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Saturday, May 24, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Rays 6, Sox 5 in 15 innings

By Gordon Edes


ST. PETERSBURG -- "The horror. The horror."

Kurtz uttered that line only twice.

It's four and counting for Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller, who in the span of 11 days has now been saddled with four walk-off losses. This one may have topped them all. Miller threw a double-play ball into center field, one batter after he and third baseman Brock Holt got crossed up on who should field Brandon Guyer's bunt single, giving the Tampa Bay Rays a 6-5 win in 15 innings over the Boston Red Sox.

The Sox, now losers of nine in a row, managed just two hits over the last 14 innings after scoring five runs in the first off Rays starter David Price. Price gave up just one more hit over the next seven innings, and four Rays relievers checked the Sox on one hit over the last seven innings.

Hitless wonders: The Sox managed just two hits after the first inning, a flared single by Xander Bogaerts in the eighth, and a chopper over the mound by Holt in the 13th. Holt became the only Sox baserunner after the first inning to reach second base, advancing when pitcher Cesar Ramos threw wildly after running down the ball.

A page out of the Dr. K era: The last time the Sox lost nine in a row was back in the dark ages of the Joe Kerrigan era, when they lost nine straight Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 2001.

Can't stand prosperity: This is the first time this season the Sox blew a five-run lead in a loss. Their previous biggest blown lead was three, when they led the Rays 5-2 in Fenway Park on May 1 and lost 6-5.

Joltin' Jake: Sox starter Jake Peavy, handed that 5-0 lead in the first, was touched for single runs in the second and fourth, but gave up the lead in the fifth on three straight singles and a two-out double by Guyer. The relay by shortstop Bogaerts appeared to arrive at the plate in time to catch Matt Joyce, but catcher David Ross dropped the ball while attempting a tag.

Peavy has given up at least five runs in each of his past three starts. In that span, he has allowed 16 earned runs in 16⅓ innings, an 8.82 ERA, giving up 28 hits.

Damaged goods: The Sox placed Shane Victorino (right hamstring) on the 15-day disabled list, and sluggers Mike Napoli and David Ortiz were both out of the lineup. According to manager John Farrell, it will be at least a couple of days for Napoli, who is still feeling the effects of flu-like symptoms, has not recovered fully from the dislocated ring finger on his left hand, and also has calf and hamstring issues. Farrell said he was hopeful that Napoli could avoid a DL stint, but said the Sox needed "to get ahead" of his issues.

In addition, Bogaerts left in the ninth with what was called a right hamstring cramp.

A.J. goes deep: A.J. Pierzynski hit his first three-run home run of the season, and fourth home run of the year, off Price. The Tampa Bay left-hander loaded the bases on singles by Holt and Bogaerts and a walk to Dustin Pedroia. He then hit Mike Carp with a pitch to force in one run, and gave up a sacrifice fly to Jonny Gomes before Pierzynski unloaded.

Price was wrong, then right: After Pierzynski's home run, Price retired 22 of the final 25 batters he faced. Ross had an infield hit with two out in the first, Gomes walked with one out in the third and Bogaerts flared a single to right to lead off the eighth before being erased when Carp hit into a double play.

Whiffin': Sox batters stuck out 16 times in 15 innings. Two Sox batters whiffed in the fifth, seventh, ninth, 11th, 12th and 13th innings.

Relief, up to a point: The Sox bullpen was terrific until it wasn't, with six relievers holding the Rays scoreless on four hits for eight innings until the ugly ending.