The Red Sox snapped their short losing streak Sunday afternoon with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.
While the last two games had seen Boston's bats go quiet against the Orioles and Twins, somehow the combination of Tampa Bay pitching and a weaker lineup proved the perfect remedy to Boston's problems. Spring training, go figure.
It did take the lineup a while to get going, though, and early on it was the Rays who managed to put runs on the board first. Taking the mound for Boston was John Lackey, and while his results were better than his first two games, he didn't entirely manage to keep the momentum from his last outing. Finding the upper-half of the zone all-too-often, Lackey actually managed to get through the first two innings without a baserunner despite decent contact, but then was roughed up for a pair of runs in the third. Interestingly enough, the best actual pitching arguably came after the runs, rather than before.
Still, if Lackey couldn't stay clean through the third, Tampa Bay starter Matt Moore didn't last much longer. Daniel Nava led off the fourth with a walk, and Ryan Sweeney followed up with a one-out single. Then, with one swing of the bat, David Ross brought in more runs than the Sox had scored in their last two games combined, taking Moore deep to left field to give Boston the 3-2 lead.
From there, Boston's bullpen was just shy of perfect. Clayton Mortensen, Daniel Bard, Koji Uehara, and Steven Wright would allow just two baserunners--a hit against Bard and a walk from Wright--over the last five innings of the game. The same could not be said for the Rays, who saw Juan Sandoval allow six batters to reach in just one inning of work, providing the Red Sox with three more runs to bring their total to six on the day.