BOSTON -- Koji Uehara has been so consistent, so reliable, that when he occasionally falters, it's hard to believe.
Uehara, who gave up a homer in a relief appearance but held off Toronto last Saturday, wasn't as fortunate Wednesday night. Entering a tie game in the top of the ninth, Uehara's second pitch was hit over everything in left by Yunel Escobar, giving the Tampa Bay Rays a 6-5 victory.
The closer had held Escobar hitless in 11 previous at-bats before allowing the homer.
"I just left the ball up,'' said Uehara, 0-1, who allowed a homer at Fenway for the first time since last June 30. "It happens every year - April, May...I think even last year, I didn't pitch that well. I think I'm just pounding the strike zone too much.''
"He's human,'' said Mike Napoli. "It's unbelievable what he's been able to do. Stuff like that happens. He's going to keep going. He's a good pitcher. We have faith in him and we'll support him.''
Uehara, who had a scare with shoulder stiffness last month, insisted that health was not an issue for him.
"Physically, I'm fine,'' he said. "If I wasn't feeling physically fine, I wouldn't be pitching.''
"Once that spell where we stayed away from him for three or four days (passed),'' said John Farrell, "he's come back and has been physically fine. He has not mentioned anything as far as restrictions physically.''