Red Sox' streak snapped vs. Rays, 4-0


Red Sox' streak snapped vs. Rays, 4-0

By SeanMcAdam Red SoxInsider Follow @sean_mcadam
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla -- The Red Sox' mighty offense, which had averaged slightly better than nine runs in the last week and a half, ground to a halt at Tropicana Field, and with it came an end to the team's nine-game winning streak.

The Sox were held to just five hits by James Shields as the Tampa Bay Rays posted a 4-0 shutout. All five of the Boston hits -- three by Adrian Gonzalez -- were singles.

Carl Crawford, returning to Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving the Rays last December, was greeted with a mix of boos and cheers, and went hitless in three plate appearances.

Tim Wakefield pitched well, allowing just four hits over seven innings, but was saddled with his first loss since May 6.

Wakefield threw 119 pitches, the most he's thrown in a single outing since Sept. 18, 2003.

The Rays got a solo homer from Jason Ruggiano for their first run in the fifth and later added a second when, with runners on first and third and one out in the sixth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was charged with a passed ball as Evan Longoria crossed the plate.

They added two more runs off Tommy Hottovy and Alfredo Aceves in the eighth.

STAR OF THE GAME: James Shields
Shields tossed his third complete-game shutout of the season, limiting the Sox to just five hits all night -- all of them singles.

In so doing, Shields became the first American League pitcher to post three shutouts by mid-June in 17 seasons.

Wakefield got absolutely no run support, but deserved a better fate than to be left with the loss.

He limited the Rays to just two runs over seven innings and one of those was unearned, scoring on a passed ball. It was Wakefield's first loss since May 6.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Kevin Youkilis
The Sox were punchless at the plate most of the night, but Youkilis struggled more than most.

In the first, he struck out with runners at first and third. Then, in both the third and sixth, he hit into inning-ending double plays.

In all, Youkilis stranded five baserunners.

TURNING POINT: In the third inning, with runners at first and second, Youkilis hit into an inning-ending double play. After that, the Sox never put a baserunner in scoring position.

BY THE NUMBERS: Wakefield threw 119 pitches, the most he's thrown in an outing since Sept. 18, 2003.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "I'm going to try to make tomorrow feel as normal as possible. Today, I can't lie, it didn't feel like a normal day for me.'' -- Carl Crawford after returning to Tropicana Field for the first time since leaving the Rays.

Sean McAdam can be reached at Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

Red Sox celebration quickly washes away walk-off loss

NEW YORK -- It had the potential to be the most awkward celebration ever.

In the top of the ninth inning at Yankee Stadium, before their game was complete, the Red Sox became American League East champions, by virtue of one other division rival -- Baltimore -- coming back to beat another -- Toronto -- in the ninth inning.

That eliminated the Blue Jays from the division race, and made the Sox division champs.

But that ninth inning reversal of fortune was about to visit the Red Sox, too.

Craig Kimbrel faced four hitters and allowed a single and three straight walks, leading to a run. When, after 28 pitches, he couldn't get an out, he was lifted for Joe Kelly, who recorded one out, then yielded a walk-off grand slam to Mark Teixeira.

The Yankees celebrated wildly on the field, while the Red Sox trudged into the dugout, beset with mixed emotions.

Yes, they had just lost a game that seemed theirs. But they also had accomplished something that had taken 158 games.

What to do?

The Sox decided to drown their temporary sorrows in champagne.

"As soon as we got in here,'' said Jackie Bradley Jr., "we quickly got over it.''

From the top of the eighth until the start of the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox seemed headed in a conventional celebration.

A two-run, bases-loaded double by Mookie Betts and a wild pitch -- the latter enabling David Ortiz to slide into home and dislodge the ball from former teammate Tommy Layne's glove --- had given the Sox a 3-0 lead.

Koji Uehara worked around a walk to post a scoreless walk and after the top of the ninth, the Sox called on Craig Kimbrel, who had successfully closed out all but two save opportunities all season.

But Kimbrel quickly allowed a leadoff single to Brett Gardner and then began pitching as though he forgot how to throw strikes. Three straight walks resulted in a run in and the bases loaded.

Joe Kelly got an out, but then Teixeira, for the second time this week, produced a game-winning homer in the ninth. On Monday, he had homered in Toronto to turn a Blue Jays win into a loss, and now, here he was again.

It may have been a rather meaningless victory for the Yankees -- who remain barely alive for the wild card -- but it did prevent them the indignity of watching the Red Sox celebrate on their lawn.

Instead, the Sox wore the shame of the walk-off -- at least until they reached their clubhouse, where the partying began in earnest.

It had taken clubhouse attendants less than five minutes to cover the floor and lockers with plastic protective sheets. In a matter of a few more minutes, the air was filled with a mix of beer and bubbly.

President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski wore a goggles and only socks on his feet.

As the spray reached every inch of the clubhouse, David Ortiz exclaimed: "I'm going to drown in this man.''

Defeat? What defeat?