Evidently, the presence of the 2004 World Championship Red Sox team on the field before Tuesday's game didn't have any sort of motivational affect on the present-day Red Sox. Their second-to-last home game ended the way too many home games have this season - with a loss.
After the former champs left the field, reality set in in a hurry. Jeff Keppinger smoked a three-run homer to left to give the Tampa Bay Rays a lead they would not relinquish, resulting in a 5-2 loss for the Sox.
Lefty David Price fanned 13 and allowed just seven hits in a complete-game victory, improving to 19-5 for the season.
Starter Clay Buchholz later yielded two additional runs in the sixth -- one unearned -- as Jose Molina singled home Keppinger, and with the help of an error by left fielder Daniel Nava, Carlos Pena, too.
Buchholz, who left after six innings, suffered his seventh loss of the season and hasn't posted a win in more than a month, dating back to Aug. 16.
The Sox managed solo runs off Price in the second and third innings. Danny Valencia singled home the first run while the second run came on a balk.
The win kept the Rays' fading wild card chances alive in the American League while making it more likely the Sox will finish with 90 losses or more. At 69-86, the Sox need to go at least 4-3 in their final seven games to avoid a 90-loss season.
Former major leaguer Andy Marte, a one-time top prospect in the Red Sox organization, was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was 33.
Marte was killed the same day that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Ventura was 25. Coincidentally, Ventura was the Royals starting pitcher in Marte's final major league game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Marte, drafted by the Braves in 2000, was ranked the No. 9 prospect in baseball in 2005 when the third baseman was traded to the Red Sox as part of the deal that sent shortstop Edgar Renteria to Atlanta and Marte became the top-ranked prospect in the Red Sox organization.
Marte was traded by the Red Sox to the Indians in 2006 in the deal that sent Coco Crisp to Boston and spent five seasons with Cleveland. His best season was 2009 (.232, six home runs, 25 RBI in 47 games). After a six-game stint with Arizona in 2014, he played in South Korea the past two years.
Metropolitan traffic authorities in the Dominican told the Associated Press that Marte died when a car he was driving his a house along the highway between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles (150 kilometers) north of the capital.
Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura was killed in a car crash in in the Dominican Republic on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports. Ventura was 25 years old.
Highway patrol spokesman Jacobo Mateo told the Associated Press that Ventura died on a highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, about 40 miles (70 kilometers) northwest of Santo Domingo. He says it's not clear if Ventura was driving.
Ventura was killed the same day former major leaguer Andy Marte died in a separate car crash in the Dominican. Coincidentally, Ventura was the starting pitcher in Marte's final MLB game, for the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 6, 2014.
Ventura was 13-8 with a 4.08 ERA for the Royals' 2015 World Series champions and 11-12 with a 4.45 ERA in 32 starts in 2016. The right-hander made his major league debut in 2013 and in 2014 went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA for Kansas City's A.L. pennant winners.
Ironically, Ventura paid tribute to his good friend and fellow Dominican, Oscar Tavares, who was also killed in a car crash in the D.R. in October 2014, by wearing Tavares' initials and R.I.P. on his cap before Ventura's start in Game 6 of the World Series in 2014.
Ventura is the second current major league player to die in the past five months. Former Miami Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident in Miami on Sept. 25.