Drew Smyly
Rays drop opener to Red Sox after Mike Napoli's home run
Drew Smyly

Rays drop opener to Red Sox after Mike Napoli's home run

Published Jul. 31, 2015 10:34 p.m. ET

BOSTON (AP) -- On the day reliever Kevin Jepsen was traded to Minnesota for a pair of prospects, the Tampa Bay Rays' middle relief faltered.

Jake McGee, one of several pitchers picked by manager Kevin Cash to fill in for Jepsen, gave up a go-ahead, two-run home run to Mike Napoli in the seventh inning as the Rays lost to the Boston Red Sox 7-5 win Friday night.

Tampa Bay committed three errors in the game, two in Boston's three-run first.

"This game appeared to be decided the way it was going early on," Cash said. "We're not good enough, and I don't know of any teams that are, to give up extra outs and that's what we did tonight."


The Red Sox had already blown two leads when McGee (0-1) walked David Ortiz on 11 pitches with two outs in the seventh inning. Napoli turned a one-run deficit into a 6-5 lead with a drive that landed on the ledge atop the 37-foot-high wall.

"It was where I wanted it. I got it up and away," McGee said. "I like to go up and away a lot and high, and he got the bat to it and kind of almost hit a fly ball to left field and it hit the ledge on the wall, so can't do much about it."

Tampa Bay put a pair of runners on to open its half of the eighth, but Logan Forsythe flied out and Joey Butler grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Junichi Tazawa (2-3) earned the win despite allowing John Jaso's two-run double that gave Tampa Bay a 5-4 lead in the seventh. Koji Uehara pitched the ninth for his 23rd save in 25 chances.

Another subject of trade talks, Alejandro de Aza, had two hits for Boston. Blake Swihart also had a pair of hits for the Red Sox, doubling with one out in the eighth and scoring on a wild pitch to make it 7-5.

Boston scored three runs in the first thanks to a wild pitch and two errors. The Rays tied it in the third and, after giving the lead back in the fifth on a double by de Aza, went ahead in the seventh on Jaso's pinch-double.

The teams entered with 9-15 records in July -- tied for the worst in the majors for the month. For the Rays, it was their worst July ever.


Ortiz was 0-for-3 with a walk. But, oh, what a walk.

Cash said Ortiz, who is 2 for 8 with two walks in his career against the McGee, took advantage of his experience against the Rays lefty.

"This is a guy that's seen a ton of at-bats," Cash said. "They've had this match-up plenty of times, and tip your cap to David. It was an excellent at-bat."


Rays: LHP Drew Smyly (torn left labrum) was sent on a rehab assignment to Single-A Charlotte. OF Desmond Jennings (left knee bursitis) will rehab at Triple-A Durham.

Red Sox: OF Hanley Ramirez (left shin) and 3B Pablo Sandoval (left forearm) got the game off. Both will be evaluated again on Saturday.


Rays: Left-hander Matt Moore (1-2) starts Saturday. The Rays will add a player to replace OF Mikie Mahtook, optioned to Triple-A Durham after the game.

Red Sox: Joe Kelly (2-6) will try to win for the first time since June 6.


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