Rays' slide continues with loss to Red Sox
Odorizzi gives up five early runs as club drops fifth straight
BOSTON -- Teams heading in opposite directions met Saturday night, and each continued on its respective path as the Red Sox thumped the Rays, 7-1 to claim the weekend series at Fenway Park.
Since sweeping the Red Sox last weekend at Tropicana Field, the Rays have lost five in a row to fall to 10 games under .500 at 23-33. They remain in last place of the American League East, trailing the first-place Blue Jays by 10 games.
At the other end of the spectrum are the fourth-place Red Sox, who are on a roll. After suffering through a 10-game losing streak, they are now enjoying a six-game winning streak.
Tempers flared Friday night, resulting in four Red Sox being ejected from the game. Hoping to head off any further trouble, umpire crew chief Ted Barrett spoke to both managers before Saturday's game.
"We had a meeting," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "[Red Sox manager] John [Farrell] and I met with the umpires and I thought Ted Barrett did a wonderful job of explaining the situation and I'm glad we played baseball tonight.
"There were no advance warnings. He was going to deal with what he saw on a moment-by-moment basis, which I thought was great. Again, I'm just glad we played ball tonight."
The Red Sox used offense and pitching to retaliate against the Rays.
Brock Holt got Boston started in the third with a two-run homer -- the first long ball of his Major League career -- off Rays starter Jake Odorizzi.
"The home run was a 3-2 pitch," Odorizzi said. "The guy hasn't hit a home run all year. I'd throw the same pitch again. Eight, nine times out of 10, he might not hit it out. So I can't really do anything about that. He hit it perfect and that's just how it goes sometimes."
Mike Carp added a sacrifice fly in the inning for a 3-0 Red Sox lead.
The Red Sox got busy again in the fourth when Jonathan Herrera's bunt to Odorizzi scored Grady Sizemore from third. Cesar Ramos took over for Odorizzi and allowed an RBI single to A.J. Pierzynski that pushed the lead to 5-0.
Odorizzi, who had posted quality starts in two of his previous three outings, took his seventh loss after allowing five runs on six hits and a walk while striking out six in 3 1/3 innings. Rays starters have gone 13 starts without posting a win.
Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first home run of the season in the fifth, connecting off Ramos on a two-run shot to right-center field to make it 7-0.
The Red Sox added Rubby De La Rosa to the roster on Saturday, and the hard-throwing right-hander made his first Major League start since July 31, 2011. Based on the way he pitched, he will likely get more starts.
De La Rosa allowed no runs on four hits and no walks while striking out eight in seven innings to claim the win.
"We're not swinging the bats great, but their guy was outstanding," Maddon said. "You have to give him a lot of credit. A high-velocity fastball with a Bugs Bunny changeup. Great command of everything. He was outstanding."
Farrell also praised De La Rosa's changeup.
"The biggest difference from a year ago to what we saw tonight was just an outstanding changeup," Farrell said. "A number of swing and miss [pitches]. Very good fastball. A lot of strikes. But the changeup was really the separator for him tonight."
Alex Wilson took over for De La Rosa to start the eighth. Kevin Kiermaier greeted the right-hander with a blast off the center-field wall that ricocheted off the wall and into the face of the leaping Bradley. The Red Sox center fielder fell to the ground while Kiermaier raced around the bases for an inside-the-park home run. Bradley remained in the game after he was tended to by a team trainer.
Not since the Devil Rays finished the 2007 season at 66-96 has Tampa Bay been as many games under .500 as they are now. Despite the direction the Rays have been heading on their 0-5 road trip, Maddon believes a turnaround is just around the corner.
"I totally believe we're going to be back in this in a moment," Maddon said. "And I totally believe we'll be there at the end. I'm not just saying that to try and sound good or supportive. We just have to keep on doing this day by day. And it's going to come back to us. And I believe that. There's a lot more offense in this group and it's going to show up."