James Shields halts Boston’s nine-game winning streak

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After three straight series sweeps and 30 runs in their last two games, the Red Sox were shut down by the Rays’ James Shields on Tuesday, getting blanked for the sixth time this year in a 4-0 loss.

For Shields, it was his third shutout already this season.  The Cardinals’ Jaime Garcia entered the day as the only other pitcher with multiple shutouts.  He has two.  Justin Verlander also notched his second tonight in a win over the Indians.

The Red Sox had their best chance to score in the first, when they had first and third with one out and the bases loaded with two outs.  However, Carl Crawford, in his first at-bat in the Trop since leaving for Boston over the winter, grounded out to first to end the rally.  Crawford finished the game 0-for-3. He was left on deck when the game ended.

Adrian Gonzalez went 3-for-4 for Boston, but he saw his streak of nine straight games with an RBI end with Boston’s winning streak.

With the victory, the Rays improved to 3-0 against the Red Sox this season.  They’re 3 1/2 games back of Boston in the AL East.

Report: Orioles interested in Lance Lynn

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The Orioles singlehandedly kept the rumor mill churning this weekend. MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports that the club is interested in making a play for free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, adding him to a list of potential candidates that also includes free agent righty Alex Cobb. The two are expected to command similar contracts in free agency, but Morosi notes that the Orioles may prefer Cobb based on his familiarity with the AL East.

Lynn, 30, is two years removed from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. Despite missing the 2016 season, he bounced back with a respectable 11-8 record in 33 starts and complemented his efforts with a 3.43 ERA, 3.8 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 over 186 1/3 innings for the 2017 Cardinals. He lost several days with a blister on his pitching hand in early September, but managed to avoid any major injuries and can reasonably be expected to shoulder another heavy workload in 2018.

Lynn may not be the Orioles’ first choice to beef up their starting rotation, but there’s no doubt that he’ll be in high demand as one of very few viable starters on the market this winter. The veteran righty rejected his one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Cardinals on Thursday and will likely be seeking a multi-year contract, one that Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch estimates around five years and $100+ million. If the Orioles are willing to bite that bullet, they’ll still need to compensate the Cardinals with their third pick in next year’s draft.