back to earn a series-opening win over the Rays on Monday night. Boston defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-3 to put an end to a three-game losing streak and improve to 76-84 on the season.

Pending free-agent Rich Hill ended his season on a strong note. Making his 26th and final start of the year for the Sox, the veteran left-hander allowed three runs (one earned) on three hits and one walk to go along with six strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

All three of those Rays runs came by way of the long ball. After recording the first two outs of the first, Hill served up a solo shot to Wander Franco to get Tampa Bay on the board first. He proceeded to retire eight of the next nine batters he faced.

With two outs in the fourth, Hill got Harold Ramirez to hit a groundball in the direction of Rafael Devers at third base. Devers fielded the ball cleanly, but he made a poor throw to first base that forced Triston Casas off the bag. Ramirez reached safely as a result and former Boston farmhand Manuel Margot followed by cranking a two-run blast over the Green Monster off a first-pitch cutter from Hill.

Margot’s fourth homer of the season gave the Rays a 3-0 lead through four innings. Hill, for his part, settled back into a groove by sitting down seven of the last eight hitters he faced. The 42-year-old southpaw finished with 80 pitches (60 strikes) and induced 12 swings-and-misses. Though he did not factor into the decision, Hill brought his final ERA on the season down to 4.27.

Moments after Hill ended things in the top of the sixth, the Red Sox lineup finally got going in the bottom half of the inning. After being held in check by Rays starter Tyler Glasnow, Devers led off the sixth with a hard-hit double off Kevin Herget. Devers moved up to third base on a one-out single from Alex Verdugo. Both runners then scored when Christian Arroyo roped a two-run double down the left field line to cut the deficit to one.

Representing the possible tying run, Arroyo advanced to third on a Casas groundout and scored on an RBI double from Hernandez. The bats got back to work after John Schreiber took over for Hill out of the bullpen and faced the minimum in the top of the seventh.

To lead off the bottom half of the inning, Reese McGuire laced a ground-rule double down the right field line. McGuire moved up an additional 90 feet on a Tommy Pham groundout. Devers then came through with a sacrifice fly that was hit deep enough to left field to plate McGuire and give the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 4-3.

From there, Ryan Brasier made quick work of the Rays in the eighth before Matt Barnes avoided disaster in the ninth. After yielding a one-out triple to Franco, Barnes got Ramirez to hit a grounder towards Devers. Franco took off from third in an attempt to score the tying run, but he was instead caught in a rundown and tagged out by Yu Chang, who had come on as a defensive replacement.

Ramirez was able to advance to scoring position on the play, but Barnes got Margot to ground out to second to end it. Barnes was credited with his seventh save of the season while Schreiber picked up the win.

Offensively, Devers led the way by going 3-for-4 with his 42nd double of the year. Hernandez also went 2-for-4 with an RBI. As a team, the Red Sox went 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base.

Next up: Eovaldi vs. Springs

The Red Sox will look to secure a series victory on Tuesday by sending right-hander Nathan Eovaldi to the mound for the final time this season. The Rays will counter with an old friend in left-hander Jeffrey Springs.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Red Sox waste scoring chances, muster just 6 hits in 1-0 shutout loss to Rays

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay a final score of 1-0 at Tropicana Field to drop to 67-71 on the season.

Nick Pivetta was anything but crisp in his 28th start of the year for the Sox. While showing no ill effects from the left calf contusion he sustained in his last time out, the right-hander grinded through five innings in which he allowed one run on two hits, three walks, and three strikeouts.

After taking a no-hit bid into the fifth inning, Pivetta surrendered a leadoff double to Francisco Mejia. Mejia then advanced to third on a Ji-Man Choi groundout before Taylor Walls drove him in on a softly-hit infield single.

That would prove to be all the scoring the Rays would need. Pivetta, who threw 101 pitches (54 strikes), faced 20 batters on Wednesday; 12 of them worked the count full. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 11th loss of the season, though he did lower his ERA to 4.29.

In relief of Pivetta, John Schreiber, Matt Strahm, and Zack Kelly combined for three scoreless frames out of the bullpen to give the Red Sox one last chance going into the top half of the ninth.

To that point in the contest, a Boston lineup that did not feature Xander Bogaerts or Rafael Devers had already blown its fair share of scoring opportunities.

Enrique Hernandez, for instance, began the game with a leadoff double off Rays starter Jeffrey Springs. He was stranded at second base. Three innings later, Trevor Story reached base via a one-out single off Yonny Chirinos. He moved up to second after J.D. Martinez drew a six-pitch walk but was stranded there after Christian Arroyo and Rob Refsnyder both punched out.

In the fifth, back-to-back singles from Hernandez and Tommy Pham put runners at first and second with two outs for Alex Verdugo, who grounded out to shortstop. Arroyo reached scoring position with a two-out double in the sixth, but Refsnyder followed by striking out for a second time.

