By TERRY LYONS at Fenway Park
BOSTON – Tampa Bay first baseman and utility infielder Brandon Lowe usually sits against left-handers. Today, he did not but, instead, gave Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez a seat, albeit after 5.2 innings. Lowe hit two home runs, added a single and scored three times to lead the Rays to a 6-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Tampa took three-out-of-four in this important AL East division series.
The Rays and New York Yankees are tied atop the AL East. Today’s loss dropped Boston to (34-32) and seven games behind the division leaders.
Tampa starter Blake Snell went pitched 6.0 innings of one-run ball. He allowed five hits, one walk as he struck-out seven on a 105-pitch (65 strikes) day. Snell is (4-5) on the season. Boston’s No. 3 lefty, Rodriguez, took the loss and is (6-4) this season. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two HRs. Sox reliever Marcus Walden was hammered for two HRs as well.
Aside from Lowe’s two dingers, Tampa lead-off man and DH Yandy Diaz went 3-for-4 with a homer and centerfielder Guillermo Heredia hit a solo HR in the 2nd inning. Diaz went 4-for-5 on the day.
Boston’s lone run came in the 2nd inning when second baseman Marco Hernandez singled-in left fielder Sam Travis who had led-off the inning with a base hit.
For Boston, high-powered hitters J.D. Martinez (back spasms), Rafael Devers (day-off, rest) and Andrew Benintendi (day-off, rest) all did not play. The Red Sox came into the game with a 5-2 record over their last seven games but have now lost 9-of-13 to the upper echelon American League teams. That includes Houston (1-2), the New York Yankees (1-2) and Tampa Bay (1-3), noting games played since May 24th.
NOTES: Boston will play host to the Texas Rangers in a four-game series beginning tomorrow night, Monday, June 10th. Sox LHP ace Chris Sale (2-7, 3.84 ERA) will toss against another lefty in the Rangers’ Mike Minor 5-4, 2.55 ERA). … In Game 2 of the series, Tuesday, Boston lists a TBD while Texas will throw RHP Ariel Jurado (3-2, 2.78 ERA). … RHP Rick Porcello (4-6, 4.86 ERA) will face Texas’ RHP Lance Lynn (7-4, 4.39 ERA) on Wednesday night and Sox LHP David Price (4-2, 2.70 ERA) is scheduled to pitch against the Rangers’ RHP Adrian Sampson (5-3, 3.72 ERA) in the series finale on Thursday night. … Late in the game today, with the score out-of-hand, chants of “Let’s Go Bruins” were the only thing the Fenway faithful could cheer about. The Bruins are in St. Louis for Game-6 of the Stanley Cup Finals tonight, but the Boston ice-hockey team trails in the series (2-3) and is facing elimination. … A potential Game 7 for The Cup would be Wednesday in Boston which could force a time change for that night game (7:10pm). (Stay tuned).