Sending a weak-looking lineup against top prospect Matt Moore, the Red Sox could have been forgiven a mediocre performance. Instead, scoring in four straight innings to start the game and 6-of-9 overall, they gave Clay Buchholz ample backup, sending the Rays to an 8-4 defeat.
While big things are expected of Matt Moore in the coming season, the Red Sox were not impressed Sunday afternoon. After some hard contact resulted in outs for Mike Aviles and Nick Punto, Cody Ross put the Red Sox on top all by himself, going deep for the second straight day to left field.
Moore would give up another long ball in the second to Josh Kroeger before being chased from the game in the third after walking three batters. His replacement, Romulo Sanchez, would fair a little better, walking Jarrod Saltalamacchia to bring in a run, and giving up a sacrifice fly before ending the threat.
While both of those runs would be charged to Moore, Sanchez would suffer some damage of his own in the fourth, allowing three straight batters to reach base. The Sox would manage to bring two of them around to score, bringing the score to 6-1.
The one Rays run had come from a home run on a low Clay Buchholz fastball dug out by Evan Longoria. Aside from that blemish, however, Buchholz was incredibly solid, striking out four batters and allowing just three more hits--one on a bunt--in five innings of one-run ball.
The Rays would manage to fight back in the later innings against Justin Thomas and Vicente Padilla (who would allow five hits but just one run in three innings of work), but with the Red Sox managing to add their own pair of late runs, would never really make it much of a game.