By Jessica Camerato
CSNNE.com Follow @JCameratoNBA
BOSTON -- The Red Sox had missed opportunities on Saturday. The Tampa Bay Rays also took advantage of their own. In a game where Jon Lester gave up four earned runs and the Red Sox left six men on base, four more than the Rays did, it could be easy to point out what the Red Sox should have done better. At the same time, there is a lot the Rays did do better.
Evan Longoria entered Saturdays game batting 4-for-8 with two homeruns and six RBIs in the series. He added to that with an RBI single in the fifth inning against Lester. Longoria has driven in 13 RBIs against the Red Sox this season and 57 over his career.
Hes a tremendous player, said Francona. Hes done that to us before. A couple years ago I think he drove in 30-something runs, at least hes not doing that. Good players, like thats how we feel about Pedey (Dustin Pedroia) and guys like (Jacoby) Ellsbury, thats what you have them for.
The Red Sox entered the game with limited success against Jeff Neimann. (Marco Scutaro had a team-high three hits against him.) The Sox were able to get four hits off of him in five innings, but failed to capitalize on many of them.
Hes a good pitcher and he pitches well against us, said Francona. We had some chances. We didnt cash in. Thats the way the game is.
In only his second Major League appearance, Matt Moore pitched three innings in relief of Neimann, giving up one run, two hits, and striking out a pair.
He has a very loose, live arm, said Francona. I can see why they like him so much. He didnt command probably like he can, but theres a lot to like. And the fact that through Double-A and Triple-A he got right handers out so dominating shows you that he has more than a fastball.
The Rays offense forced Lester into deep counts throughout the game, and their patience paid off at the plate.
I thought they did a good job of laying off some pitches that maybe some other teams dont, because if you dont eliminate a pitch with him, sometimes he can kind of have his way with you, said Francona. They got a lot of deep counts, and then once youve seen five or six pitches in that at bat, youve got to make a really good pitch. They fouled off some pitches that were good pitches, but because they had seen five or six, they were able to do that.
With a loss, the Red Sox American League Wild Card lead is three games over the Rays. They are now 4.5 games behind the New York Yankees in overall AL East standings. The Red Sox have lost 10 of their last 13 games and are 2-8 in their last 10 contests.
The Red Sox are 6-11 against the Rays this season, tying the most losses against the Rays in club history. Many of their troubles against Tampa Bay have come in Boston. The Red Sox are 2-6 against the Rays at Fenway Park this season and 4-12 against them at home since the start of 2010.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who has 37 stolen bases this season, was thrown out trying to steal third with no outs in the fifth inning. He was thrown out by Neimann. Ellsbury did not speak to the media after the game, but Francona shared his assessment of the attempt. Its a situation where hes probably trying to do too much that wasnt necessary, he said. His intentions are good. It was ill-advised. If youre going to run in that situation, its got to be one-hundred percent. He knows that.
On the topic of stolen bases, Joey Gathright stole his first base of the season in the ninth inning off of Joel Peralta.
Pregame notes by Maureen Mullen
Manager Terry Francona has still not named a pitcher for the first game of Mondays doubleheader against the Orioles. John Lackey will start the second game. Left-hander Erik Bedard, who was going to throw before Saturdays game remains a possibility.
He had a good day Friday so hes going to throw a side . . . and then well go from there, Francona said.
Weve got some moving parts obviously. Want to see how he comes through the side, and then we want to gauge where we think he is and then well make some decisions. We have some either-ors obviously.
Kevin Youkilis, hampered by a hernia and hip bursitis remains sore. His ability to play is unknown.
It is a little bit of a conundrum, Francona said. He had a two-week DL and he came back, so I really dont know. I think thats what hes hanging his hat on, and I think thats what we hope will be the case. Were certainly going to give him a chance, but we just dont know.
If a guys good, we want to play him. But right now thats not realistic. Where it goes from here we just dont know. We all hope he wakes up maybe tomorrow morning and says hey I really feel good today. OK, good, lets see how you do tomorrow. And then if you play, how do you bounce back. We just dont know.
The Sox announced their minor league award winners.
Pitcher of the Year, right-hander Alex Wilson, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Offensive Co-Players of the Year: Right fielder Bryce Brentz, Single-A GreenvilleSingle-A Salem and catcher Ryan Lavarnway, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket.
Defensive Player of the Year: Catcher Christian Vazquez, Single-A Greenville.
Base Runner of the Year: Center fielder Felix Sanchez, Single-A Greenville.
Minor League Latin Program Pitcher of the Year: Left-hander Pedro Reyes, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Minor League Latin Program Player of the Year: Outfielder Ynoel Aguero, Rookie-Level Dominican Summer League Red Sox.
Left-hander Tommy Hottovy, Double-A PortlandTriple-A Pawtucket won the inaugural Lou Gorman Award, given in honor of the former Sox GM and executive who died in April. It will be presented annually to a Red Sox minor league player who has demonstrated dedication and perseverance in overcoming obstacles while working his way to the major league team.
Jessica Camerato is on Twitter at http:twitter.com!JCameratoNBA.