Wade Miley

Closing Time: Red Sox done in by unexpected group of Rays

Rob Bradford
June 27, 2015 - 2:31 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Matt Andriese, Jake Elmore and Rene Rivera. These are the guys who stopped the Red Sox' momentum, pushing John Farrell's team to nine games in back of the first-place Rays after Saturday's 4-1 Tampa Bay win at Tropicana Field. (For the box score of the 2-hour, 21-minute game, click here.) Elmore, whose big league claim to fame was catching and pitching in the same game, supplied what would ultimately be the game-winning hit, a two-run homer off Red Sox starter Wade Miley in the fifth inning. "I was just trying to get ahead with the fastball and go from there," Miley said. "In that situation, man on third [Asdrubal Cabrera] and one out, if I walk him, I walk him and go after the next guy. But I thought I had him in a pretty good situation and just didn't execute the pitch." The homer, which snaked around the left-field foul pole, was the fourth home run of Elmore's five-year big league career and shortest of the year hit at Tropicana Field (344 feet). Three of the 28-year-old's homers have come against the Red Sox, with Miley joining Drake Britton and Edward Mujica the 5-foot-9 righty hitter's victims. "When I hit it, I didn't even think home run," Elmore said. "All I thought was, 'Please stay fair,' because I knew it was at least getting down and then I was like, 'Oh man, that might get out of here.' So I was not worried about that. I was just worried it was going foul. I thought I kept it fair, and thankfully I did." Tampa Bay managed some insurance off Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes, who allowed a solo homer to light-hitting catcher Rene Rivera in the seventh. Rivera came into the afternoon hitting just .162 with three home runs. Just for good measure, the Rays did get a solo home run from their most recognizable player, Evan Longoria, in the eighth inning, also coming off of Barnes, who flew in for the game earlier in the morning. "It was a little hectic. No excuses obviously for giving up the runs," said Barnes, who landed in Tampa just before noon. "I still have to go out and perform and put up zeroes, but it'€™s been a long day, but like I said it'€™s part of the profession so I have to go up and put up zeroes and keep the game 2-0." But the Red Sox' true nemesis was Andriese, a 25-year-old righty who was making his sixth major league start of the season (11th overall appearance). He allowed just one hit (a Xander Bogaerts single) over six innings, striking out five and not walking a batter. Andriese came over to Tampa Bay in a deal with San Diego that also brought closer Brian Boxberger and Kevin Cash's cleanup hitter, Logan Forsythe. His appearance marked the 35th start by a Rays rookie pitcher this season. "On a day where Andriese just threw a lot of fastballs at us, a lot of strikes, we could never get anything going offensively," Farrell said. "When you only have one hit through the first six, it's hard to say you're on the verge, and that's a credit to the way he threw the baseball. He challenged us throughout the time he was on the mound and beat us." Andriese's counterpart, Miley, continued to excel since his dugout dust-up with Farrell. Following the 6 1/3-inning, two-run outing, he now has surrendered just four runs over 18 2/3 innings in his last three starts. With the win, the Rays managed to tie their club record with a 10th straight win against a lefty starter. Miley had entered he game with a 3-0 mark and 0.47 ERA (19 IP, 1 ER) in three career starts against the Rays. Besides singles by Bogaerts and Brock Holt, the only offense the Red Sox were able to manage came in the eighth when Alejandro De Aza took reliever Kevin Jepsen into the right-field bleachers.