ST. PETERSBURG — The good news? The error charged to Ben Zobrist in the first inning was changed to a hit after the game, so the Rays’ 8-4 loss to the Red Sox appeared less sloppy in the updated box score.
Only two errors instead of three.
Still, sloppy enough. And throw in Chris Archer’s shortest outing since mid-June and the fact the Red Sox batted around in both the first and second innings and you had all the ingredients needed for the Rays’ ninth loss in their past 13 games, this one in front of 16,107 at Tropicana Field.
“It broke badly,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
The loss was the Rays’ 37th this season at the Trop, their most at home since they lost 37 in 2008.
“It’s frustrating,” Archer said. “We know we’re better than this.”
The game spun out of control quickly for Archer and the Rays.
Brock Holt singled to start the top of the first inning. Dustin Pedroia walked.
Archer, facing David Ortiz for the first time since their war of words July 27 when Ortiz took nearly 30 seconds to round the bases after hitting a long home run off Archer, got the Red Sox designated hitter to fly out to center field.
Yoenis Cespedes singled in Boston’s first run of the inning. Daniel Nava singled in another run one out later.
Then came the errors.
Archer couldn’t cleanly field a tapper back to the mound by Mookie Betts and Zobrist’s throw to first on a grounder by Will Middlebrooks was too low for James Loney to handle. When the dust settled, the Red Sox had a 3-0 lead.
It got worse in the second inning.
Holt singled to start the inning. Matt Joyce robbed Pedroia of a hit with a diving catch in short right-center field. Up next was Ortiz, and he grounded to Loney. Loney threw to Escobar, and just like Thursday night in Baltimore, Escobar’s return throw was wide and got past Archer, who was covering the base.
Cespedes doubled home Ortiz to make it 4-0.
It became 8-0 when Betts lined a homer into the left-field seats for a grand slam.
“I didn’t execute many pitches, especially with two strikes, especially with people on base,” Archer said. “I went back and looked at video. Big-league hitters aren’t going to miss stuff that’s over the middle of the plate. This game has a funny way of humbling you. (Friday) was a very humbling experience. I’ve been pitching pretty well lately, since the All-Star break, but it (stinks) to let the team down. Disappointed in myself cause I’m capable of much, much more than that.”
Archer’s error extend the Rays’ streak of at least one error a game to six, the longest streak since they made an error in seven straight in May 2012.
The Rays have made eight errors in their past five games. Escobar has committed three in his past two.
“It’s all been pretty much the same play,” Maddon said. “It’s not been receiving or catching the ball. We’ve had three of those plays, the first-to-short, back-to-first double plays. We have not completed any. … It’s been really unusual seeing him making those throwing gaffes.”