ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. How bad was the opener of the Red Sox' eight-game road trip Wednesday night? Put it this way: the Sox had nearly as many balks and hit batsman (five combined) as base hits (seven).
After averaging nearly seven runs during their home winning streak, the Sox were silenced by Jeremy Hellickson and three relievers as the Tampa Bay Rays held off the Sox, 21, snapping the Sox' streak at five games.
The Rays scratched together the go-ahead run in the sixth after starter Clay Buchholz put the first two runners on the corners.
Andrew Miller got Luke Scott to hit a routine fly ball to shallow right, but with the Tropicana Field roof as his backdrop, Cody Ross had difficulty picking up the ball.
As he twisted and made the catch, Ross was off-balance and was in no position to get much on his throw to the plate and Matt Joyce scored easily from third.
Buchholz committed one balk and reliever Franklin Morales committed two, giving the Red Sox five balks in the last eight games.
The lone Red Sox run came in the fourth when Jarrod Saltalamacchia slammed a double to right, and after a walk to Cody Ross, scored on a single to left by Daniel Nava.
Boston was 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
The Rays had grabbed a 10 lead in the second when Carlos Pena singled, took second when Luke Scott was hit by a pitch, moved to third on a double play and was awarded home on a balk by Buchholz.
That was just the first of three balks charged to Red Sox pitchers on the night. Morales was called for one in the seventh, though it didn't result in a run. The lefty added another an inning later.
More to come . . .
According to multiple reports, the Red Sox have traded infielder Travis Shaw and two minor-leaguers to the Milwaukee Brewers for righthander Tyler Thornburg. The prospects heading to Milwaukee are reliever Josh Pennington and infielder Mauricio Dubon.
The hard-throwing Thornburg had a tremendous season for the Brewers last year, sporting a 2.15 ERA in 67 appearances. Thornburg struck out 90 hitters in only 67 innnings while walking 25.
The 28-year-old was a third-round draft pick of the Brewers in the 2010 draft. The 2016 season was his fifth in the league; it marked the second time in his career that he tossed at least 60 innings.
MLB.com ranks Dubon as Boston's 12th-best prospect, while Pennington is ranked 22nd. Dubon finished the season in Double-A Portland, batting .339/.371/.538 in 62 games with six homers, six triples and 40 RBI.
Pennington, something of a project at the time of his 29th-round selection in the 2014 draft given that he needed Tommy John surgery, made 13 starts for Short-Season A Lowell, posting a 2.86 ERA and striking out 49 batters in 56.2 innings.
More to come...
When it comes to Pablo Sandoval and his weight, a picture is worth a thousand words.
During spring training it wasn’t a good thing. Sandoval made headlines when a number of photos revealed significant weight gain for the Red Sox third baseman.
But the last two images have been more positive for Sandoval.
In October, a noticeably thinner Sandoval was photographed at an FC Barcelona game.
On Monday, Dan Roche of WBZ tweeted a more recent picture of the new-look Sandoval.
Sandoval, 30, is entering the third season of a five-year, $95 million contract. In his lone full season in Boston, 2015, Sandoval hit .245/.292/.366 with 10 homers and 47 RBI.