BOSTON -- Erik Bedard gave the Tampa Bay Rays a start they could win with. This time, the loss belongs to the bullpen.
“One bad inning,” manager Joe Maddon said.
That bad inning was the sixth when Brandon Gomes and Juan Carlos Oviedo allowed the Boston Red Sox to break open a close game en route to a 7-4 victory on a cold night at Fenway Park.
The Rays have lost six of their last seven games and are 1-4 through the first five games of this 10-game, three-city road trip.
“It makes me recall the infamous words and the sage advice of Winston Churchill: ‘When going through hell just keep on going.’ That’s what we’re going to keep on doing,” Maddon said. “It’s baseball. It’s going to come back to us.”
It appeared for a while it might come back to the Rays during the first game of this three-game series with the Red Sox.
Bedard, making his third start of the season, is finally stretched out enough to throw 110 pitches. Before the game, Maddon said he would let Bedard pitch as deep as he could.
Bedard could only go five innings, leaving after throwing 104 pitches. But he allowed just one run -- a sacrifive fly in the fifth inning -- and kept the Rays in the game.
“I was really pleased with the way he pitched,” Maddon said.
The Rays tied it at 1-1 in the sixth when Desmond Jennings doubled with one out, moved to third on a single by Matt Joyce and scored on a sacrifice fly by Evan Longoria.
Maddon liked the way Gomes matched up with the first three batters of the sixth inning -- Mike Napoli, Jonny Gomes and Xander Bogaerts.
Gomes walked the first two before getting Bogaerts to fly out to left field.
Maddon then called on Oviedo, because he liked the way Oviedo matched up with the two lefties who were coming up for the Red Sox -- A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley, Jr.
Pierzynski singled in one run. Will Middlebrooks followed with a double. So did Bradley.
“We just had an awful inning,” Maddon said.
The Rays trailed 6-1 before they could return to the dugout and with the way John Lackey was pitching (eight innings, two runs) and with the way the Rays have been hitting of late, that was an insurmountable deficit for the Rays to overcome.
Still, they tried.
Wil Myers doubled off the Green Monster in left-center field to start the inning and came home on a two-out single by Ryan Hanigan to make it a 6-2 game.
The Rays scored two more in the ninth inning to make it a three-run loss.
Still, it was the 11th time in the last 15 games that a Rays starter pitched five or fewer innings and an American League-high 14th time this season.
And, yet, that wasn’t the main problem.
As they have during this trip, the Rays found another way to lose a game.
They’ve had a ninth inning meltdown and a defensive meltdown. They suffered the wrath of Chicago White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu.
On Tuesday, it was a solid start by one of the starters added to the rotation because of an injury undone by the normally reliable Gomes and Oviedo, who’s still working his way back into game shape after missing more than year with a reconstructive elbow surgery.
‘It’s not our time right now,” Maddon said. “It’s not our moment right now, I really believe that. So keep pushing and we’ll be fine. Every team goes through this and we’re getting our little taste of it right now.”