Rays limp into break with another loss

Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia tags Tampa Bay’s Curt Casali at second trying to stretch a single into a double during the second inning Sunday.
Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia tags Tampa Bay’s Curt Casali at second trying to stretch a single into a double during the second inning Sunday. AP

The Tampa Bay Rays can’t erase what’s happened.

They can only try and make the post All-Star break fun again.

Former Ray David Price threw eight shutout innings in his best start with the Red Sox, David Ortiz entered the All-Star break with impressive numbers after hitting a two-run homer, and Boston sent the Rays to their sixth straight loss, 4-0 on Sunday.

The victory completed a three-game sweep for the Red Sox and handed Tampa Bay its 22nd loss in 25 games.

“You can never start fresh until Opening Day,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said “But somehow we’ve got to kind of maybe trick ourselves into thinking we’re going to start fresh here this second half and just start playing some better baseball, more competitive baseball, doing the little things that it takes to win.”

The Rays enter the break with 10 straight road losses.

Jake Odorizzi (3-5) got the loss, allowing four runs in five innings. He was much better than his previous start, when he gave up a season-high seven runs to the Los Angeles at home Tuesday.

“Definitely from start to finish,” he said. “Good pitches. I was getting weak contact on it. It’s encouraging to see.”

But he knows the Rays (34-54) have to find a way to play better.

“Basically the whole team, minus a few people are, probably going to use it as a whole new start to the season,” he said.

Boston, though, hopes Price and Ortiz continue just like Sunday.

The 40-year-old Ortiz heads to his 10th All Star game with a .332 average and 72 RBIs in what he announced last fall will be his final season. It’s the most RBIs ever at the break by a player 40 or older.

Price (9-6) struck out 10, allowed four hits, walked one and hit two batters in snapping a personal two-game losing streak. Price didn’t give up a hit after the third inning, retiring 17 of the last 19 batters.

Mookie Betts had three singles and drove in a run to help the Red Sox (49-38) complete their first sweep since a three-game set at home against Oakland on May 9-11.

Brad Ziegler, acquired from Arizona for a pair of minor leaguers after Friday night’s games, closing the four-hitter by getting the final three outs in his Red Sox debut.

The right-hander said the last conversation he had with the Diamondbacks before the trade was the possibility of an extension.

“I said: ‘I’m open to whatever. Just come back to me and let me know,’ ” he said. “The next time I heard from them I was traded. That’s part of why I was caught off guard and surprised how early it happened.”

Price had received two runs or fewer in each of his last seven starts. His teammates offered better support right away by grabbing a 3-0 lead in the first.

Ortiz hit his homer into the Green Monster seats after Xander Bogaerts’ sacrifice fly. Betts’ RBI single made it 4-0 an inning later.

Notes: Tampa Bay’s Brandon Guyer was hit by a pitch twice, bringing his season total to 20. … The Rays are still expecting center fielder Kevin Kiermaier (broken left hand) to return to the lineup on Friday.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 8.59) is expected to be recalled Friday and start the first of a three-game series against the Yankees in New York.

Up next

Who: Baltimore () at Tampa Bay (34-54)

When: Friday, 7:10 p.m.

Where: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg

Probable pitchers: Chris Archer (4-12, 4.61) vs. Yovani Gallardo (3-1, 5.82)

TV: Fox

Radio: 620 AM

Tickets: 1-888-FAN-RAYS or at stadium ticket office

Promotion: Student Rush (students 18-over with valid student ID can purchase lower level tickets for $15)