Sunday afternoon's game was your classic teeter-totter baseball game from the first inning all the way until the eighth a couple hours later, when the Tampa Bay Rays took the definitive lead.
The Sox were faced with a tall task, as Dylan Axelrod was sent out to take on reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, David Price of the Rays.
But, like he did when he defeated Mariners' star Felix Hernadez a few weeks ago, 'Axe' did a great job of giving his ball club a chance to win.
He threw six innings of three-run ball, as the Rays got those runs by hitting high fly balls to right field that the wind carried out of the ball park (Jose Lobaton & Matt Joyce (pictured above, H/T AP) HR's). But all-in-all, you can't be upset with Axe's quality start and consistent body of work, as the Sox' no.5 starter still holds a solid ERA, now at 3.95 on the year.
Now I don't want to make excuses, but facing David Price sure ain't easy, and the Sox just weren't able to capitalize off of him quite enough. They produced a run in the bottom of the first inning when Adam Dunn singled home Alex Rios with two outs.
Adam continues to look like he's broken out of his horrific slump, as he's now reached base in 11 (two more walks Sunday) of his last 22 plate appearances after only reaching base nine times in his first 72.
While other hits were scattered, no Sox player had a multi-hit game, though Paul Konerko did have a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to put the Sox back on top, 3-1.
But from the sixth inning on, the game belonged to the Rays.
Matt Joyce's two-run home run tied it up in the sixth off of Axelrod, but they weren't done there. Nate Jones, who worked a nice seventh inning, came back out in the eight and struggled mightily. Ben Zobrist gave the Rays' the lead with an RBI single, and with two outs, after Jones and Matt Thornton each retired a hitter, Alex Rios dropped a pop fly in right field as two more Rays scored to give Tampa Bay a 6-3 lead.
From there on out, their 'pen did their job, as Joel Peralta and Fernando Rodney did what they do so well, shutting down the Sox in the eight and ninth innings.
Their final two runs were scored off of Duente Heath in the top of the ninth inning. He continues to struggle to look like a major league pitcher. Don't be surprised to see Jhan Marinez or Jason Berken take his spot sometime soon.
It would've been nice for the Sox to win three of four from the pesky Rays, which they had a great opportunity of doing after winning the first two of the set. Plus, the Sox play 15 of their next 18 games on the road, so every game at home you can win may certainly be appreciated in the very near future.
But hey, it's baseball we're talking about … so who knows … maybe getting away, though it wasn't the case on their first road trip of the year, is what will help get the team going.
Still, the Sox are hanging in there at 10-14, just a few games back of the division leading Kansas City Royals.
Stay tuned for our own Matt Hoeppner's series preview coming soon to GrabSomeBench.com, as we'll take a look at the upcomingi series after Monday's off-day in Texas.