Rays' James Shields falls 2 outs shy of shutting out Red Sox

BOSTON -- The Tampa Bay Rays needed a strong pitching

performance to avoid a four-game sweep by the hot-hitting Boston Red Sox.

They got it from James Shields.

Shields allowed four hits -- all singles -- in 8 1/3 innings, and

the Rays beat Boston 1-0 Monday after being outscored 31-11 by the

Red Sox in the previous three games.

"It was my job to stop the bleeding," Shields said. "We had a

rough three games and they were hot. They were swinging the bats

pretty well."

Boston had a chance to tie it in the ninth when Shields (2-0)

left after walking Dustin Pedroia.

Fernando Rodney got his fourth save in four opportunities when

he retired Adrian Gonzalez on a groundout that sent Pedroia to

second, walked David Ortiz intentionally, then got Cody Ross on a

called third strike. Ross slammed his helmet and argued with

home-plate umpire Larry Vanover that the last two pitches should

have been balls.

"To me it's unacceptable," Ross said. "If I'm up there

striking out every at-bat, I'm going to get benched. They are

not accountable."

The only run came when Daniel Bard (0-2) walked Evan Longoria on

four pitches with the bases loaded in the seventh.

The traditional Patriots' Day home game began at 11:04 a.m. The

holiday observed in Massachusetts and Maine marks Paul Revere's

ride and the battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

"We absolutely needed something like that today. James did not

disappoint," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I really liked the

bounce back (at) 11 o'clock in the morning. After losing three

games in a row here, a lot of teams would give up at that point.

Our guys didn't."

The loss was Bobby Valentine's first at Fenway Park as Boston's

manager. Fans booed when he went back to the dugout after lifting

Bard for Justin Thomas following the run-scoring walk. Bard also

walked the previous batter, Carlos Pena, on four pitches.

"It was the wrong decision, obviously," Valentine said. "I

wanted to let him know right there that I thought he could get

himself out of a jam."

The boos likely were prompted by an interview aired on WHDH-TV

Sunday night in which Valentine questioned Kevin Youkilis'

commitment to the game. He apologized to his third baseman, a fan

favorite, on Monday. Valentine had said he didn't think Youkilis

was "as physically or emotionally into the game."

Maddon got his 500th win as a manager, all with Tampa Bay, as

the Rays stopped a four-game losing streak.

"I just happen to be the steward of this group," he said.

"Better baseball players make you a lot smarter manager."

Shields retired the first four batters before Ross' broken-bat

single off the pitcher's glove. The next six Red Sox made outs

before Gonzalez singled to left. He was erased on a double-play

grounder in the fourth.

Shields walked Nick Punto with two outs in the fifth, allowed

singles to Pedroia in the sixth and Ross in the seventh and walked

Pedroia in the ninth.

Bard gave up three hits through six innings and set down the

first two batters in the seventh. Then he lost his control.

Sean Rodriguez walked, Desmond Jennings singled and Pena walked,

loading the bases. Pitching coach Bob McClure visited Bard and left

him in the game. The move backfired as Bard walked Longoria with

his 111th pitch. That's when Valentine went to the mound to lift

Bard and was booed on the walk back.

"Mac came out and said, 'Do you want this guy?' I wanted him,"

said Bard, a converted reliever making his second major-league

start. "In hindsight, probably I was tired."

Thomas ended the threat by retiring Luke Scott on a fly to


Game notes

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attended

the game. He chatted with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft

... Youkilis sat out the game with a minor groin injury. ... In

1968, the Red Sox began the tradition of playing a single game with

a morning start on Patriots' Day. The Rays are 3-0 in those games.

... Ryan Sweeney was 0 for 3 after hitting safely in the other

seven games he played for Boston.