All the good vibes and progress generated from last week’s five-of-seven stretch against the Rays and Yankees? Gone. And in ugly fashion, too, as the Red Sox were officially swept (and dropped their fourth straight game overall) by the Rays by way of a 9-4 final at Fenway Park on Thursday night.
The trouble truly started in the top of the second inning, as Andrew Cashner dealt with a no-out, bases loaded jam and walked three batters in total while surrendering three runs in the half inning. And after Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run homer to give the Sox the lead in the bottom of the first.
It was a microcosm of Cashner’s night, really, as the Oriole-turned-Sox starter was unable to escape the sixth inning, with seven earned runs allowed on seven hits and a season-high five walks on 110 pitches.
Boston tried to put up a fight with solo homers from Bogaerts (his second of the night) and Mookie Betts, but the damage was already done, even before the Rays tacked on an eighth and ninth run with solo shots from Mike Zunino and Austin Meadows in the eighth and ninth inning.
With the win, the Rays have just their second sweep at Fenway in their franchise history, and their since since Apr. 2010. They became the first road team to win eight games at Fenway Park in a single season since the 1966 Orioles.
The Red Sox will look to right the ship with a four-game series in the Bronx against the first-place Yankees.