James Shields gives the Rays their first three-game sweep of the Red Sox


James Shields gives the Rays their first three-game sweep of the Red Sox

(April 27, 2008) – For the first time in the franchise’s 11 year history the Tampa Bay Rays swept the Red Sox in a three game series behind right handed starter James Shields. Shields pitched a complete game of two-hit ball recording seven strike outs while surrendering zero walks.

For the first six innings it was a one-run game coming from an errant pick-off throw by Sox starter Josh Beckett. After Rays shortstop, Jason Bartlett reached on a base hit past the reach of Sox shortstop Julio Lugo. Beckett’s attempted pick-off got by Kevin Youkilis and traveled up the first base line and into the Rays bullpen sending Bartlett to third base. The Tampa Bay shortstop would continue onward when right fielder J.D. Drew’s return throw to the infield slowly rolled down the base line and was gathered by rookie infielder Jed Lowie. But it was too late to get Bartlett at the plate.

After the rocky third inning, Beckett settled down and eventually retired nine Ray batters before surrendering a solo homerun to Tampa Bay rookie Evan Longoria for the second run of the game. The Sox bats failed Beckett in this afternoon’s game. In seven innings of work, the Red Sox Ace allowed just two runs – one of the runs was unearned – on four hits.

Along with an outstanding performance by Beckett – with the exception of one blunder – he also set a new single-game high for himself. In seven innings, he struck out 13 Tampa Bay hitters. His last single-game high in strike outs was against the Montreal Expos where he struck out 12 Expos on July 21, 2002 when he was a member of the Florida Marlins.

Manny Delcarmen came on in relief of the Beckett to pitch the eighth inning and hit the first batter he faced (Bartlett). The hit batter would come around to score on Carl Crawford’s one-out double to right field. Crawford got too greedy on the play and was thrown out by Drew trying to stretch a double into a triple. Delcarmen would strike out B.J. Upton to end the inning. Between Beckett and Delcarmen, they combined to strike out 15 Rays hits.

The Red Sox will return to Fenway Park to play the Toronto Blue Jays on April 29-May 1. The last time these two teams met was at the beginning of the season (April 4-6) at the Rogers Centre and saw the Sox being swept by Toronto. Daisuke Matsuzaka and his 4-0 record, 3.14 ERA and 28 strike outs will try to turn around this Red Sox losing streak when he steps on the mound against Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay. Halladay is currently 2-3 on the season with a 3.73 ERA and 25 strike outs. In his last start Halladay went eight innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits while striking out five. Matsuzaka is coming of an 11-3 win against Texas that saw him pitch 5.1 innings allowing three earned runs on five hits while striking our four on 101 pitches.

WIN: James Shields (3-1)

LOSS: Josh Beckett (2-2)


Game Notes:

Evan Longoria’s homerun in the bottom of the seventh was his third homerun this season and of his career.

David Ortiz gets another day off to rest his bruised knee. With the off day tomorrow, Ortiz will get three days off before the Red Sox return on Tuesday to play the Toronto Blue Jays.

Manny Ramirez stole his first base of the season and it was his first steal since April of 2005.

Jason Bartlett was hit in the head by a Manny Delcarmen fast ball in the bottom of the eighth inning. He would be all right.

The 3 Stars of the Game:

  1. James Shields, TAMPA BAY 9IP, 2H, 7K
  1. Jason Bartlett, TAMPA BAY 1-2 2-runs scored
  1. Josh Beckett, BOSTON 7IP, 4H, 2R, 1ER, 1BB, 13K

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