Red Sox' slide continues, Rays roll to sweep, 9-1


ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Blake Snell allowed only two hits in six innings as the Tampa Bay Rays extended their winning streak to eight and became the first team to sweep the Red Sox this season, rolling to a 9-1 victory on Sunday in the finale of the three-game series. 

The Red Sox (90-42) have lost six of eight and were outscored 24-5 in the series. Their American League East lead over the Yankees has been trimmed from 10 1/2 games a week ago to six after the Yankees' 5-3 victory over the Orioles in Baltimore.

Snell (16-5) allowed one run and struck out eight. He has given up no more than one earned run in 14 consecutive starts at home.

Matt Duffy had three hits and drove in two runs for the Rays, who completed their first undefeated homestand of more than one series. They won all seven games against Kansas City and Boston.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi, acquired from the Rays in a July 25 trade, gave up hits to the first three batters he faced and fell behind, 2-0.

Kevin Kiermaier’s two-run triple was the fourth hit off Eovaldi in a three-run third that left Tampa Bay with a 5-0 lead.

Eovaldi (5-6 overall, 2-2 with the Red Sox) gave up six runs — five earned — and eight hits in four innings while striking out five. In his last four starts, the right-hander has allowed 35 hits in 17 innings.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he never reconsidered his plan to give slugger J.D. Martinez the day off before Monday’s scheduled open date. “We haven’t done two days off with him the whole season,” Cora said. “With him, it’s about the mechanics — he’s always afraid that he’s going lose it. But I think at this stage, two days will benefit him.”

LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (right ankle sprain) will attempt to pitch six innings in a rehab start Monday for Double-A Portland. ... RHP Steven Wright (left knee inflammation) will throw to catcher Christian Vazquez (broken finger) at Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday.

LHP Brian Johnson will pitch Tuesday night in the first of a two-game series with the Miami Marlins at Fenway Park.


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