Price, Rays blank Red SoxAug 18, 2011 - 4:07 AM
B.J. Upton and Evan Longoria hit solo home runs for the Rays, who won the last two games of this three-game series after capturing the nightcap of doubleheader on Tuesday.
Stifled by good starting pitching, the Red Sox had three hits or fewer in each of the three games.
"Leaving this place today, our guys know we can beat the Red Sox, know they can beat the Yankees and vice versa," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It's up to us to go out there and prove we belong in the playoffs again this year."
Price (11-10) was the latest to stifle baseball's highest-scoring offense entering the game, allowing three walks and striking out six to earn just his third win since June 22.
Kyle Farnsworth pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish off the shutout -- the first Rays reliever used in the series -- sending the Red Sox to their fourth loss in five games, but keeping them a half-game behind the New York Yankees for first place in the AL East.
The Yankees lost in Kansas City later Wednesday.
"We didn't swing the bats real good the whole series," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "They pitched very well. We didn't have a whole lot to show for it."
John Lackey (11-9) suffered his first loss since July 4 after giving up four runs -- three earned -- on six hits in 6 2/3 innings. The right-hander, who struck out seven and walked three, had won each of his last six decisions.
The Rays opened a 1-0 lead in the first inning and never lost control of the game. It was a sloppy start for the scuffling Red Sox.
Johnny Damon hit a one-out single and went to second base when right fielder Darnell McDonald misplayed the ball. Damon made it to third on Lackey's wild pitch before scoring on Ben Zobrist's ground out.
Upton yanked Lackey's 0-1 changeup over the Green Monster in left leading off the fourth inning, while Longoria drove his 3-0 fastball over the wall with two outs in the fifth to make it 3-0.
Tampa Bay took aim at the left field wall again in the seventh, when Zobrist poked a double off it to score Kelly Shoppach and knock Lackey out of the game after 125 pitches. Alfredo Aceves came in with runners on second and third and got Casey Kotchman on a ground out to keep the Rays lead at 4-0.
Hoping to build on the complete games of James Shields and Jeff Niemann in the doubleheader, Price entered the game just 2-4 in his previous nine starts, including 1-3 in his last five.
But he threw 76 of his 116 pitches for strikes and didn't allow a run for the first time since pitching seven shutout innings against Cleveland on May 27.
His last pitch was a 96 mph fastball to strike out Adrian Gonzalez swinging to end the eighth inning.
"Price is pretty good. A lot of velocity, movement, changeup. A lot to not like if you're in our uniform," said Francona.
The Rays, meanwhile, improved to 7-2 in their last nine games, including 3-2 in their past five against the Yankees and Red Sox.
The Red Sox stranded six runners on base, including two in the first inning when Kevin Youkilis grounded into a double play with teammates on first and second.
Jacoby Ellsbury walked in the third inning and was stranded in scoring position after stealing second base. He tripled leading off the sixth but was caught in a rundown between third and home after Gonzalez hit a ball back to the mound.
The Red Sox played their third straight game without injured designated hitter David Ortiz, who said he hopes to miss "no more than a week" while recovering from bursitis...Boston is headed on an eight-game road trip against Kansas City and Texas beginning Thursday, while the Rays will return home for a seven-game stretch that starts Friday against Seattle...Upton hit his 17th homer of the season and Longoria his 19th.
- TAMPA BAY: 4
Aug 17 4:36 PM
- Ben Zobrist doubled to left scoring Kelly Shoppach with two out. On the play, Evan Longoria advances to third. Runners on second and third and Casey Kotchman due up.
Rays 4, Red Sox 0 Top 7, 2 OutsAug 17 3:44 PM
- Evan Longoria two-out, solo Home Run (19) to left. Ben Zobrist due up.
Rays 3, Red Sox 0 Top 5, 2 OutsAug 17 3:44 PM
- B.J. Upton lead-off Home Run (17) to left. Matt Joyce due up.
Rays 2, Red Sox 0 Top 4, 0 OutsAug 17 3:44 PM
- Ben Zobrist grounded out second to first scoring Johnny Damon with two out. On the play, Evan Longoria advances to second. Runner on second and Casey Kotchman due up.
Rays 1, Red Sox 0 Top 1, 2 OutsAug 17 1:46 PM
- TAMPA BAY: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Aug 17 1:36 PM
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