Closing Time: Tempers flare, benches clear, Red Sox lose 10th straight

Rob Bradford
May 25, 2014 - 1:08 pm

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- This was like adding insult to injury ... to insult. Less than five minutes after former Red Sox pitcher Josh Beckett tossed his first career no-hitter -- blanking the Phillies in Philadelphia -- the Rays broke open their game with the Red Sox via a pinch-hit, three-run home run from Sean Rodriguez. The blast, coming off reliever Craig Breslow, broke a 3-3 tie and went a long way to help hand the Red Sox their longest losing streak since 1994 (10 games). The end result this time was an 8-5 Sox loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field. Breslow would surrender five runs while recording just two outs before being replaced by Edward Mujica. And then things really got interesting. With two outs in the seventh, Yunel Escobar stole third without a throw (later ruled defensive indifference). Escobar then started exchanging words with Red Sox catcher David Ross and other members of the Sox, who could be seen yelling from the dugout after taking exception that the Rays would be stealing with a five-run lead. After Escobar made a move toward the dugout, the benches cleared, with Jonny Gomes running in from left field and pushing Escobar. Escobar and Gomes were ejected, along with Rodriguez. Earlier in the seventh, the Red Sox actually had uncovered some optimism. John Farrell's club received got some timely hitting when Gomes launched his eighth career pinch-hit home run, tying the game at 3 with one out in the seventh and A.J. Pierzynski standing at second base. Gomes was pinch-hitting for Jackie Bradley. Earlier on the mound, Brandon Workman turned in a solid outing in his first start of the season, allowing three runs on five hits over five innings. He walked three while fanning three, throwing 88 pitches. The righty had not allowed a hit through his first three innings. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- The first hit Workman surrendered came on his first pitch of the fourth inning, an opposite-field, solo home run by Evan Longoria. The three-inning no-hitter brought back memories of Workman's first start in 2013, when he took a no-no into the seventh against Oakland. -- The Rays took the lead later in the fourth when they capitalized on a perfectly executed hit-and-run, moving Wil Myers to third after a ground-ball single to right from Brandon Guyer. A two-out Logan Forsythe RBI single between shortstop and third base then gave the hosts a 2-1 lead. -- A Red Sox rally was killed in the fifth inning when, with runners on first and third and two outs, Dustin Pedroia grounded out to shortstop. The second baseman is just 2-for-22 with runners in scoring position and two outs. -- The Rays scored their third run when Myers just beat out what would have been an inning-ending double-play grounder to third. By beating the throw from second, the Tampa Bay outfielder was able to plate David DeJesus. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Brock Holt got the Red Sox on the board first with a sacrifice fly to deep right, scoring Pierzynski from third. Pierzynski had led off the third inning with a single, moving to third when Grady Sizemore doubled into the right-field corner. -- Sizemore notched two doubles for the first time since May 31, 2011. -- Pierzynski (3-for-4) made a heads-up baserunning move in the seventh, taking advantage of a misplay by Escobar at shortstop and a slow reaction by left fielder DeJesus to reach second base to lead off the inning. The play led to the Sox' two-run seventh inning as Gomes drove in Pierzynski with his pinch-hit homer. -- Xander Bogaerts cut the Red Sox' deficit to two runs, singling in Pierzynski and Holt with two outs in the ninth.