Boston’s best chance undoubtedly came in the eighth inning, when Pham singled and Verdugo drew a four-pitch walk to lead things off against Jason Adam. Pham moved up to third base when Story grounded into a fielder’s choice. Story then stole second base, putting the potential tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position.

With only one out in the inning, Adam battled back by getting Martinez to fly out and Arroyo to ground out to extinguish the threat. Pete Fairbanks then fanned two and worked his way around a Triston Casas walk in the ninth to seal a 1-0 defeat for the Red Sox.

All told, Boston went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position on Wednesday and left 10 men on base as a team. Hernandez and Pham accounted for four of their side’s six hits. Story and Arroyo were responsible for the other two.

Wednesday’s loss marks the first time the Red Sox have been shut out since May 30, when the Orioles blanked them, 10-0 at Fenway Park. So they went 87 straight games without getting shut out, which had been the longest active streak in Major League baseball.

The Red Sox are now 4-12 against the Rays and 18-39 against divisional opponents this season. They lost their final nine games at Tropicana Field after first beating Tampa Bay on their own turf on April 22.

Next up: On to Baltimore

The Red Sox will have an off day on Thursday as they travel to Baltimore ahead of a three-game weekend series against the Orioles. Rookie right-hander Brayan Bello is slated to start Friday’s series opener for Boston while fellow righty Austin Voth is lined up to do the same for Baltimore.

First pitch from Camden Yards on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Tommy Pham: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Triston Casas’ first career homer not enough as Red Sox drop second straight to Rays, 8-4

The Red Sox’ season-long struggles against the Rays continued on Tuesday night. Boston dropped its second straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 7-2 to fall to 67-70 on the season.

Rich Hill, making his 21st start of the year for the Sox, could not replicate the same kind of performance he enjoyed the last time he faced the Rays at Fenway Park. This time around, the veteran left-hander got rocked for five runs on nine hits, one walk, and three strikeouts over four innings of work.

Tampa Bay got to Hill before he could even record an out. Yandy Diaz led off the first inning with a hard-hit double and Manuel Margot followed with a line-drive single. With runners on the corners, Randy Arozarena clobbered a 419-foot home run to dead center field to give the Rays a 3-0 lead out of the gate.

Boston responded with two runs in the top of the second. After Rays opener J.T. Chargois yielded a two-out single to Christian Arroyo. That brought Triston Casas to the plate, and the top prospect came through by crushing the first home run of his big-league career.

On a 3-2, 95 mph four-seamer from Chargois that was up and in, Casas deposited a 371-foot two-run blast into the right field seats. The milestone homer left his bat at 96.7 mph.

Hill, meanwhile, ran into more trouble in the third inning as the Rays lineup turned over for the second time. Margot led off with a bunt single and then went from first to third on an Arozarena double. Harold Ramirez followed by plating both runners on a single to left field, though he was thrown out between first and second base. Hill gave up two more hits in the inning, but he did not allow either run to score. He then ended his night by retiring the side in order in the fourth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 64 (46 strikes), Hill managed to induce just eight swings-and-misses. The 42-year-old southpaw was charged with his sixth loss of the season while raising hie ERA to 4.79.

In relief of Hill, Eduard Bazardo received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from manager Alex Cora. The hard-throwing righty punched out a pair in a scoreless fifth inning, but served up back-to-back solo shots to Christian Bethancourt and Yu Chang in the sixth. Tyler Danish also surrendered an RBI double to Francisco Mejia in the seventh.

In the eighth, Reese McGuire drew a one-out walk off old friend Jalen Beeks. Moments after McGuire reached first base, Tommy Pham clubbed a 421-foot home run to left-center field. His fifth big fly in a Red Sox uniform had an exit velocity of 106 mph and cut the Rays’ lead to four runs.

Down to their final three outs in the ninth following a scoreless bottom of the eighth from Ryan Brasier, the Sox went down quietly against Jason Adam. Trevor Story struck out, Arroyo popped out into foul territory, and Casas fanned to seal an 8-4 defeat.

With the loss, the Red Sox are now 4-11 against the Rays this season and 18-38 against divisional opponents.

Bogaerts leaves early due to back spasms as multi-hit streak ends

Xander Bogaerts was pulled in the middle of the seventh inning with back spasms. He had grounded into a double play in the top of the sixth and appeared to be in some discomfort while running towards first base. Enrique Hernandez replaced Bogaerts at shortstop while Rob Refsnyder took over in center field.

Prior to being pulled, Bogaerts had gone 0-for-3 with a strikeout. So his nine-game multi-hit streak has come to an end. He will not play on Wednesday.

