John Lackey started the game strong, retiring the first seven hitters, before things unraveled quickly in the fourth where he allowed five runs. After allowing three runs to tie the game, Matt Joyce hit a towering pop up to the right side of the infield with two outs where Mike Napoli lost the ball in the lights/cat walk and it fell in fair territory allowing two runs to score and for the Rays to take a 5-3 lead. Lackey finished going 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and striking out three. His ERA is now 4.05.
The Red Sox did get solid relief from their bullpen as Andrew Miller, Clayton Mortensen, Craig Breslow and Alex Wilson combined to pitch 3 2/3 scoreless innings following Lackey.
Offensively the team struggled once again, only finishing with three hits and only one coming after the first inning.
The teams will continue their three-game set tomorrow night (7:10, NESN) where Jon Lester will take to the mound and the Rays will counter with David Price.
What they'll be saying: The Red Sox have now lost nine of their last 11 games and just can't seem to get anything going of late. Once again the team couldn't get anything done with runners in scoring position going 1-for-4 on the night -- the only hit was Ortiz' homer in the first. The team is now four for their last 40 with runners in scoring position in their last four games ... Lackey's record is now 1-4 in his five starts, with his lone win coming against the Astros. While he's pitched better than the record would indicate, he's only pitched more than five innings twice in the five starts. Now that he seems to be fully 100 percent following his injury, he needs to step up his game and provide some help to Lester and Clay Buchholz.