Boston Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida – The Red Sox can’t get out of Tampa fast enough.

Boston lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-1 on Sunday, marking the first time in 2018 that the Sox have been swept in a series. They have now lost six out of eight games.

Red Sox hitters mustered just three hits Sunday, capping off a weekend in which they scored only five runs.

Tampa Bay lefty Blake Snell (16-5) bolstered his Cy Young candidacy with six strong innings of one-run ball. He struck out eight, walked two, and gave up only two hits. Snell’s ERA dropped to 2.05 in the winning effort.

The Rays have now won eight games in a row.

Boston’s pitching staff struggled mightily in the series, allowing 24 runs in three games.

Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi (5-6) turned in a poor outing against his former team. The righty gave up six runs (five earned) on eight hits in four innings.

With the loss, the Red Sox saw their lead in the American League East shrink to 6.5 games. The Yankees are scheduled to play Sunday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

How it happened:

The Rays jumped on Eovaldi out of the gate, plating two runs in the bottom of the first on a Ji-Man Choi RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Jake Bauers.

Left fielder Tommy Pham drove in a run in the third with a single to extend the Rays lead to 3-0, before Kevin Kiermaier tripled in two more runs to break the game open.

Third baseman Matt Duffy added a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put the Rays ahead 6-0.

The Red Sox got on the board in the sixth inning on a Mookie Betts sacrifice fly, scoring Sandy Leon.

Duffy doubled in the sixth off Heath Hembree to extend Tampa Bay’s lead to 7-1.

Rays catcher Michael Perez doubled off Matt Barnes in the seventh, driving in the eighth and ninth Tampa Bay runs.

Up next:

The Red Sox have Monday off before returning home on Tuesday to open up a two-game set with the Miami Marlins. Brian Johnson (4-3, 4.12 ERA) will take the ball against righty Jose Urena (4-12, 4.50 ERA).