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Red Sox 3, Rays 4: Sox fight back, but fall in extras

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The Red Sox fought back from a 3-1 deficit with a late RBI from Yoenis Cespedes, but the Rays triumphed in the end.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It took until the tenth inning, but the Red Sox' four-game set against the Rays ended with a 4-3 loss.

The Red Sox received an awfully hostile welcome to the game from Drew Smyly, who struck out Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, and Yoenis Cespedes in order in the first. Smyly would record another 1-2-3 inning in the second, then retire the first two batters he faced in the second, making it eight straight outs for the Red Sox to start the game. Rubby De La Rosa, to his credit, did not fare much worse, allowing just one hit in the first two innings.

The third inning spelled the end of the shutout for both starters. The Red Sox struck first, with Christian Vazquez drawing a two-out walk and Mookie Betts shooting a two-out double into the gap in left to bring Vazquez around to score.

Tampa Bay's attack was...rather more impressive. While the Rays still weren't capable of doing much against De La Rosa's changeup, they preyed on his fastball. Ryan Hanigan singled on the first pitch of the inning with a flare to center, then moved to second on an infield single from Ben Zobrist. Wil Myers would put the Rays on the board by smacking a 1-2 fastball into right for a double, and after Matt Joyce struck out swinging, it was Evan Longoria putting them on top with a two-run single up the middle.

The Red Sox would quickly get a run back in the top of the fourth, with Mike Napoli punishing a cutter that floated waist-high over the outside half of the plate, launching it to left-center for a solo shot that left them down by just a run.

That would put an end to the scoring until the late frames, with neither team managing more than one baserunner in an inning until the eighth. There, Mookie Betts was once again in the middle of the action, producing a one-out single. While reliever Jeff Beliveau was able to get Brock Holt to ground out, Mookie Betts took second, and then came around to score when Yoenis Cespedes slapped a Steve Geltz slider into left for a game-tying RBI.

Neither side would manage to break the tie in the last innings of regulation, sending the game to the tenth. There, the Red Sox had a chance to score when Christian Vazquez singled with one out, but Jemile Weeks' first impression with his new team was an ugly one, getting picked off first as a pinch-runner, effectively ending the threat.

The Rays' threat in the bottom of the inning was more lucrative. Ryan Hanigan slid in ahead of the tag at second on a double to left field, setting up a chain of intentional walk - sacrifice bunt - intentional walk to load the bases with one down. Tampa Bay needed just a sacrifice fly to end the game, and Matt Joyce provided the long fly ball. Whether it would've been an out or a hit with an effort from Yoenis Cespedes isn't entirely clear, as the left fielder quickly gave up on the ball, correctly diagnosing it as "enough." Pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez came in to score, and the Red Sox lost. Hard to blame him for not giving it the old college effort given the state of both the game and the season as a whole.