By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Not since the first week of the season have the Red Sox had such a poor road trip. At least back in April, they still had the rest of the season in front of them.
With the season winding down, the Sox suffered their fifth loss in a row Sunday, absorbing a 9-1 pounding by the Tampa Bay Rays, who finished off a weekend sweep of the Sox. Boston completed its seven-game road trip with a 1-6 mark.
The setback cut the Red Sox' lead in the wild card chase to just three games in the loss column with 16 games remaining.
Jon Lester lasted just four innings after needing 43 pitches to get out of the first, when the Rays took a 3-0 lead. Lester lost for the first time in more than a month, having won his previous five decisions.
James Shields fell two outs shy of his 12th complete game this season, allowing a run on seven hits before being lifted with one out in the ninth.
B.J. Upton, who reached base in each of his five plate appearances, belted a grand slam off Matt Albers in the fifth, putting the game out of reach.
The lone run for the Red Sox came in the third when Marco Scutaro led off the inning with his sixth homer of the season.
In their six losses on the road trip, the Red Sox were outscored 41-22.