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Red Sox 3, Rays 4: Tazawa's rough outing costs Sox the sweep

The Red Sox came close to finishing their sweep, but Junichi Tazawa faltered in the eighth to let it slip through their fingers.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Red Sox were two innings away from completing a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, but a rough outing from Junichi Tazawa turned a one-run lead into a one-run deficit, sending the Red Sox to a 4-3 loss.

Wade Miley gave Sox fans reasons for concern at the get go. The seventh pitch of his outing was a 3-2 fastball to Brandon Guyer that only stayed in Fenway courtesy of a billboard over the Monster seats.

The leadoff shot, however, did not end up setting the tone for the rest of Miley's day. He would retire the next seven Rays he faced before giving up a single to Rene Rivera in an otherwise quiet third. The fourth would see Tampa Bay get on the scoreboard again, with a quick two-out single and double from Asdrubal Cabrera and James Loney respectively, but on the whole it was a successful bounce-back game from Miley, who left the game with two outs in the seventh and only two runs to his name.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, had done just enough to get him a lead. Xander Bogaerts had scored the first run for the Red Sox, continuing his torrid streak with a one-out single in the first and coming home when Hanley Ramirez doubled. Mike Napoli followed up with a single to bring Hanley home and quickly outdo Guyer's leadoff homer.

When the Sox added another run on David Ortiz' third inning double--Xander Bogaerts again the man coming home--it looked like Boston was in for a productive offensive night. But that would not prove to be the case. Jake Odorizzi would allow a runner an inning over the rest of his outing, but the Sox never managed to put two together again, letting him escape with the textbook quality start after the sixth.

That left a one-run game in the hands of both bullpens. And while the Red Sox asked for fewer outs from their pen, it was the Rays that won the contest. Robbie Ross nearly ran into disaster just trying to get the last out of the seventh with Kevin Kiermaier on third, hitting Curt Casali and walking Guyer before striking out Joey Butler to escape the frame. But in the eighth it was Junichi Tazawa who could not do his job. A leadoff double from Evan Longoria turned into the game-tying run on a near-homer to right from Asdrubal Cabrera that bounced over the wall all-the-same. And while James Loney's decisive hit was a weak pop-up, it landed perfectly between Jackie Bradley Jr. and Xander Bogaerts to let the go-ahead run score.

Adding injury to insult, the one baserunner the Red Sox had left in them was Hanley Ramirez, who left the game with a knee injury after his single in the eighth. An unfortunate end to what could have been an unexpected sweep.