BOSTON -- All good things must come to an end, and for the Rays that meant a halt to their eight-game win streak, as they dropped the finale of their three-game series to the Red Sox, 4-3, on Sunday at Fenway Park.Though Tampa Bay's designated bullpen day was going smoothly
BOSTON -- All good things must come to an end, and for the Rays that meant a halt to their eight-game win streak, as they dropped the finale of their three-game series to the Red Sox, 4-3, on Sunday at Fenway Park.
Though Tampa Bay's designated bullpen day was going smoothly over the first five innings, they ran into a hiccup in the sixth when Boston batted around to tie the game before pushing across the winning run in the bottom of the eighth.
Rays starter Matt Andriese left in the fourth inning, after allowing just two hits on the day, with a 3-0 advantage.
"My whole plan was just to go out there and pitch as long and as quality as I possibly can," Andriese said. "It was good just to get lengthened out a little bit and have good results."
For the second straight day Denard Span hit a two-run homer, this time going out of the yard, allowing him the opportunity to trot, instead of sprint as he did with Saturday's inside-the-park one, giving Tampa Bay a 2-0 cushion in the third inning.
The Rays increased their lead the next inning when Mallex Smith drove in Brad Miller with a single, though he ended the inning soon thereafter by getting picked off at first base.
Things unraveled in the sixth inning for reliever Andrew Kittredge, who allowed the first five batters of the inning to reach base on three singles and two walks. Three of those batters scored, with the tying run coming across on a Jackie Bradley Jr. sacrifice fly to right field.
"A little uncharacteristic with the walks," Rays manager Kevin Cash said of Kittredge. "But, he's done a lot of good things for us. We'll get him back out there tomorrow."
"That's something that I pride myself on, attacking hitters and going right after guys and not walking guys," Kittredge said. "There were a lot of just-misses today. I wasn't wild by any means, but, just-misses, getting behind in the count in a big situation with a lot of runners on base. It's just something you don't want to get in the habit of doing, and today it came back and bite me."
Sergio Romo, who relieved Kittredge, did well to minimize the damage that inning and carried things over into a 1-2-3 seventh against the top of the Red Sox order.
The eighth inning saw closer Alex Colome come on to try to keep order, but J.D. Martinez led off with his fourth hit of the day, a single to right field, before coming around four batters later on a Sandy Leon single down the third-base line.
"We ended up being an inning short of pitching today," said Cash.
The Rays had come from behind in six of their eight games during the streak, and they were able to get their first two batters on base in the ninth inning, but were unable to get one more across as Boston's Craig Kimbrel shut the door, striking out the final two batters for the win.
"You look at what we did in the ninth to put pressure on Kimbrel," said Kittredge. "Right now, the clubhouse atmosphere is great. I expect us to come out tomorrow and get a win."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Span gives, and he takes away: After hitting his homer, Span helped preserve a tie ballgame late by robbing Rafael Devers of a hit that could potentially have scored Martinez. However, the Tampa Bay left fielder had other ideas, and fearlessly charged toward the Green Monster after Devers' roped shot, leaping on the warning track and making the catch as he came in contact with the wall.
"That was an unbelievable play, amazing play," said Cash. "Played it like he had spent his whole career here."
HE SAID IT
"We needed it, every bit and then some. A lot of good things came about. We saw our offense take shape a little bit and get hot. Pitchers got in a better rhythm and defensively, as advertised. … I'm proud of the guys, and we'll get back on another one. There's a lot more confidence in this room than there was 10 days ago. That's a good thing." -- Cash on his team's eight-game win streak
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
In the top of the seventh inning the Rays challenged the out calls at both second and first base on a play initially ruled a double play. After review, the call at second base was overturned as it was deemed that the fielder came off the bag before receiving the throw. The out call at first base was confirmed.
The Rays look to carry momentum into Detroit where they begin a three-game set at 7:10 p.m. ET on Monday. The Rays look to Jake Faria (1-1 6.33) to keep the good times rolling, while the Tigers send right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (1-0, 7.91 ERA) to the hill. Tampa Bay will be looking to make it five straight series wins, and three straight away from home.
Craig Forde is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.