Next up: Pivetta vs. Springs in finale

The Red Sox will look to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Despite leaving his last start early because of a left calf contusion, right-hander Nick Pivetta will take the mound for Boston. On the other side, it will be left-hander Jeffrey Springs toeing the rubber for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Triston Casas: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Alex Verdugo homers and Michael Wacha deals, but Red Sox blow late lead in 4-3 loss to Rays

The Red Sox saw their five-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Rays on Monday night. Boston fell to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field by a final score of 4-3 to drop to 67-69 on the season.

Alex Verdugo got the Sox on the board right away in the first inning. With one out and the bases empty, Verdugo clubbed a 368-foot solo shot to right field off Rays starter Luis Patino for his ninth home run of the year. It left his bat at a blistering 106.5 mph.

Michael Wacha, making his 18th start of the year for Boston, gave that run right back in the latter half of the first. Former Red Sox prospect Manuel Margot led off with a line-drive single. He then went from first to third on a David Peralta base hit and scored on a blooper of an RBI single from Harold Ramirez to tie things up at one run apiece.

That stalemate did not last long, though, as the Red Sox responded with two more runs in the third. With two outs and runners on first and second after Tommy Pham and Verdugo each drew a walk, Rafael Devers and Trevor Story went back-to-back on a pair of run-scoring hits. Devers advanced to third base on Story’s 22nd double of the year, but was stranded there after Triston Casas popped out to end the inning.

Wacha, meanwhile, settled in and spun three consecutive scoreless frames before running into some trouble in the fifth. After reaching base on a leadoff single, Jose Siri scored all the way from first on a 358-foot double off the bat of Randy Arozarena.

Franchy Cordero had been tracking that fly ball in left field, but he went down awkwardly after colliding with and getting his right cleat caught in the wall’s padding. Cordero remained on the ground in visible pain before manager Alex Cora and team trainers came out to check on him. Unable to put any weight on his right foot, Cordero was carted off and replaced in left field by Rob Refsnyder. He was later diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and will undergo an MRI on Tuesday.

With Siri scoring on Arozarena’s double, Tampa Bay had cut the deficit down to one run at 3-2. But Wacha did not buckle and wound up retiring the final five batters he faced through the end of the sixth. The veteran right-hander gave up just the two runs on seven hits, zero walks, and seven strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

While Wacha did not factor into Monday’s decision, he did reach a personal milestone. By punching out Taylor Walls to end the sixth, the 31-year-old recorded the 1,000th strikeout of his major-league career.

In relief of Wacha, Jeurys Familia received the first call out of the Boston bullpen from Cora. With the likes of Garrett Whitlock and John Schreiber unavailable after a busy weekend, Familia struggled in a high-leverage spot in the seventh.

After a questionable hit-by-pitch of the pinch-hitting Vidal Brujan, who stole second base and moved up to third on a groundout, Familia surrendered a game-tying double to Margot. He was then pulled in favor of Zack Kelly, who got the second out of the inning but could not escape before allowing the go-ahead run to score on a Peralta RBI double down the right field line.

Kelly bounced back by tossing a 1-2-3 eighth inning, giving the Red Sox a chance to tie it in the ninth. With two outs and Verdugo at second base representing the tying run, Xander Bogaerts got ahead in the count at 2-0 before striking out looking on a 99 mph heater at the bottom of the zone.

Despite coming up short there, Bogaerts made history by going 2-for-5, thus extending his multi-game hitting streak to nine consecutive games. He becomes the fourth player in Red Sox history to accomplish the feat, joining the likes of Kevin Youkilis (2009), Jim Rice (1978), and Roy Johnson (1934).

All told, the Red Sox went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on base as a team. With Monday’s loss, they are now 4-10 against the Rays this season and 18-37 against divisional opponents.

Next up: Hill vs. Rasmussen

The Red Sox will look to bounce back against the Rays on Tuesday night. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will get the start for Boston while right-hander Drew Rasmussen will do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 6:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Alex Verdugo: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Nick Pivetta’s struggles against American League East continue as Red Sox drop series finale to Rays, 12-4

The Red Sox were unable to complete a three-game weekend sweep of the Rays on Sunday afternoon. Boston fell to Tampa Bay by a final score 12-4 at Fenway Park to drop to 62-66 on the season.

Nick Pivetta, making his 26th start of the year for the Sox, ended his month of August on a sour note. The right-hander allowed five earned runs on eight hits, three walks, and four strikeouts over five innings of work.

After retiring four of the first five batters he faced, Pivetta served up a solo home run over the Green Monster to Isaac Paredes with one out in the second inning. It was ruled a single on the field, but it was overturned following an umpire review.

An inning later, a two-out walk of Manuel Margot proved to be costly for Pivetta. That being the case because Margot stole second base and then easily scored from second when David Peralta ripped an RBI double down the right field line.

