Of all the games being played on this heavy local sports Sunday in Tampa Bay, perhaps the least amount of attention was likely to be paid to the Rays, as they faced the Boston Red Sox to close out the season series. And maybe it should have been that way after a 6-3 loss to the Red Sox at Tropicana Field.
One would know this was going to be a tough game when after two batters, the Red Sox had a 2-0 lead off Rays' starter Charlie Morton. Morton then settled in, keeping the Red Sox off the board through the fourth, which allowed the Rays to come back and take a 3-2 lead.
In fact, the Rays answered the Red Sox back in the bottom of the first with two out, as Mike Brosseau doubled in Joey Wendle, who had reached on an infield single.
Then in the fourth, Tampa Bay catcher Kevan Smith his his first homer of the season off Boston starter Martin Perez to put the Rays ahead, 3-2.
But Morton couldn't get out of the fifth, as Kevin Cash removed him from the game after a one-out single by Boston right fielder Yairo Munoz.
The Rays bullpen, having done a solid job this season of holding leads and preventing inherited runners to score, could not do either on Sunday.
Pete Fairbanks relieved Morton, and promptly walked the first batter he faced, Christian Vazquez. Then Rafael Devers, who had three hits, tied the game with a double to right. J.D. Martinez put the Red Sox ahead for good with an RBI ground out.
Boston added two more on a home run by former Ray Christian Arroyo off Ryan Thompson in the sixth.
The Rays couldn't muster anything off the Red Sox bullpen, coming close in their half of the seventh, as they put two runners on with two out, but Ryan Brasier, relieving Ryan Weber, who started the inning, struck out Nate Lowe to end the threat.
Perez won his third for the Red Sox, while Fairbanks, now 4-3, took the loss. Matt Barnes earned his sixth save.
Tampa Bay has a magic number of six for a playoff spot, and ended the year 7-3 against Boston, and 15-5 combined against their dreaded rivals, the Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The Rays are off Monday, and will face the visiting Washington Nationals at Tropicana Field. Game time is set for 6:40 p.m.
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