After a pair of high-scoring games to start the series, the Red Sox and Rays put on a show of offensive ineptitude Sunday night, with Boston winning 1-0 in 16 innings.
It was the longest 1-0 game since the Brewers beat the Angels 1-0 on June 8, 2004, though the Mets and Cardinals played 18 scoreless innings before New York beat St. Louis 2-1 in 20 innings on April 17, 2010. The Red Sox were on the losing end of a similar contest two years ago. They fell 2-0 to the Yankees in 15 innings on Aug. 7, 2009.
The team’s combined to bat .078, which is even lower than Adam Dunn’s average this season. The Red Sox were 5-for-52, while the Rays went 3-for-50. Dustin Pedroia had three of Boston’s hits, including the go-ahead single that plated Josh Reddick in the 16th.
The starting pitchers were stellar, of course. Josh Beckett, who left his last start in the first half with a hyperextended knee, pitched eight innings of one-hit ball. Jeff Niemann allowed two hits while also going eight innings. He fanned 10 tonight after failing to strike out more than six in any of his previous 10 starts this season.
It looked like Boston would go ahead in the 11th, but after three straight walks to start the frame, Reddick and Jason Varitek both struck out and Marco Scutaro popped out foul to the catcher.
The Red Sox walked 12 times in all. They left 17 runners on base to the Rays’ six.
By winning two out of three this weekend, the Red Sox opened a seven-game gap on the Rays in the standings. The Yankees are in second place in the AL East, 1 1/2 games back of Boston.