Trailing 2-0 going into their half of the third inning, the Red Sox were able to cut the deficit in half when Franchy Cordero cranked a 403-foot solo shot off Rays starter Corey Kluber into the home bullpen. Cordero’s eighth homer of the season — and fourth in his last six games — left his bat at 112.3 mph.

While Boston got on the board, Tampa Bay quicky responded. Randy Arozarena led off the fourth inning with a hard-hit double. Paredes immediately followed by crushing his second home run of the day off Pivetta to make it a 4-1 game.

To lead off the bottom of the fourth, J.D. Martinez took Kluber 410 feet over the Monster for his first home run since July 10. Martinez’s 10th big fly of the season once again trimmed the Rays’ lead in half at 4-2.

Pivetta, however, continued to struggle in his fifth and final frame. He surrendered hits to the first four batters he faced in the inning, including an RBI double to Peralta that plated Margot, before getting Taylor Wallks to ground into a force out at third base.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 100 (63 strikes), Pivetta induced 14 swings-and-misses while mixing in a four-seam fastball that averaged 93.3 mph, a slider that averaged 86.3 mph, and a knuckle-curveball that averaged 78.6 mph. The 29-year-old hurler was charged with his 10th loss of the season and his ERA now sits at 4.40. That includes an ERA of 7.24 in 11 starts against divisional opponents.

Moments after Pivetta’s day had come to an end, Tommy Pham brought the Red Sox back to within two runs of the Rays by clubbing another solo blast off Kluber. It left his bat at 104.3 mph and was good for his fourth home run in 22 games with Boston.

Hirokazu Sawamura received the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen from manager Alex Cora. As has been the case throughout the season, Sawamura’s struggles at Fenway Park continued. The Japanese-born righty gave up back-to-back one-out singles, including a 181-foot pop-up off the bat of Jose Siri that Cordero could not come up with cleanly in shallow right field.

With runners on the corners, Margot drove in Siri from third on a sacrifice fly. After issuing a five-pitch walk to Peralta, Sawamura yielded back-to-back run-scoring hits to Harold Ramirez and Arozarena, thus giving the Rays a commanding 8-3 advantage.

Following a scoreless top of the seventh from Ryan Brasier, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec and Pham greeted new Rays reliever Colin Poche with back-to-back hard-hit singles to lead off the bottom half. Xander Bogaerts plated Pham on a sacrifice fly, but that is all the Sox could manage.

The Rays proceeded to pull away from there. A clean-shaven Austin Davis got tagged for four runs (two earned) in the eighth. Following a Rafael Devers fielding error that put runners on the corners with no outs, Arozarena drove in Peralta on a sharply-hit double. Taylor Walls made it an 11-4 game with a two-run single and Siri capped it off with a run-scoring groundout.

Davis retired the side in order in the top of the ninth. In the bottom half, Rays catcher Christian Bethancourt made the ninth relief appearance of his career. He gave up a pair of singles to Dalbec and Bogaerts, but still recorded the final three outs of the contest.

With Sunday’s 12-4 loss, the Red Sox remain seven games back of the Blue Jays for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.

Next up: Quick trip to Minnesota

The Red Sox will now board a flight to Minneapolis and open a three-game series against the Twins on Monday night. Rookie right-hander is slated to get the start for Boston while fellow righty Dylan Bundy is expected to take the mound for Minnesota.

First pitch from Target Field is scheduled for 7:40 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Nick Pivetta: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Franchy Cordero and Xander Bogaerts both homer as Red Sox avoid disaster, hold on for 9-8 win over Rays

The Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak with a series-opening win over the Rays on Friday night. Boston avoided disaster and defeated Tampa Bay by a final score of 9-8 at Fenway Park to improve to 61-65 on the season.

Michael Wacha, making his 16th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four runs on five hits, one walk, and two hit batsman to go along with six strikeouts over six innings of work. All four of those runs were scored within the first three innings.

The veteran right-hander got his night off to a tough start, as his very first pitch was deposited 411 feet over the Green Monster courtesy of a leadoff home run off the bat of Yandy Diaz.

An inning later, Wacha yielded a one-out double to Jose Siri. After fanning Francisco Mejia, he promptly served up a 431-foot shot to Ji-Man Choi that gave the Rays an early 3-0 lead.

Boston responded in the bottom of the second. Christian Arroyo led off against Ryan Yarbrough by ripping a 105 mph double to left field. He then moved up to third base on an Enrique Hernandez base hit and scored from there on an infield single from Kevin Plawecki that was deflected by Diaz at third base. Tommy Pham drew a two-out walk off Yarbrough to load the bases, but Alex Verdugo popped out to second to end the rally there.

