ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The first game of the Red Sox road trip began with such promise. It soon went downhill, quickly.
A three-run homer from David Ortiz gave the slumping Sox a 3-0 lead against undefeated Matt Moore just four batters into the game, but the Boston offense was almost entirely shut down thereafter in a dispiriting 5-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
The loss was the 9th in the last 11 games for the Red Sox.
The Red Sox had just one hit after Ortiz's belt -- a one-out double from Stephen Drew in the fifth.
John Lackey (1-4) retired the first seven hitters in succession, but after working out of a two-out bases-loaded jam in the third, things fell apart for the Red Sox starter in the fourth.
A bloop, opposite-field double from Luke Scott scored one and Jose Molina drove in two others with a single to center. It all came unraveled when a two-out routine pop-up fell between first baseman Mike Napoli and second baseman Dustin Pedroia as two more runs crossed the plate.
Lackey was gone in the fifth. Four Red Sox relievers combined to provide 3 2/3 scoreless innings, but with the Sox unable to muster anything offensively after the first, it didn't much matter.
STAR OF THE GAME: Matt Moore
After allowing three runs before he could record his second out, Moore found himself and blanked the Red Sox through the sixth inning to improve to 7-0.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jose Molina
Molina had a big two-run single in the five-run fourth and also added a single in the third, a sacrifice in the sixth and a double in the eighth.
GOAT OF THE GAME: Mike Napoli
Napoli was 0-for-4 at the plate with three strikeouts, but his biggest failing came in the field when he couldn't find a two-out pop-up against the Tropicana Field roof, resulting in two runs scoring for the Rays.
TURNING POINT: John Lackey was an out away from getting out of the fourth in a 3-3 tie, but the routine pop-up down the first base line dropped in, delivering the final two runs of the night for either team.
BY THE NUMBERS: The Rays scored more runs in the fourth inning (five) than they did in the entire three-game series (three) in Boston back in mid-April.
QUOTE OF NOTE: "That's a play I should have made and I didn't. I feel bad because John (Lackey) made the pitch he wanted and got the guy to pop up. It's a tie ballgame (then) and he probably would have pitched a little longer.'' Mike Napoli on failing to catch the pop-up by Matt Joyce in thge fourth inning.