BOSTON - After averaging nearly six runs a game over their previous four contests, the Red Sox offense fizzled out Thursday afternoon, mustering just six hits, while stranding 11 runners, in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first game of day-night doubleheader.
The Rays got a homer from David DeJesus in the third and then used a double and three walks by starter Jake Peavy to scratch out another run in the fourth.
Tampa Bay had just three hits for the game.
A leadoff single by Dustin Pedroia in the seventh put the potential tying run on base. David Ortiz blasted a double off The Wall, but on a nicely executed relay, Pedroia was cut down at the plate. The Red Sox challenged the call, but with the replay ruled inconclusive -- it was unclear whether Pedroia ever touched the plate -- the out stood.
Third-base coach Brian Butterfield was ejected for arguing the call.
Mike Napoli then fanned to strand Ortiz at second. The Red Sox were just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
Starter Cesar Ramos gave the Rays 4 2/3 innings and the Tampa Bay bullpen took it from there, with four relievers combinining to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings.
The Sox hinted at a big inning in the first as Jonny Gomes singled home Pedroia and two walks filled the bases. But Will Middlebrooks left them loaded with a flyout to right.
They didn't get another hit until the sixth, having wasted two two-out walks in the fifth inning.
STAR OF THE GAME: David DeJesus
DeJesus homered in the top of the third to tie the score, then worked a bases-loaded walk off Jake Peavy in the fourth to force in the only other Tampa run of the game.
HONORABLE MENTION: Rays bullpen
Four Rays relievers - Brandon Gomes, Jake McGee, Joel Peralta and closer Grant Balfour -- combined to throw 4 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing one walk and five hits in relief of starter Cesar Gomes.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Mike Napoli
Napoli leads the Red Sox with 15 RBI, but failed in a couple of opportunitiesThursday afternoon. After drawing walks in each of his first two plate appearances, he fouled out to end the fifth, stranding two runners, then fanned to leave David Ortiz, representing the tying run, at second in the seventh.
TURNING POINT: Dustin Pedroia, trying to score from first on a Wall double by Ortiz, was called out on a close play at the plate. The Red Sox challenged the call, but replay officials maintained that replays were inconclusive. An overturned call would have given the Sox the tying run.
BY THE NUMBERS: The game marked the seventh time the Red Sox had a chance to even their record at .500 for the season -- only to lose and drop two games under.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "We as a whole, MLB, we've got to get our act together because this is a joke." Jake Peavy, expressing his frustration over MLB's new replay system.