Diaz returned the favor in the third with a leadoff double of his own. Wacha then plunked the next two batters he faced to fill the bases for Harold Ramirez, who brought Tampa Bay’s lead back to three runs with a sacrifice fly to right field. Wacha managed to limit the damage by getting David Peralta to ground into an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play.

Perhaps that sequence helped Wacha settle into a groove, because the righty proceeded to retire nine of the final 11 Rays hitters he faced through the middle of the sixth. The 31-year-old hurler finished with a final pitch count of 93 (63 strikes). He induced 10 swings-and-misses while averaging 93 mph with his four-seam fastball.

The Red Sox lineup, meanwhile, took full advantage of Wacha putting up those zeroes. Franchy Cordero led off the fourth inning by wrapping his seventh home run of the season — and third of the week — 356 feet around Pesky’s Pole to make it a 4-2 game. Hernandez and Plawecki followed with back-to-back singles to put runners at the corners for Jarren Duran.

Duran drove in Hernandez on a sacrifice fly to right field. In the fifth, Xander Bogaerts led off with a single and Bobby Dalbec, who was pinch-hitting for Cordero, drew a one-out walk. Following a Tampa Bay pitching change that saw Shawn Armstrong take over for Yarbrough, Hernandez greeted the new reliever by lacing a game-tying single through the left side of the infield. Dalbec advanced to second on the play and scored the go-ahead run on a 104.3 mph RBI double off the bat of Plawecki.

After Verdugo and J.D. Martinez each reached base with no outs in the sixth, Bogaerts broke it open by cranking a no-doubt, 386-foot three-run home run over the Green Monster. Bogaerts’ 11th big fly of the season left his bat at 100.1 mph to give the Red Sox a four-run advantage at 8-4.

Matt Strahm took over for Wacha — who later picked up the winning decision — out of the Boston bullpen in the seventh inning. The left-hander worked his way around a two-out single in an otherwise clean frame of work. The Red Sox then received what would prove to be some much-needed insurance in the latter half of the inning on a run-scoring triple from Verdugo.

Taking a 9-4 lead into the eighth inning, Ryan Brasier nearly let that five-run cushion slip away. Celebrating his 53rd birthday on Friday, Brasier failed to record an out in the process of giving up a leadoff walk, a base hit, an RBI single to Peralta, and a three-run home run to Siri.

Brasier’s meltdown gave the Rays life and forced Red Sox manager Alex Cora to turn to Matt Barnes for the third time in as many days. As has been the case since he returned from the injured list earlier this month, though, Barnes proved reliable yet again by striking out two of the three batters he faced in a perfect inning of relief.

That paved the way for Garrett Whitlock to enter in the ninth, and he wasted no time in slamming the door on the Rays to secure the one-run victory and earn his sixth save of the year.

All told, the Red Sox went 7-for-20 with runners in scoring position on Friday. Pham, Verdugo, and Bogaerts each had two hits while Hernandez and Plawecki each had three.

Next up: Hill vs. Springs

The Red Sox will go for a series win over the Rays on Saturday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill is slated to start for Boston while fellow southpaw (and old friend) Jeffrey Springs is expected to do the same for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 4:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Xander Bogaerts: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

Red Sox squander plethora of scoring opportunities, fall to Blue Jays, 6-5, in 10 innings

The Red Sox were unable to avoid a three-game sweep at the hands of the Blue Jays on Thursday night. Boston fell to Toronto by a final score of 6-5 in 10 innings at Fenway Park to drop to 60-65 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his 11th start of the year for the Sox, allowed four earned runs on 10 hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over 4 2/3 innings of work.

Two of those four runs came right away in the first inning. After giving up a one-out single to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and a two-out walk to Teoscar Hernandez, Crawford surrendered a scalding, 104.7 mph two-run double to Bo Bichette that gave the Jays an early 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox responded with two runs of their own in their half of the second. With Kevin Gausman on the mound for Toronto, Xander Bogaerts and Christian Arroyo led off with back-to-back singles. After Arroyo stole second base and Rob Refsnyder struck out, Reese McGuire got his productive night at the plate started with an RBI single that scored Bogaerts. Bobby Dalbec followed with a single of his own to drive in Arroyo and knot things up at two runs apiece.

In the third, Tommy Pham led off with a single and immediately went from first to home on a 106.7 mph RBI double off the bat of Rafael Devers. That gave the Red Sox their first lead of the night at 3-2, though it did not last long.

Crawford got the first two outs of the fourth inning with the help of a double play. The rookie right-hander then loaded the bases on two singles and a walk, which brought Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to the plate in a prime spot. Guerrero Jr. proceeded to lift a pop fly into foul territory that could have ended the inning. But Dalbec, the first baseman, failed to make the tough catch, which further prolonged the inning.

