By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
If the Red Sox were hoping to set the tone for their showdown series with the Tampa Bay Rays, they sure had a funny way of going about it Thursday night.
In the first game of a four game set, the Red Sox fell flat, thumped by the Rays, 9-2. The loss moved the Rays back to within three games of the Sox in the standings with 13 games remaining.
It was Tampa's sixth straight win over the Red Sox this season and fourth in the last seven days following a sweep at Tropicana Field last weekend.
Evan Longoria's three-run homer into the home bullpen in right in the third inning was all the offense the Rays would need. Longoria's belt came off starter Kyle Weiland, who lasted just three-plus innings.
Casey Kotchman added a two-run homer off Franklin Morales in the sixth while B.J. Upton belted a two-run shot off Matt Albers in the seventh.
The Red Sox first run came in the third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a single, to third on a wild pitch and home on a groundout by Adrian Gonzalez.
They added a second in the ninth when a Darnell McDonald single up the middle scored Joey Gathright.
The loss was the 11th in the last 14 games for the slumping Sox.
Sean McAdam can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.
Forget that cryptic Tweet to the Globe. David Ortiz isn't walking through that door, fans. At least not as a player.
"My playing time has already expired," Ortiz told ESPN Deportes. "Baseball is not something that you wake up today and you say, 'I'll play tomorrow.' Baseball is something that carries a lot of sacrifice, a lot of preparation, and there is a reason why we train the entire year to play it, practice every day, especially during the season, because it is a sport of consistency."
No one really thought he was contemplating a comeback, but last week he Tweeted this . . .
. . . and that raised hopes that he'd changed his mind.
Facing a 1 p.m. Friday deadline to avoid arbitration, the Red Sox reportedly agreed to a one-year, $3.6 million deal with center field Jackie Bradley Jr., and also avoided hearings with six other players.
Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, utilityman Brock Holt, pitchers Joe Kelly, Robbie Ross Jr., Tyler Thornburgh and catcher Sandy Leon also agreed to one-year deals.
Terms of the deals were not announced.
It leaves left-handers Fernando Abad and Drew Pomeranz as the only arbitration-eligible Red Sox without a deal.