The Rays got off to another quick start against the Red Sox when they scored three against Boson starter John Lackey. They had him on the ropes again in the second when they loaded the bases with one out. Unfortunately, an inning ending double play followed and Lackey was allowed to settle in. Even more unfortunately, James Shields picked a very bad time to have his worst start of the year. Everything that he had done right this season, he did wrong today. He walked hitters at the wrong time (three overall) and allowed two home runs. The Rays quick 3-0 lead evaporated by the third when the Red Sox scored three to grab a 5-3 advantage.
Both pitcher’s settled down and it looked like the Rays were trying too hard to get back in the game with one big swing. Evan Longoria almost came through with a homer, but his blast in the fifth died at the wall.
The play of the game, if not the year, came from Matt Joyce. In the fifth, he fouled a ball off his knee. He was down in a heap at home plate for several moments. It looked like Joe Maddon was thinking about taking him out, but left him in. On the next pitch, he homered into the right field seats. It was a great moment that left a lot of Rays players in the dugout smiling even though they were still down. I’m hoping this does not become a nagging injury. In the ninth, Joyce hit a ground ball to first and he really got down the line well, but it was obvious his leg was in a lot of pain when he limped back to the bench.
The Red Sox tacked on two more ugly (well for the Rays defense) runs in the ninth. Jose Lobaton got an at bat and then caught an inning. Jacoby Ellsbury‘s swing squarely caught Lobaton’s glove through the strike zone. That and a misplay by Evan Longoria helped set up the Red Sox rally.
Another game against the Red Sox and another game around three and half hours. The Rays banged out 13 hits with Joyce accounting for three of them. Only three of the hits went for extra bases and they didn’t have enough big hits to make this game close.
Player of the Game: Matt Joyce