Fourth inning dooms Red Sox in 5-3 loss to Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Tampa Bay's Matt Moore pitched six strong innings and beat the Boston Red Sox 5-3 Tuesday night to remain unbeaten and claim a share of the major league lead in victories.
Moore (7-0) yielded a double to Dustin Pedroia and a three-run homer to David Ortiz in the first, then limited the struggling Red Sox to one hit over the next five innings.
The Rays overcame the early deficit with a five-run fourth off John Lackey (1-4). Jose Molina and Matt Joyce each drove in two runs in the inning, helping Tampa Bay extend its winning streak to a season-high six games.
Boston has lost six of seven, including three straight.
Moore allowed three hits, walked two and struck out eight. The 23-year-old left-hander tied Washington's Jordan Zimmerman for the major league lead in victories, became the first Tampa Bay starter to begin a season 7-0 and tied a club record by winning his eighth straight decision dating to September.
Relievers Jake McGee, Josh Lueke and Joel Peralta got the Rays to the ninth, and closer Fernando Rodney struck out the side to finish the combined three-hitter and earn his seventh save.
Ortiz's homer was his fifth this season and 27th of his career at Tropicana Field, the most by any opposing player. The designated hitter's 67 RBI at the Trop are second to Manny Ramirez's 72.
Moore settled after the home run to retire 12 in a row until Stephen Drew doubled off the right field wall with one out in the fifth for Boston's third hit.
Lackey breezed through the first two innings before having to work through a tight spot in third, when Tampa Bay loaded the bases with two outs but did not score. The Red Sox weren't as fortunate in the fourth, when the Rays turned five singles and Luke Scott's RBI double into five runs.
Molina's two-run single made it 3-3, and Boston first baseman Mike Napoli misjudged a Joyce's infield pop fly that dropped for a two-run single that gave Moore a 5-3 lead.
Lackey, making his 299th career start and 300th major league appearance overall, allowed five runs and nine hits in 41 3 innings. He walked one and struck out three in losing his third straight decision.
Despite not having a hit after the fifth inning, the Red Sox managed to put the potential tying runs on base in the seventh when Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury before Shane Victorino lined out to end the threat.
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