BOSTON -- Kevin Cash told reporters that being efficient would be the key for Jake Faria in the right-hander's Saturday start against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
What the Rays' manager hoped for and what the Rays' manager got from Faria differed dramatically in the Rays' 10-3 loss, extending their skid to seven games, the team's longest such streak since dropping eight straight in July 2016.
Faria worked with a 2-0 lead before taking the mound thanks to Brad Miller's two-run double, but the situation digressed from there. The Red Sox scored four in the first and four in the second -- coming on a two-out grand slam by Xander Bogaerts. The walk to Rafael Devers that followed chased Faria after 1 2/3 innings and 73 pitches (34 strikes).
Not since Mike Pelfrey of the Mets needed 74 pitches to get through 1 1/3 innings against the D-backs on July 19, 2010, had a Major League pitcher felt similar frustration to what Faria experienced.
Faria struggled during Spring Training before finishing with a six-inning, no-hit performance against the Tigers in his final outing. Cash felt as though Faria got reacquainted with some of those early spring problems on Saturday.
"A lot of what we saw early on in Spring Training," Cash said. "... Got better there at the end, but it kind of cycled back in this last start. … A lot of deep counts. Basically having to come into the heart of the zone to a lot of good hitters when the count's in their [favor], and they burn us."
Faria, who walked five and struck out none, called his outing frustrating and embarrassing.
"I'm in the big leagues and I can't throw strikes to anybody," Faria said. "Three-one count to every hitter. That's embarrassing. That's the No. 1 word I would use."
Faria could not say precisely what his problem was, but he said he's never had a Major League outing like Saturday's.
"Every game before this, I've been able kind of figure it out and grind through it," Faria said. "This was one of those days where I couldn't figure it out. That's on me for not taking a step back and taking a deep breath, instead of letting everything speed up on me and not make any adjustments."
Faria believes he has the confidence and wherewithal to correct the problem.
"I've done it before… in the past," Faria said. "... I'm sure I'll figure it out."
Red Sox starter Rick Porcello pitched like the antithesis of Faria, retiring 17 consecutive Rays hitters at one point before leaving after 7 1/3 innings with his second win of the season in tow.
"We got to him early on," Cash said. "They answered back with four, and that seemed to lock him in. He was tough. A lot of soft contact. But we've seen him enough to know he's a good pitcher."
Bogaerts knocked a two-run double to left in his first at-bat against Faria, then belted the grand slam, which soared over the Green Monster in left-center and onto Lansdowne Street outside Fenway Park. The grand slam was the second of his career. The six RBIs by Bogaerts matched a career high.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Glare hurts Hechy: In the first, the Red Sox already had runners on first and second and nobody out when Hanley Ramirez hit a little looper into short left field. Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria went back for what looked to be a routine out, but he was instead completely blinded by the sun and the ball dropped in for a hit. A four-run rally ensued, and it was a tone-setter for the Rays. More >
Saving the bullpen: Infielder Daniel Robertson finished off the Rays' relief effort with a scoreless eighth that saw him retire the Red Sox in order on 11 pitches, seven of which were strikes. Robertson became the eighth Rays position player all time to make a pitching appearance. The Rays have a scheduled "Bullpen Day" on Sunday, so his effort was appreciated.
"It was fun, coming out of the bullpen in Fenway Park, you're in the big leagues, and they've got 'Sweet Caroline' playing," Robertson said, "and I'm going up there to pitch for the first time since I was a senior in high school."
"It's funny and everything after the fact, but it's pretty nerve-wracking when they're out there. The last thing you want to do is get a position player hurt. They're not used to having balls hit at them. ... He threw strikes, he got popups, and nothing came back at him." -- Cash, on Robertson's relief effort
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rays are the 14th team since 1908 to win on Opening Day and lose their next seven games. The 2001 Devil Rays were the last American League team to do so. The '05 Rockies won on Opening Day then lost eight in a row.
The Rays wrap up their three-game series against the Red Sox at 1:05 p.m. ET on Sunday, using their third "Bullpen Day" of the season. Andrew Kittredge will start for the Rays and will be tasked to pitch three or four innings before he's succeeded by a handful of other relievers.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.