Guerrero Jr. took full advantage of Dalbec’s blunder, as the young slugger promptly roped a two-run single to right field to put the Blue Jays back up by a run at 4-3. Again, the Sox responded in the latter half of the fourth. Following a pair of singles from Refsnyder and McGuire that put runners on the corners with no outs, Dalbec drove in Refsnyder on a game-tying sacrifice fly.

Crawford came back out for the fifth and recorded the first two outs of the inning via strikeout. He then gave up a two-out double to Matt Chapman, which prompted Red Sox manager Alex Cora to hand things over to his bullpen. Crawford finished with a final pitch count of 85 (53 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced 11 swings-and-misses while averaging 94.6 mph with his four-seam fastball. His ERA on the season now sits at 5.30.

Matt Strahm was first used in relief of Crawford and officially closed the book on the righty’s night by punching out Raimel Tapia. The lefty then came back out for the sixth and served up a 388-foot solo shot to Danny Jansen that travelled over the Green Monster and put the Blue Jays back up, 5-4.

The Red Sox responded in their half of the sixth. After reaching base and taking second on a two-out throwing error, Dalbec moved up to third on a wild pitch from Blue Jays reliever Trevor Richards. Jarren Duran then plated him from third on an RBI double over the head of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. in left field.

Duran, however, was stranded at second base, which proved to be the ongoing theme for Boston on Thursday. After Jeurys Familia, who recorded the final two outs of the sixth, struck out the side in the top of the seventh, the Sox had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the bottom half. Franchy Cordero was deployed to pinch-hit for Refsnyder, but he fell victim to Anthony Bass to extinguish the threat and keep things knotted up at 5-5.

Following a scoreless top half of the eighth from Hirokazu Sawamura, McGuire led off the bottom half with his first career triple, which was misplayed by Hernandez in right field. Enrique Hernandez, who came on to run for McGuire, was then stranded at third base, as Adam Cimber punched out Dalbec and Pham and Tim Mayza got Devers got Devers to ground out to first.

More frustration arose in the ninth. After getting another scoreless frame from Matt Barnes, J.D. Martinez led the inning off with a hard-hit single off Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano. Alex Verdugo took over for Martinez and went from first to third on a sharply-hit double from Bogaerts.

With no outs and runners at second and third, the Red Sox were just one hit away from winning this. Toronto elected to intentionally walk Arroyo, which filled the bases for Cordero. Romero, like Bass, fanned Cordero, bringing Hernandez to the plate for the first time. Hernandez proceeded to ground into a back-breaking inning-ending 5-3 double play, sending this one into extras.

John Schreiber allowed the automatic runner at second base — in this case, Cavan Biggio — to advance to third on a Jansen groundout. He then got Springer to hit a soft groundball in the direction of Bogaerts. Bogaerts fielded the ball cleanly, but made an off-balance throw to Kevin Plawecki at home plate.

Biggio beat Plawecki’s tag to give the Blue Jays a 6-5 lead. Romano then picked up where he left off by retiring Dalbec, Duran, and Plawecki, in the bottom half of the 10th to send the Red Sox home losers. All told, they went 3-for-20 with runners in scoring position while leaving 12 runners on base as a team.

With the loss, Boston has extended its losing streak to four straight. It is now 3-13 against Toronto this season and 16-35 against divisional opponents.

Next up: Wacha vs. Chargois

Speaking of divisional opponents, the Red Sox will now welcome the Rays into town for a three-game weekend series. Veteran right-hander Michael Wacha is slated to start for Boston while fellow righty J.T. Chargois is expected to serve as an opener for Tampa Bay.

First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on Apple TV+.

(Picture of Kevin Plawecki: Kathryn Riley/Getty Images)

Red Sox blow three-run lead, waste Kutter Crawford’s strong start in 5-4 loss to Rays

The Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 5-4 at Tropicana Field on Thursday night. Boston winds up getting swept by Tampa Bay in four games to drop to 47-43 on the season.

Kutter Crawford, making his fourth start of the year for the Sox, pitched well. The rookie right-hander allowed three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with six strikeouts over six-plus innings of work.

All three runs Crawford gave up came in the bottom half of the seventh. After cruising through six scoreless frames on 82 pitches, the Okeechobee, Fla. native came back out for the seventh with a 3-0 lead in hand.

Having retired each of the last 10 batters he faced, Crawford yielded a leadoff double to Jonathan Aranda to begin things in the seventh. A Christian Bethancourt single put runners on the corners for Josh Lowe, who plated the Rays’ first run on an RBI double that also chased Crawford from the game.

John Schreiber was then dispatched out of the Red Sox bullpen, inheriting a situation in which runners were at second and third and there were still two outs to get. Schreiber allowed both runners he inherited to score on a game-tying, two-run single to Taylor Walls.

