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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Rays Hold Red Sox To Three Hits For Third Straight Game At Fenway Park

Well it's a good thing that the Tampa Bay Rays will likely miss the playoffs this season. I can say with a straight face that they pose a much bigger threat to the Boston Red Sox than the New York Yankees because of their stellar top of the rotation.

Buoyed by the third consecutive outstanding start by their pitchers, the Rays (66-56) blanked the Red Sox (74-48) 4-0 this afternoon at Fenway Park. It helped them take the series 2-1 and move to 6-5 against Boston so far this season (seven more meetings remain).

Boston was held to three hits in each of the three games against Tampa Bay yesterday (doubleheader) and today. That's the first time since 1974 that the Red Sox have been held to three hits three games in a row.

Following James Shields and Jeff Niemann's lead, David Price (11-10) completely shutdown Boston's lineup that is without David Ortiz (heel) for the next 10 days. Price went eight innings with three walks and six strikeouts.

It was a perfect day weather wise and a rare afternoon start but the fans that were lucky enough to get a ticket had to pay their debt by sitting through the usual torture of a John Lackey (11-9) start. By his terrible standards, he wasn't bad at all but Price vs. Lackey is a matchup Boston will never win.

In 6.2 innings, Lackey allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts.

Ben Zobrist's (2 hits, 2 RBIs) ground out in the first scored Johnny Damon (2 hits) with Tampa Bay's first run. B.J. Upton hit a solo homer in the fourth, Evan Longoria followed suit with a solo bomb in the fifth and Zobrist rounded it out with an RBI double in the seventh.

The Royals did the Red Sox a favor by somehow beating the Yankees tonight in a game which Bruce Chen started. New York still leads Boston for first-place in the AL East by half a game.

After three days at home (three games in two days) including the off-day, the Red Sox go back on the road for one of their most difficult trips of the season: four in Kansas City followed by four in Texas.

Josh Beckett faces Luke Hochevar tomorrow night in a rematch of a game the Royals won 4-3 back on July 28 at Fenway, the finale of a four-game series split. After losing five of its last seven games and dropping out of first-place in the AL East while its offense has went missing, the Red Sox need to wake up. They want no part of the AL Wild Card and a trip to Texas in the ALDS.

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