BOSTON — The Rays were happy to get back to just playing baseball Saturday night.
Third baseman Evan Longoria said all the "extracurricular activities" of the past week, from the war of words to the benches-clearing incidents, meant little when the team was trying to fight out of the cellar.
And Tampa Bay dug itself deeper into last place Saturday after getting blown out 7-1 by the Red Sox at Fenway Park. There were no pregame warnings issued by umpires, nor were there any beanballs purposely directed at anyone.
Just a beatdown.
The Rays (23-33) have lost five straight, all on this road trip, to fall 10 games out of first place in the American League East. It's their worst record after 56 games since going 22-34 to start the 2006 season.
"It's tough all over," starter Jake Odorizzi said. "It seems like we just haven't clicked. When we're going good, we're great, but right now we can't match up hitting and pitching. One day we'll hit well and have a bad pitch day, and one day we'll pitch well and give up one or two and we'll end up losing."
Odorizzi had his roughest outing in more than a month, matching his shortest of the season (31/3 innings). Maddon said Odorizzi had his typically good stuff, but it "fell apart quickly," as he allowed three runs in a 41-pitch third, the kind of long, foul ball-heavy inning that has plagued him this season. Lefty Cesar Ramos saved the bullpen by picking up 42/3 innings.
"That's got to stop at one point or another," said Odorizzi, who was charged with five runs on six hits. "It's frustrating, to say the least."
Meanwhile, the Rays offense didn't do much to help. With rightfielder Wil Myers (sore right wrist) and shortstop Yunel Escobar (tight left quad) out of the lineup, Tampa Bay got dominated by Red Sox right-hander Rubby De La Rosa, who was making his first big-league start since 2011 with the Dodgers. De La Rosa became the first pitcher ever to record eight strikeouts without walking a batter or allowing a run in his first Fenway Park start.
"We're not swinging the bats great, but their pitcher was outstanding," Maddon said. "Got to give him a lot of credit. High-velocity fastball with a Bugs Bunny changeup."
The lone bright spots for the Rays were their strong defense and an inside-the-park homer by rookie Kevin Kiermaier in the eighth. Red Sox centerfielder Jackie Bradley made a valiant effort on the play, leaping against the wall in left-center, but the ball bounced back and hit him in the head, allowing Kiermaier to score easily.
"That's my first one, I don't think I ever had one as a little kid," Kiermaier said. "I like to run, so it's a really cool feeling to make it actually happen in a place like this."
Maddon, as always, believes that things will turn around, but the Rays fell 31/2 games behind the fourth-place Red Sox, who have won six straight after a 10-game skid.
"Once one or two games get going our way, it kind of spitballs and keeps rolling," Odorizzi said. "Look at them."
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.
Grady Sizemore slides past Rays catcher Jose Molina to score on Jonathan Herrera's bunt single in the fourth inning, giving the Red Sox a 4-0 lead. For the result of the late game, visit tampabay.com/rays