That closed the book for Crawford, who finished with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes). The 26-year-old hurler induced a total of 13 swings-and-misses while mixing in his four-seam fastball, cutter, curveball, slider, and changeup.

After plunking Luke Raley, Schreiber served up another two-run single to Yandy Diaz that gave the Rays their first lead of the night at 5-3. Schreiber got through the rest of the seventh with the help of an Alex Verdugo outfield assist before making way for Darwinzon Hernandez.

Hernandez, making his season debut for the Sox, needed just 12 pitches (eight strikes) to strike out two and retire the side in order in the bottom of the eighth to keep the deficit at two runs.

To that point in the contest, the Boston lineup had been limited to just three runs. Rafael Devers got the scoring started by golfing his 20th home run of the season off Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen in the fourth inning. Devers’ solo blast left his bat at 103.4 mph and traveled 393 feet to right field.

Fast forward to the sixth, Jarren Duran reached base on a one-out single, stole second base, and advanced to third on a Devers groundout. He then scored from third on a wild pitch that allowed J.D. Martinez to move up to second after drawing a two-out walk.

Xander Bogaerts wasted no time in driving in Martinez by roping a 102.8 mph RBI double to the right-center field gap. That gave the Red Sox a 3-0 lead, though it was not long-lived.

Down to their final three outs and trailing by two runs in the ninth, the Sox made things interesting against old friend Jalen Beeks. Bogaerts led off with a single and scored all the way from first on a hard-hit RBI double from Verdugo. But Verdugo was left at second base as the pinch-hitting Christian Vazquez popped out, Kevin Plawecki walked, the pinch-hitting Bobby Dalbec struck out, and Jeter Downs grounded out to end things there.

With the loss, the Red Sox have dropped eight of their last 10 games and are now 4-10 in the month of July.

Next up: Eovaldi returns for series opener in the Bronx

The Red Sox will head north to open a three-game weekend series against the Yankees in the Bronx on Friday night. Boston will activate right-hander Nathan Eovaldi from the injured list to start the opener. New York will counter with left-hander Jordan Montgomery.

First pitch from Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Kutter Crawford: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Red Sox struggle to get anything going against Shane McClanahan, drop third straight to Rays in 4-1 loss

It was another demoralizing loss for the Red Sox at the hands of the Rays on Wednesday night. Boston dropped its third straight to Tampa Bay by a final score of 4-1 at Tropicana Field to fall to 47-42 on the season.

Josh Winckowski, making his seventh start of the season, pitched well in his home state of Florida. The rookie right-hander held the Rays to three runs on four hits and two walks to go along with five strikeouts over six quality innings of work.

After taking a no-hitter into the third inning, Winckowski ran into some trouble when he issued a leadoff walk to Josh Lowe. That was followed by a line-drive single from Francisco Mejia, which put runners at first and second with no outs.

Winckowski got Yandy Diaz to ground into a force out at second base, but he then gave up back-to-back run-scoring hits to Ji-Man Choi and Harold Ramirez to put the Red Sox in an early 2-0 hole.

An inning later, Winckowski served up a 391-foot solo shot to the light-hitting Taylor Walls with one out in the fourth inning. He was at least able to settle in after that by retiring the final eight batters he faced through the end of the sixth.

Finishing with a final pitch count of 92 (62 strikes), Winckowski induced a total of seven swings-and-misses while mixing in his sinker, slider, four-seamer, changeup, and cutter. The 24-year-old hurler topped out at 94.3 mph with his heater. He was also the tough-luck loser as his ERA on the season now sits at 4.38.

By the time the final out of the sixth inning had been recorded, the Red Sox lineup had been almost entirely held in check by Rays ace Shane McClanahan. The tough left-hander did not give up his first hit of the night until the fourth inning, when Rafael Devers reached base via a one-out double that left his bat at 107.9 mph.

Devers, who has been dealing with a sore back and hamstring, attempted to take off from third when one of McClanahan’s pitches to J.D. Martinez got way from Rays catcher Francisco Mejia. But Mejia was able to gather himself and corral the ball in time to gun down Devers at third base. Martinez then struck out to end the inning.

Back-to-back singles from Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo to lead off the fifth put runners at the corners with no outs for Christian Vazquez, who promptly grounded into a 5-4-3 double play. Bogaerts was able to score on the twin killing, but McClanahan managed to escape the inning while avoiding any serious damage.

Fast forward to the seventh, Bogaerts greeted new Rays reliever Jason Adam by ripping a two-out double to right field and stealing third base. But Verdugo grounded out to first to extinguish the threat.

In the latter half of the seventh, with Jake Diekman in the game for Winckowski, fundamental issues continued to plague Boston. With two outs and one runner on, Diaz laced a groundball single to right field that should have put runners at first and third. Instead, right fielder Rob Refsnyder was indecisive with where he wanted to throw the ball, which allowed the base runner (Lowe) to score all the way from first uncontested.

