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Pair of pitchers blank Tampa Bay

by Steve Carney

Clay Buchholz and Andrew Miller combined on a three-hit shutout, and Mike Napoli's two-run double was enough hitting for the Boston Red Sox, who whitewashed the Rays 5-0 Sunday at Fenway Park.

Buchholz did not allow a hit through the first seven frames.  Tampa Bay's first two hits came in the eighth, as Kelly Johnson led off with a broken-bat single to right, though he was erased by a double play.  Desmond Jennings then lifted a double high off the Green Monster and was left stranded at second base.

The Boston right-hander gave up four walks, but struck out a career-high 11 in his eight innings of work.

All the offense Boston needed came off starter Alex Cobb in the third inning, as Jacoby Ellsbury singled to center, moved up a base on a bunt single by Shane Victorino, and went to third on a single by Dustin Pedroia.  Mike Napoli then doubled into the triangle to bring in a pair of runners for a 2-0 lead.

After Cobb hit Nava with a pitch to re-load the bases, Will Middlebrooks grounded back to the mound, which forced Pedroia at the plate.  Stephen Drew then grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but Yunel Escobar's throw ended up going into the Boston dugout, allowing two more runs to score, extending the lead to 4-0.

Jamey Wright allowed the final run in the eighth, giving up a double to Dustin Pedroia, who came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Will Middlebrooks.

Miller allowed a leadoff single to Evan Longoria in the ninth, but got pinch-hitter Shelley Duncan to ground into a double play to only face the minimum to end the game.

The Rays will look to avoid a sweep Monday morning, as they face off with the Red Sox on Patriots Day.  Jeremy Hellickson gets the start for Tampa Bay.  First pitch is scheduled for 11:05, with pregame coverage starting at 10:30 on 620 WDAE.

 

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