Koji struggles and Sox are swept
Boston — It was a long, frustrating day for the Boston Red Sox.
It began when they left 11 men on base in a 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays in the opener of a day-night doubleheader, a game featuring a controversial call that if overturned would have tied the game.
Almost 10 hours later, they stranded 10 more runners and normally reliable closer Koji Uehara surrendered the game-winning homer to Yunel Escobar leading off the ninth inning.
All in all, a difficult day to swallow.
"Seemingly it was the story of the day, considering the number of opportunities we created for ourself, a number of runners in scoring position, all the way through the final three innings in game one, again here in game two," said Boston manager John Farrell. "The one thing I will say is that we continue to create those opportunities. Things will turn. And yet, that RBI base hit with runners in scoring position is elusive right now."
Escobar crushed the second pitch from Uehara (0-1) over the Green Monster in left field for his second homer of the year, and Grant Balfour recorded the final three outs for his second save of the day and sixth of the season.
It was just the fourth homer Uehara has allowed at Fenway Park since joining the Red Sox before last season, and his first regular-season loss since Sept. 17.
"It happens every year, April, May," Uehara said through a translator. "I think even last year I didn't pitch that well."
Sean Rodriguez and Desmond Jennings also went deep for last-place Tampa Bay.
Boston starter Felix Doubront gave up four runs — three earned — on five hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Ortiz delivered a two-run single during a five-run fifth inning that gave the Red Sox a 5-2 lead before the Rays stormed back to tie it in the eighth.
At least the second game was in their control. The first, though, was left to the umpires.
The Red Sox thought they had tied the opener in the seventh inning.
With Tampa Bay leading 2-1, Dustin Pedroia was called out on a close play at the plate, thrown out on a relay from Escobar at shortstop while attempting to score from first on Ortiz's double high off the Green Monster.
After a 1 minute, 52 second delay, it was announced the call "stands."
Boston third base coach Brian Butterfield was ejected by first base umpire Toby Basner for slamming his helmet to the ground.
"I just don't like the whole inconclusive deal," said Pedroia, who didn't think he was tagged before crossing the plate. "Replay, you should go check it out and you're either out or safe. I don't know what inconclusive means. Maybe that means someone doesn't want to make a decision. We all make decisions every day. Some of them are hard and some of them are not. Got to make them, though."
Farrell thought he was safe.
"I thought not only did Dustin beat the throw, beat the tag, but felt like his left foot made some contact with home plate," he said. "Our video internally showed that that was the case."
Jonny Gomes had an RBI single for the Red Sox, who had won three of their past four.
David DeJesus had a solo homer and drew a bases-loaded walk, and Tampa Bay's bullpen pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings.
Brandon Gomes (2-1) got four outs for the win. Balfour recorded the final three for the save, getting Ortiz to ground out with a runner on second to end the game.
Boston's Jake Peavy (1-1) gave up two or fewer runs for the fifth time in six starts, holding the Rays to two and three hits in 6 1-3 innings.
Rays starter Cesar Ramos allowed just one run and one hit over 4 2-3 innings. He walked six and struck out six.
• The opener was the makeup of Wednesday night's game that was postponed because of inclement weather. … The makeup turned into "Dustin Pedroia Bobblehead Day" after being originally scheduled for Wednesday. … It was the first doubleheader for both teams since last year when the Red Sox swept the Rays in Fenway Park on June 18. ... The Red Sox have scored two or fewer runs while Peavy was in the game in five of his six starts. … Boston will host Oakland for a three-game series beginning tonight, with Red Sox RHP Clay Buchholz (1-2, 6.66) facing Athletics RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 5.14).
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