That unfortunate sequence of events made it a 4-1 game in favor of Tampa Bay. After Phillips Valdez stranded one runner in the eighth, the Red Sox found themselves down to their final three outs in the ninth.

Refsnyder reached on a one-out single, but Colin Poche left him there by retiring Devers and Martinez to wrap up another defeat within the division for Boston. With the loss, the Red Sox are now 4-9 in the month of July and 11-23 against American League East opponents.

Next up: Crawford vs. Rasmussen

As they look to avoid a four-game sweep, the Red Sox are expected to turn to right-hander Kutter Crawford in Thursday’s series finale. The Rays will counter with fellow righty Drew Rasmussen.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.

(Picture of Rafael Devers: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Reeling Red Sox lose Trevor Story, Matt Strahm to injury in process of falling to Rays, 3-2; Chris Sale tosses 5 scoreless innings in season debut

Well, that was ugly.

Despite getting a strong start from Chris Sale and taking a two-run lead into the sixth inning, the Red Sox fell to the Rays by a final score of 3-2 at Tropicana Field on Tuesday night.

Sale, making his season debut, scattered just three hits and one walk to go along with five strikeouts over five scoreless frames. The veteran left-hander retired six of the first seven batters he faced before running into some trouble in the third, as he gave up a leadoff single to Yu Chang and one-out walk to Yandy Diaz. But he got out of that jam by sitting down Harold Ramirez and then punching out Christian Bethancourt.

Isaac Parades led off the bottom of the fourth with a hard-hit double and advanced to third on a Randy Arozarena groundout, but Sale stranded him there before ending his night with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. The 33-year-old southpaw threw 78 pitches (53 strikes) and induced a total of four swings-and-misses while averaging 95.1 mph with his four-seam fastball.

By the time he had recorded the final out of the fifth inning, Sale was in line for the win. That being the case because the Red Sox lineup had just gotten to Rays starter Corey Kluber for two runs in their half of the fifth.

After Alex Verdugo broke up Kluber’s no-hit bid with a one-out double, Trevor Story was hit in the right hand while swinging at a 3-1, 89 mph sinker that was ruled a foul ball. Story would have to leave the game and was later diagnosed with a right hand contusion. He was pinch-hit for by Jeter Downs, who moved Verdugo up to third base on a softly-hit single to left field.

Franchy Cordero then laid down a successful sacrifice bunt down the first base line that brought in Verdugo from third to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead. Bobby Dalbec followed by plating Downs on an RBI triple to double his side’s advantage.

The sixth inning is where things began to spiral for Boston. Ryan Brasier took over for Sale out of the Red Sox bullpen and put runners at first and second in the process of recording the first two outs of the frame. Alex Cora then turned to Matt Strahm, who almost immediately gave up an RBI single to the pinch-hitting Francisco Mejia.

Mejia’s single put runners at first and second for Taylor Walls, who ripped a 98 mph comebacker off Strahm’s left wrist. Strahm lost his glove but attempted to get Walls out at first base to end the inning. He instead threw the ball away, which allowed Parades to score the game-tying run.

Cordero, meanwhile, retrieved Strahm’s errant toss and attempted to throw home to Christian Vazquez. That caught Vazquez off-guard, as he tried to block the ball with his chest protector before it rolled away, giving Mejia the opportunity to score from third to give Tampa Bay their first lead of the contest.

Both Strahm and Cordero were charged with throwing errors on the play, and Strahm had to be removed with what the team later diagnosed as a left wrist contusion. He was replaced by Kaleb Ort, who recorded the final out of the sixth.

Boston’s lack of fundamentals continued to haunt in the top of the seventh. Verdugo and Downs greeted new Rays reliever Jalen Beeks with back-to-back hits to put runners on the corners with no outs. But Verdugo, representing the tying run, was picked off by Mejia at third base for the first out of the inning. Beeks proceeded to escape the seventh unscathed before facing the minimum in a scoreless eighth.

With John Schreiber and Hirokazu Sawamura keeping the Rays off the scoreboard, the Red Sox found themselves still trailing by one run heading into their half of the ninth.

Matched up against left-handed reliever Brooks Raley, Downs drew a two-out walk but that was immediately negated when Cordero fanned on three pitches to end the game.

With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 47-41 on the season and 11-22 against divisional opponents. They are 4-8 in the month of July.

Next up: Winckowski vs. McClanahan

The Red Sox will send rookie right-hander Josh Winckowski to the mound on Wednesday as they look to avoid dropping another series an American League East rival. The Rays will counter with their ace in left-hander Shane McClanahan.

First pitch from Tropicana Field is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN.

(Picture of Chris Sale: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)