ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Cole Figueroa‘s first big-league RBI was a big one.
Figueroa had a pinch-hit, run-scoring double in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 victory against the Boston Red Sox, who dropped their eighth in a row on Friday night.
"It was kind of last minute," said Figueroa, who was told by bench coach Dave Martinez about the upcoming at-bat. "Davey came over and said `If the righty comes in, we’re going to pinch hit, and you’re going to go up and win the game for us.’"
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Desmond Jennings drew a one-out walk in the ninth off Andrew Miller (1-3). Right-hander Burke Badenhop entered and, after Jennings stole second on a pitchout, Figueroa drove in the winning run on a drive to right-center.
"That’s a great moment for him," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "It was a great moment for us."
The 26-year old Figueroa had his contract purchased from Triple-A Durham May 14 and made his major-league debut two days later.
Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-0), the third Tampa Bay reliever, pitched the ninth and picked up the win. It was his first victory since Aug. 1, 2011 with Miami when he was known as Leo Nunez.
John Lackey gave up five hits, including three by Evan Longoria, in seven-plus shutout innings for the Red Sox. Boston has scored just 16 runs during its longest skid since dropping the final eight games of the 2012 season.
"We’re not playing very good right now," Lackey said. "You can’t really point finger at one person, one area. We’ve had nights where everybody hasn’t played up to his capability. We just have to put a ballgame together and pay better."
Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer struck out 11, walked four and scattered four hits over six scoreless innings.
Red Sox manager John Farrell tweaked his lineup, which failed early on Friday to get a key hit as Boston couldn’t score after getting two on with two outs in the first, second and fifth innings.
"We put guys on base and were not able to cash in once again" Farrell said.
Brock Holt hit leadoff for the second time this season. Dustin Pedroia made his second appearance batting third, with regular third- and fourth-place hitters David Ortiz and Mike Napoli both moving down one spot.
Ortiz stopped an 0-for-17 slide with an opposite-field broken-bat ground single to left in the first.
Farrell said second-place hitter Xander Bogaerts could bat leadoff against left-handed starters.
Lackey worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the both the first and sixth by getting grounders from Wil Myers and James Loney.
Boston right fielder Shane Victorino left in the ninth with right hamstring tightness. He appeared to get hurt running to first base.
Maddon talked with RHP Grant Balfour one day after the closer voiced displeasure with fans who booed him after a blown save Thursday. "I emphasized the point that it’s important he says what he wants to say, and then I gave him my take on everything beyond that," Maddon said. "But in no way would I try to muzzle any of our guys." … Red Sox SS Stephen Drew was optioned to Class-A Greenville to start a stretch of nine or 10 minor-league games. He went 1 for 2 and played five innings of defense Friday. … Red Sox 3B Will Middlebrooks (broken right index finger) had X-rays taken to see how the healing process is progressing … Red Sox LHP Felix Doubront (strained left shoulder) is ready to start a light throwing program. … Rays LHP David Price (4-4) and Boston RHP Jake Peavy (1-2) are Saturday’s scheduled starters. … Rays 3B coach Tom Foley wore Tampa Bay senior adviser Don Zimmer’s uniform No. 66. Zimmer is recovering from heart surgery last month.