ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Jake Peavy was traded. The rest of the Red Sox are applying for asylum, in any country that will take them.
The downtrodden Sox lost their fifth straight game, 3-0 to the Tampa Bay Rays, who apparently have decided not to lose again until they lap the field in the American League East.
The Sox were shut out for the 11th time this season, matching their total for 2013 with two months to go in the season.
Five Rays pitchers combined to pitch their 12th shutout. The Rays are 27-11 since falling 18 games under .500 and 15-4 in July as they attempt to become the fourth team in big-league history to return to .500 after being 18 below.
The Rays, winners of nine in a row, are now only 3 ½ games behind the Yankees in the wild-card race.
John Lackey deserved better. He gave up a run in the first when catcher Christian Vazquez zipped a throw that seared a hole in the glove of first baseman Mike Napoli on a bunt by Desmond Jennings. Jennings sped to third on the error (Sox manager John Farrell lost his argument that Jennings was running inside the channel, which he was) and scored on a ground-ball base hit by Matt Joyce.
A throw by Vazquez also figured indirectly in Tampa Bay’s second run. Vazquez appeared to have picked off Yunel Escobar at second base, but Escobar was ruled safe and Farrell didn’t challenge. Kevin Kiermaier then lined a single to right to score Escobar.
Tampa Bay’s final run came on a two-out home run by Ben Zobrist in the seventh.
The Sox had eight hits, but left nine runners on base. David Ortiz thought he had homered off Jeremy Hellickson in the first, but a spectator clad in a Sox T-shirt reached over to catch the ball, and Ortiz was awarded a double. Umpires reviewed and decided the ball had not cleared the fence, and Napoli struck out to end the inning.
The Sox left two runners on in three other innings and are now 10 games under .500 at 47-57.