The Boston Red Sox could not complete the sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays as they lost 3-2 in the final game of the three-game set on Sunday afternoon.
The Red Sox offense struggled to produce any runs for the first half of the game as starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez gave up two RBI singles in the first and fifth inning to Rays designated hitter Evan Longoria.
Tampa Bay’s starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi did not allow a hit for 5.2 innings until Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a two-run home run to break up the no-no and tie the game in the top half of the sixth inning.
The Rays re-took the lead in their half of the sixth when catcher Jesus Sucre homered to left to put his team up by one – a lead they would not surrender for the remainder of the game.
Relief pitcher David Price, who has not pitched in a game since July 22, made his debut out of the bullpen and pitched a seven-pitch seventh inning and was dominant in the eighth inning. The lefty didn’t surrender any runs.
Boston did threaten in the ninth against closer Alex Colome but, unlike Friday night’s comeback, they were unable to get a rally going after outfielder Rajai Davis grounded into a game-ending double play.
With the loss, the Red Sox fall to 85-64 on the season as the Rays improve to 73-77. Boston is still three games ahead of the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East as New York lost to the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday.
The magic number to clinch the division: 11
The magic number to clinch a playoff spot: 5
Injury update: Right fielder Mookie Betts left Sunday’s game in the fifth inning with what’s being called a right thumb contusion. He is considered day-to-day.
Game MVP: Jackie Bradley Jr.: He went 2-for-3 on the afternoon with a home run, driving in two runs. He also broke up Odorizzi’s no-hitter in the sixth inning.
Honorable Mention: David Price for throwing two perfect innings of relief in his debut out of the bullpen. He threw 21 pitches.
Fun fact: Eduardo Rodriguez has given up three earned runs and struck out 22 batters over his last 16 innings pitched.
What’s on deck: The Boston Red Sox travel to Baltimore on Monday to take on the Orioles (73-77) for three-game set. Doug Fister (5-8, 4.40 ERA) will take the mound to oppose Dylan Bundy (13-9, 4.03 ERA).
First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.