The Red Sox fell to the Rays 4-3 in both teams’ Grapefruit League opener at JetBlue Park Saturday afternoon. With the game tied at two in the eighth inning, Rays first baseman Leslie Anderson belted a two-run homerun off of Sox reliever Oscar Villarreal, which proved to be the game-winning runs. Xander Bogaerts had an RBI single in the ninth, but it was the only run the Red Sox could plate.
Replacing starter Stephen Drew midway through the game, shortstop Jose Iglesias hit the Red Sox’ first homerun of the spring, a two-run shot in the seventh. Will Middlebrooks, Jarrod Saltalamacchia (double) and Jackie Bradley Jr. all hit safely as well. Reliever Alex Wilson pitched very well in his one inning of work, striking out the side with a two-out single mixed in.
The Red Sox are next in action tomorrow afternoon taking on the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter.
What they will be saying: Starter John Lackey allowed one run after loading the bases with no outs in his only inning of work. Fans will certainly be critical of Lackey, but did you really expect perfection in his first outing following Tommy John surgery? It was a good first step for Lackey.
Follow Metro Boston Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84.