ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- If Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell wants to go unrecognized because of this eight-game losing streak, his predecessor is known to be in possession of some Groucho glasses.
Knowing Bobby Valentine, he probably has a box of 'em somewhere at home, enough to outfit 25 of Farrell's players, too.
The result: The Red Sox lost 1-0 for the second straight Friday, defeated when the Rays' Desmond Jennings stole second -- on a pitchout -- and scored on a flared double by pinch hitter Cole Figueroa off Boston reliever Burke Badenhop. The loss was pinned on Andrew Miller, who has lost the past three games the Sox have played on the road, all in walk-off fashion. Miller issued a full-count walk to Jennings, who easily beat A.J. Pierzynski's throw to steal second, and scored when Figueroa dumped a hit into right-center.
Despite a don't-tread-on-me pitching performance by John Lackey, who stranded three Tampa Bay runners at third while taking a scoreless tie into the eighth inning, the Sox fell again and may have lost right fielder Shane Victorino. He departed in the ninth inning with a tight right hamstring, pulling up lame after ducking back into first base on a pickoff attempt.
The loss dropped the Sox into last place, percentage points behind the Rays, who won their second straight game in walk-off fashion. The last time the Sox lost eight in a row, at the end of the 2012 season under Valentine, they also occupied last place. The Sox have scored a total of 16 runs in their eight losses, an average of two runs a game. On Friday, Boston managed just five hits, four singles and Brock Holt's double, and never advanced a runner to third base.
Bunt gone bad: Once again, the bunt failed the Sox. Victorino dropped a beauty after Pierzynski's single in the ninth, but third baseman Evan Longoria easily executed a force play at second on the plodding Pierzynski, who did not slide.
Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer struck out a career-high 11 batters in six innings. The Sox drove up his pitch count to 119, but did nothing against three Rays relievers.