ST. PETERSBURG — At least the Rays didn't have to fret Tuesday about who would fill in for now-injured closer Alex Colome.
A night after breaking an 11-game skid, the Rays went back to their losing ways in an 8-2 beating by the Red Sox.
"I know the game got separated by a bit there at the end," manager Kevin Cash said. "Obviously it was a closer ballgame."
Chris Archer did some good but enough wrong to earn his majors-leading 11th loss, the offense faltered at its most opportune moment, new rightfielder Oswaldo Arcia came up short on a catch and some shoddy relief work by Enny Romero and Dana Eveland pretty much completed their night's failures.
The Rays have now lost 12 of 13, dropping to 32-44. And they extended their dubious streak of allowing five or more runs to 13 games, longest since the 2005 Royals and one shy of the franchise record.
Indicative of how bad it's going, Cash said the loss was pretty much sealed in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth.
Down 2-0, the Rays loaded the bases off Rick Porcello on a walk to Desmond Jennings, a bloop single by Arcia then a walk to Taylor Motter. Nick Franklin drew a walk to force in a run.
But that was it. Hank Conger took two balls then went down swinging. Logan Forsythe, also ahead 2-and-0, flied to right, too shallow to get Arcia in. Then Brad Miller took a called third strike on Porcello's 39th pitch.
"Ultimately it came down to the fourth inning," Cash said. "We didn't get it done when we had an opportunity."
Making it worse, Archer came back and gave up a bad run in the fifth. He survived a leadoff walk to Dustin Pedroia when David Ortiz grounded into a double play but made another mistake, a two-out walk to Hanley Ramirez, who raced home from first when Jackie Bradley Jr. laced a double into the rightfield corner.
"We did get some momentum to make it 2-1," Cash said. "Giving them that run back, that's kind of the dagger you're looking to avoid right there. …
"We're built on winning tight ballgames and keeping things within reach. Not that getting behind 3-1 … is out of reach, but you felt the momentum shift right there."
Archer said it was part of his up-and-down night, as he allowed four runs on seven hits and four walks while throwing 109 pitches over 61/3 innings.
"I felt pretty good about it," Archer said. "There were some situations where I would have preferred not to walk people. Overall I felt like I pitched a decent game. Not good enough to get the win, so not very happy about it."
The Sox added to a 1-0 lead during an odd play in the third, Mookie Betts scoring on a Ortiz fly ball that eluded sliding rightfielder Arcia.
Cash said the Rays thought the ball "looked very funny" on its way down, thinking it may have hit a catwalk or a wire or a light or something hanging from the Trop roof in foul territory, and asked the umps to discuss. They didn't see anything, and Cash said the Rays didn't have good enough replay proof to challenge. Arcia obviously wasn't familiar with the roof, which Archer said may have been an issue.
Still, it was 3-1. Archer started the seventh with 104 pitches, got a quick out and allowed a single to Pedroia.
Cash decided "it was time" and opted for Romero, the hard-throwing lefty.
That turned out be a bad move. Romero, pitching for the first time since deflecting a line drive at his head with his left hand Saturday, allowed three hits that made it 6-1.
Marc Topkin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @TBTimes_Rays.