Everything unravels for Red Sox in fourth inning

Everything unravels for Red Sox in fourth inning
May 14, 2013, 11:45 pm
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When a team is slumping -- as the Red Sox, losers of nine of their last 11 most assuredly are -- it seems one bad inning can turn a game the wrong way.
Such was the case in the fourth inning last night at Tropicana Field.
The Red Sox carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fourth, having reached Tampa starter Matt Moore in the first. But it all came unglued quickly in the fourth, when the Tampa Bay Rays batted around and scored five times, enough for them to post a 5-3 win.
"That," concluded manager John Farrell, "was an odd inning, to say the least."
With two on, a defensive half-swing by Luke Scott resulted in a run-scoring bloop double. A two-run single from Jose Molina evened the score at 3-3, but after another single by Yunel Escobar and a flyout by Desmond Jennings, John Lackey was an out away from getting out of the inning.
He seemed to get it, too, when Matt Joyce got jammed on a pitch and lofted it toward first base.
But Mike Napoli had trouble picking up the ball, and with second baseman Dustin Pedroia racing in to help, the ball fell between the two as both baserunners scored and the Rays seized a 5-3 lead.
"In that white roof," said Farrell, "it looked like Mike just overran it a little bit and didn't get a good read on it and it ends up staying fair for two runs and the difference in the game tonight."
"It's frustrating, for sure," acknowledged Lackey, who was gone in the next inning and dropped to 1-4. "I made a pitch and didn't get an out."
Pedroia blamed himself for the ball falling in.
"I've played a lot of games in this field," Pedroia said. "I ran to it, took my eye off it and tried to find it again and couldn't find it. It's probably an easier play for me because a lefthanded hitter hit it and I had a better angle.
"Napoli hasn't played many games in the field here and I've played a lot, so it's my responsibility to help him out in those situations and catch the ball."
Napoli, however, was having none of it.
"I didn't make the play," he said. "I saw it up, saw it and overran it. My first read was to stay back and then I started running in and overran it. It's a white roof. I saw the ball and I overran it. That's a play I should have made and I didn't.
"I feel bad because John was out there, he got the pitch he wanted and got the guy to pop up. (It would have remained a) tie ball game and he probably would have pitched a little longer. It's tough. We're trying to turn things around and it's a big play. I didn't make it and they scored two runs off it."