It is extremely difficult to win 10 consecutive games in the major leagues. The Rays had a chance to do so on Sunday against the Boston Red Sox, but missed opportunities and one hanging pitch were enough to send them to the loss.
Chris Archer got the start for the Rays and pitched well overall, but the third inning proved to be a major problem spot. With one out, Archer allowed a walk to Daniel Nava and a single to Dustin Pedroia before David Ortiz drilled a changeup up in the zone for a no-doubt, three-run home run. Archer was not out of the woods yet, walking Shane Victorino and then hitting Mike Carp with a pitch. However, Archer forced Stephen Drew and Christian Vazquez to ground out to escape the inning, and he found his form once again from there. Overall, Archer went 6 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. Unfortunately for the Rays, his efforts were insufficient.
Opposing Chris Archer was right-hander Allen Webster, and the Rays have to be kicking themselves for not getting more against him. Desmond Jennings did make it a 3-2 game with his two-run double in the bottom of the third, but that was all the scoring the Rays delivered. Webster was all over the place all night, walking 5 batters in 5.1 innings and throwing more balls than strikes, but the Rays let him off the hook and let him depart in line for the win. Evan Longoria was the final out of his outing when he drilled a ball to left-center that Jackie Bradley Jr. found a way to track down on a nice play.
The Rays did not get much against the Red Sox bullpen either, managing just two hits and a walk in 3.2 innings while striking out six times. Boston is said to be listening on their relievers, but they were still around on Sunday and pitched as well as ever. The Rays relief corps did find similar success as they allowed two walks and nothing else in 3.o innings to finish off the game. Kirby Yates got a big strikeout off Shane Victorino in the seventh inning after a 14-pitch battle, retiring him on a nasty slider, before Jeff Beliveau did the rest. Beliveau went the final two innings in perfect fashion, striking out three and getting two more outs on the ground. The Rays will make a move tomorrow with Joel Peralta returning from the DL, but given how well Beliveau has pitched, he deserves the chance to stick around.
The Rays will hope to get right back on the winning track tomorrow as they hope the Milwaukee Brewers for the first game of a three-game set. Jake Odorizzi will take on the team that drafted him as he opposes Kyle Lohse.