Red Sox end rough road trip, fall to Rays, 9-1

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Red Sox end rough road trip, fall to Rays, 9-1

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.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

Merloni: Pablo Sandoval is the key to the bottom of Red Sox order

The guys on The Baseball Show discuss Pablo Sandoval lighting it up in spring training and if he could continue that in the regular season.

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Sale hurls five shutout innings, Sandoval has two hits as Sox romp, 7-2

Chris Sale threw five shutout innings and Pablo Sandoval continued his torrid spring with two more hits as the Red Sox routed the Twins, 7-2, Sunday at the Twins' Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers.

Red Sox-Twins box score

Sale allowed six hits, with one walk and six strikeouts, in his 91-pitch outing. Manager John Farrell had told reporters before the game that Sale was scheduled to throw between 95 and 100 pitches. He has 26 strikeouts and 2 walks in 21 spring-training innings.

Sandoval lifted his exhibition average to .370 with a 2-for-3 performance, which included a double.

The Red Sox also got home runs from Christian Vazquez, Andrew Benintendi and Steve Selsky as they rallied from a 1-0 deficit with three runs in the seventh inning and four in the eighth.