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Rays notes: Fatigue not factor in defensive meltdown

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Published:   |   Updated: October 5, 2013 at 01:23 AM

BOSTON — Friday was the Rays’ fourth game in their fourth city in the past six days. It was the first of those four games that would not end the season with a loss.

Understandable, then, if the Rays lost their edge against the Red Sox, especially after the defense came undone in the fourth inning of what became a 12-2 loss at Fenway Park.

“Can’t say we’re mentally exhausted,” LF Sean Rodriguez said. “Physically probably more than anything just because traveling here and there just to play the games. It’s definitely good knowing the game wasn’t a must-win, but this is the postseason. You can’t really necessarily say any game isn’t a must-win.”

Momentum can be huge in a best-of-five series, though momentum is usually tied to the starting pitcher, and the Rays have LHP David Price going today. Because of that, and because of the way his team has bounced back all season, manager Joe Maddon said he doesn’t expect Friday’s loss to linger into Game 2.

“Twenty-four hours can make a huge difference,” Maddon said. “That’s just one game, baby. That’s just one. We’ll be back (today), I promise you. We’ll be ready to play. We will not be affected mentally by (Friday’s) game.”

Monster of a time

Rodriguez had an eventful game playing in front of the fabled Green Monster, the 37-foot wall that stretches across left field and is full of nooks and crannies created by the scoreboard.

Rodriguez made a diving catch to rob Jonny Gomes of a second-inning hit, but he couldn’t keep a trio of doubles from ricocheting past him and back toward the infield.

Afterwards, Rodriguez said, “It’s called a monster for a reason, right?”

Will Middlebrooks, Mike Napoli and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each took aim at the wall.

“The wall obviously can play its way on some people,” Rodriguez said. “It did to them on that Kelly Johnson (triple) in the last inning as well. They’re used to it, being out here every day.”

Strike three but not out

A big play in Boston’s five-run fourth inning was the strike three on Jacoby Ellsbury that C Jose Lobaton failed to catch.

The Red Sox led 4-2 at that point, but LHP Matt Moore appeared to finally be out of the inning when he got Ellsbury swinging at the third strike. But the ball got past Lobaton and reached the backstop. Ellsbury was safe at first and Middlebrooks, who was on second base, moved to third, from where he scored on a single by Shane Victorino.

“I’ve got no excuse. I’ve got to catch that ball,” Lobaton said.

Running late

Ellsbury singled to start the eighth inning and stole second base with the Red Sox up by six. Maddon said he did not have a problem with that.

“No I don’t. That’s their prerogative,” he said. “I’ve never been one to use that term ‘embarrassed.’ If we are, it’s our fault.”

Noteworthy

Before the game the Red Sox honored the victims and first responders of the Boston Marathon bombing. ... Ben Zobrist extended his postseason hitting streak to nine games with his fourth-inning home run ... Moore allowed the most runs (eight) by a Rays starter in a postseason game. His seven earned runs are tied with James Shields, who allowed seven in Game 2 of the 2011 ALDS in Texas.

Roger Mooney

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