BOSTON -- The Rays got what they wanted Saturday night, a baseball game with the Red Sox that was stripped of all of what Evan Longoria called the “extracurricular” stuff that turned Friday’s game into another dark chapter in the history of this rivalry.
“It was really nice to go out there and play without a bunch of garbage,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
No warnings were issued before the game. The umps told both Maddon and Red Sox manager John Farrell they would monitor the game and react accordingly if any extracurricular stuff surfaced.
It did not.
What showed up, though, was Jake Odorizzi’s habit of struggling the second time through the order and Red Sox rookie Rubby De La Rosa.
Odorizzi couldn’t finish the fourth inning, and De La Rosa held the Rays to four hits over seven as the Red Sox rolled to a 7-1 victory at Fenway Park.
That’s five straight losses for the Rays, who are now 10 games under .500 and saddled with the worst record in the American League. They are also 10 games behind the first-place Blue Jays.
The Rays are 23-33, which is their worst record this deep into a season since they were 22-34 in 2006.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox have won six straight and counting, and that actually gives the Rays hope since it was the Red Sox who left Tropicana Field last Sunday with a 10-game losing streak.
“And they’ve won six,” Odorizzi said. “Once we get back to winning, things will work themselves out.”
De La Rosa, making his first start in the big leagues since July 31, 2011, became the first Red Sox pitcher to record eight strikeouts and not walk a batter or allow a run in their Fenway debut.
“We’re not swinging the bats great, but their pitcher was outstanding,” Maddon said. “You got to give him a lot of credit. A high-velocity fastball with a Bugs Bunny change-up, great command of everything. He was outstanding. You can bemoan whatever, but he was really good.”
It was another forgettable night for the Rays in a season filling up quickly with unforgettable nights.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar (tight left quad) and right fielder Wil Myers (sore right wrist) spent the game getting treatment. Catcher Ali Solis, making his first big-league start, was struck in the face during his first at-bat with a pitch that bounced off home plate then the knee of Red sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski before striking Solis on his right cheek. He left the game with a nasal contusion.
“It was weird,” he said. “Bad luck. I guess that’s baseball. It happens.”
Odorizzi used the same theory to explain the Rays’ struggles.
“We haven’t really just clicked, that’s the thing,” Odorizzi said. “When we’re going good, we’re great. But right now we can’t match up hitting and pitching. One day we’ll hit well and have a bad pitch day, and one day we’ll pitch well and give up one or two. It’s just baseball. I think we’ll get out of it. It’s just a tough time for us right now. We’re struggling, and it seems like everyone else in the division is winning and pushing us farther back.”