ST. PETERSBURG — After 34 consecutive days of holding at least a share of first place in the American League East, the Red Sox fell from their perch with a disjointed 9-5 loss to the Rays on Saturday night at Tropicana Field.
First-time All-Star Nathan Eovaldi, who had easily been Boston’s best starting pitcher for the last several weeks, didn’t make the key pitches when he needed to, allowing six hits and six runs (five earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Eovaldi had a 3-0 lead before he even threw a pitch, but the game was tied by the bottom of the third.
“I felt like that game was on me tonight,” said Eovaldi. “I definitely could’ve done better. Our guys battled all the way back. We tied it up 5-5, and I gave it up in the sixth inning.”
The offense had the bases loaded with one out in the sixth, and didn’t score. It loaded them up again in the seventh, this time with two outs, and didn’t score. The Sox were 1-for-7 on the night with runners in scoring position and left seven on base.
“I mean, a lot of chances. We had a lot of chances, we had a lot of opportunities to put some runs on the board,” said Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts. “Just one swing away, one different bounce could have changed pretty much the whole outcome of all the games that we played…