ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays are running out of explanations for a frustrating stretch that’s dumped them into a deep hole in the AL East.
The last-place team lost for the 12th time in 13 games on Tuesday night, failing to take advantage of early opportunities to score runs and unable to stop Boston from pulling away late in an 8-2 Red Sox victory.
One night after snapping an 11-game losing streak by pounding out a season-high 18 hits in a 13-7 win, the Rays went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position against Rick Porcello, whose ability to minimize damage during a fourth-inning jam proved to be the difference.
The Rays loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but only scored once — with Porcello’s third walk of the inning forcing in the run. The Boston right-hander, who had not walked more than two batters in any of his previous 19 starts, wiggled off the hook by getting Logan Forsythe to fly to right field and fanning Hank Conger and Brad Miller.
“Ultimately, it came down to the fourth inning,” manager Kevin Cash said. “We didn’t get it done when we had an opportunity.”
Porcello (9-2) and reliever Junichi Tazawa didn’t allow another baserunner until Miller’s solo homer trimmed Tampa Bay’s deficit to 6-2 with two outs in the seventh.
Travis Shaw homered and drove in five runs for the third time this season for Boston, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
“That fourth inning, it was a huge spot to get out of that jam,” Shaw said. “A lot of things haven’t been going right, but I don’t think our confidence or our faith in everybody in this locker room was swayed one bit.”
Shaw had a solo homer, a two-run double and a two-run single. David Ortiz continued to climb the career RBI list with a third-inning double, and Jackie Bradley Jr. and Hanley Ramirez also drove in runs for Boston.
“We had a very good offensive night,” manager John Farrell said. “Travis Shaw hitting the home run kind of jumpstarted us, and a big night he continued to have.”
Shaw homered in the second inning. Ortiz’s hit gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead against Chris Archer (4-11), who’s gone from being an All-Star a year ago to leading the major leagues in losses this season.
“Overall, I felt like I pitched a decent game,” Archer said. “But it was not good enough to get the win, so I’m not very happy with it.”
Archer, who allowed four runs and seven hits over 6 1/3 innings, fell to 1-8 lifetime against the Red Sox, who’ve won eight straight decisions against the right-hander.
Rays: OF Corey Dickerson (sore left thumb) missed his third straight but was available to pinch hit. … RHP Alex Cobb (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to throw a batting practice session Thursday.
Rays closer Alex Colome was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right medial biceps tendinitis. The move was retroactive to June 19, so the right-hander is eligible to come off the DL on Monday. “We’re not too concerned,” said manager Kevin Cash, who plans to mix-and-match late in games with Colome sidelined.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (8-4, 4.68 ERA) starts the series finale against his former team. The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner ranks among the league leaders in strikeouts, innings pitched and wins. He has an AL-leading four outings with double-digit strikeouts, most by a Boston pitcher in a single season since Jon Lester had seven in 2010.
Rays: LHP Matt Moore is 3-4 with a 5.40 ERA in eight career appearances against Boston, including seven starts. He’s 1-2 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
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