Sox skid at 8 as Rays walk-off with 1-0 win

Sox skid at 8 as Rays walk-off with 1-0 win
May 23, 2014, 10:45 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Changing venues didn't change the results for the Red Sox.

After going winless on their recent six-game homestand, the Sox began a five-game trip with yet another loss, their eighth in a row.

Pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa launched a double into the gap in right-center, scoring Desmond Jennings from second and giving the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 walk-off victory with one out in the bottom of the ninth on Friday night at Tropicana Field.

The loss was charged to reliever Andrew Miller, who has been the losing pitcher in the past three Red Sox road defeats -- all of them walk-offs. The winning hit was given up by Burke Badenhop, but Miller had walked Jennings and was responsible for him when he scored.

The Sox punted a good chance in the top of the ninth when A.J. Pierzynski led with a line single to right. Strangely, Pierzynski wasn't lifted for a pinch-runner and that decision bit the Sox when Tampa Bay third baseman Evan Longoria fielded a bunt try from Shane Victorino and cut down Pierzynski, who didn't bother to slide, at second.

Sox starter John Lackey was brilliant over seven innings (plus a batter), allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out three.

The Rays threatened in the sixth with a single by Evan Longoria and a walk by Matt Joyce, giving them runners at first and second with one out.

But Lackey dug in and got Wil Myers to hit into a fielder's choice, then retired James Loney on a groundout with the potential go-ahead run at third base.

After rapping out three hits in the first two innings, the Red Sox were shut down by Archer, who struck out 11 in six innings.

Boston had its best scoring chance in the fifth when Brock Holt, installed into the leadoff spot for the night, lashed a leadoff double into the right field corner.

But Archer struck out both Xander Bogaerts and Dustin Pedroia, and after working around a walk to David Ortiz, got Mike Napoli on a liner to short.

***

STAR OF THE GAME: Chris Archer
Archer didn't factor into the decision, but he manhandled the Red Sox for six innings, shutting them out while allowing just four hits and striking out 11.

HONORABLE MENTION: Evan Longoria
Longoria, who had been hitting under .200 over the past month, broke out with three hits and also turned in the defensive play of the game when he fielded a bunt from Shane Victorino and gunned down lead runner A.J. Pierzynski, representing the go-ahead run, in the top of the ninth.

GOAT OF THE GAME: A.J. Pierzysnki
Pierzynski can't help that he's pitifully slow, but he failed to slide into second base when he was thrown out trying to advance on a bunt in the top of the ninth. Then, in the bottom of the inning, he made a poor throw on a pitchout as Desmond Jennings stole second and came around to score the winning run.

TURNING POINT: The Red Sox had a chance to do some damage in the middle innings when Brock Holt slammed a leadoff double into the corner in right, but didn't move off second as the heart of the order failed to deliver him.

BY THE NUMBERS: The last three Red Sox road losses have all been walk-offs and Andrew Miller has been the losing pitcher in all three.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I was just trying to get there as fast as I could. If I slide, I actually think I would be going slower. If I slide or not, I'm out either way." --Pierzynski on his decision to go into second base standing up.