Red Sox lose, season ends after Rays walk-off win

Red Sox lose, season ends after Rays walk-off win

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

BALTIMORE -- Capping a night of incredible drama, the Red Sox blew a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, losing to the Baltimore Orioles, 4-3. Minutes later, the Rays' Evan Longoria hit a walk-off home run -- his second of the game -- in the bottom of the 12th inning to vault the Rays into the postseason, and seal the Red Sox' fate.

Robert Andino lashed a line single to left that Carl Crawford couldn't quite hold onto as Nolan Reimold's, who had smacked a game-tying double, scored from second.

Until Wednesday night, the Red Sox had been 77-0 in games in which they led after eight innings.

The Red Sox scored single runs in the third, fourth and fifth, with Dustin Pedroia knocking in two of the runs -- on an RBI-single in the third and another on a solo homer in the fifth.

Marco Scutaro, who doubled in the fourth and took third on a groundout, scored the other run on a balk from Alfredo Simon.

Jon Lester, pitching on three days' rest, limited the Orioles to two runs on four hits.

J.J. Hardy hit his 30th homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third, to account for the only Orioles' runs of the night.

Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon each contributed a scoreless inning of relief.

Scutaro should have scored an insurance run in the eighth, but he inexplicably broke back to second for an instant when Carl Crawford doubled to the left-center gap.

The split second reversal cost Scutaro when he was thrown out in close play at the plate.

The Sox had the bases loaded with one in the ninth but couldn't push across a run.

The game featured an 86 minute rain delay in the middle of the seventh inning, during which the Tampa Bay Rays erased a 7-0 deficit, tying the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and sending their game with the New York Yankees into extra innings, leaving the Sox uncertain of their fate -- until just after they had lost.

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

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

Napoli: Red Sox and his agent only had 'small talk' about reunion

BOSTON -- Of course, the Rangers' Mike Napoli didn't mind the idea of replacing David Ortiz. He loved playing in Boston.

There just was never much chatter that way last offseason, when Napoli was a free agent after his Indians took the Cubs to seven games in the World Series.

"I think my agent had maybe a small talk or something [with the Red Sox], but I don't think it ever would have happened," Napoli said Tuesday afternoon as he returned to Fenway Park with Texas. "I mean, don't get me wrong, I would have loved to come back. But, I mean, it all worked out. I'm glad to be where I'm at now. Because I knew everybody here [with the Rangers]. I didn't have to start over again."

Napoli played with the Rangers in 2011 and '12, and was traded by the Sox to Texas for the last few months of the 2015 season.

He was hopeful the Sox -- his team from 2013 to midseason 2015 -- would be among the clubs to come calling last winter.

"Oh, yeah," he said.

But he wasn't optimistic it was going to happen. And it didn't.

"To be honest with you . . . Cleveland was my first priority," he said. "I just had a World Series run [with the Indians] and we didn't win it. And then Texas was there [in the bidding, along with] Minnesota."

The Rangers wound up giving Napoli, 35, a one-year deal for 8.5 million with an $11 million club option for next season or a $2.5 million buyout. He's hitting just .188 entering Tuesday, a subpar figure, but has 10 home runs.

"We started off pretty slow, but winning 10 straight will help," Napoli said of the Rangers' recent tear. "[Winning] 11 of 12, we've been playing better. I think we kind of lost track of who we are. We got some guys struggling, still trying to find themselves and kind of got away from doing it together as a team, but we got back to doing that. It's been going pretty well."

Part of the World Series championship team of four years ago, Napoli loved being in Boston in 2013, and he enjoys being back now.

"What we were able to do in 2013, obviously, it's something I'l never forget and something I cherish," Napoli said. "I love coming back here to play."

When it was noted there's been so much turmoil since Napoli left -- the talk of Tuesday was manager John Farrell's job security -- he was unsurprised.

"You got to have thick skin to play here," Napoli said. "You're expected to win a championship every single year. But that's what I loved about playing here, is that people were on you. For me, I loved it. A lot of people probably couldn't do it.

"I knew it in my heart that I went out there and I played as hard as I possibly could every single time . . . I know you're not going to be perfect and live up to everyone."

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.