BOSTON – In a rematch of Wednesday’s duel between left-handers Felix Doubront and David Price, the Red Sox hoped for a different outcome than they previously endured. Instead they were dominated by the Rays lefty once again, as Tampa Bay beat the Sox, 2-1, at Fenway Park Monday night.
The loss came with an assist from a disputed call in the eighth inning.
With one out, Ryan Lavarnway doubled against reliever Joel Peralta and was replaced by pinch-runner Daniel Nava. But when Stephen Drew doubled to the bullpen wall in right, Nava -- thinking right fielder Wil Myers was going to make the catch -- was heading back to second when the ball flew over Myers's head and was only able to advance to third. Nava then attempted to score on a fly ball to left-center by Brandon Snyder. While replays showed Nava was safe, home plate umpire Jerry Meals called him out, ending the inning. After seeing the replay, Meals admitted he blew the call.
The play ended the night for manager John Farrell, who was thrown out by Meals for arguing the call. It was Farrell’s second ejection of the season.
With the win, Price became the first starting pitcher in more than 70 years to beat the Sox at Fenway twice in a five-day span. The last two to do so were Rip Collins, of the St. Louis Browns in 1931, and Lefty Grove of the Philadelphia A’s in 1929. Price threw a complete-game five-hitter last Wednesday.
On Monday, he gave up just one run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. The only run Price allowed Snyder’s one-out home run, his second of the season, off the Pesky Pole in the sixth inning.
Doubront took the loss in both games, the first time he has lost consecutive starts this season. He went five innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
The Rays got a run in the fourth when Yunel Escobar hit a one-out single to right, went to third on Jose Molina’s two-out single to center and scored on Sean Rodriguez’s double to right off the glove of Mike Napoli at first base. They added another run an inning later when Evan Longoria led off with a ground-rule double, took third on Ben Zobrist’s single and scored on Myers’s fielder’s choice.
Fernando Rodney got the save, though it was hardly a clean inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Jacoby Ellsbury, who then stole second. After retiring Victorino and Dustin Pedroia, the Rays intentionally walked David Ortiz with first base open -- putting the winning run on base -- to pitch to Mike Napoli. A wild pitch advanced the two runners into scoring position, giving the Sox the chance to win the game with a single. But Napoli struck out on an 88-mph changeup, ending the game.
With the loss, the Sox fall a half game behind the Rays in the American League East.
STAR OF THE GAME: David Price
Price gave up just one run on two hits over 7 1/3 innings with no walks and eight strikeouts. He threw just 90 pitches, 67 of them for strikes.
HONORABLE MENTION: Brandon Snyder
Snyder scored the Sox only run of the game with his second home run of the season, a one-out drive off the Pesky Pole in the sixth. His bid to tie the game with a would-be sacrifice fly in the eighth was thwarted when Daniel Nava was called out by home plate umpire Jerry Meals.
THE GOAT: Daniel Nava
Meals admitted after the game that he missed the call. But Nava, pinch-running for Ryan Lavarnway, should have scored the tying run on the play before. He misread Stephen Drew's double to right, which flew over the head of right fielder Wil Myers, and was heading back to second when the ball hit the bullpen wall. He had to be stopped at third, and that set the stage for Meals's blown call.
“I should have scored [on Drew’s double],” Nava said. “It’s my fault. I should have scored. Bad read . . . You need to take more of an extended lead. I got halfway [to third] and then . . . I was like, 'Oh, it looks like he’s about to catch this ball.' I started to creep back to second. One out, you got to keep extending and extending, because you’re trying to score, you’re not trying to get to third. Told myself a second before, and unfortunately I didn’t do what I just talked to myself about.”
THE TURNING POINT
Nava's play, obviously.
BY THE NUMBERS: ½
In 10 games since the All-Star break the Sox are 5-5, 5-7 in their last 12 games. With the loss they fall a half-game behind the Rays in the American League East.
QUOTE OF NOTE
"What I saw was: Molina blocked the plate and Nava's foot lifted. But in the replays, you could clearly see Nava's foot got under for a split second and then lifted, so I was wrong on my decision. From the angle I had, I did not see his foot get under Molina's shin guard." -- Homeplate umpire Jerry Meals who called Daniel Nava out to end the eighth inning on what would have been the game-tying run.