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BOS@TB: Red Sox put up a five-spot in the 1st inning

ST. PETERSBURG -- For the Red Sox, the ninth straight loss was literally the longest. It was also the most exasperating.

This time, a 6-5 defeat to the Rays took 15 innings Saturday night at Tropicana Field. But the result was all too familiar, especially for Andrew Miller. The lefty has been the losing pitcher of four walk-off losses in a span of 12 days.

"I've got four losses attached to my name in the last [12] days," Miller said. "The goal of this game is to win, not to feel good about yourself afterwards. Right now, I'm the one that's been stuck on the field a bunch of times and it feels like crap. I don't want to be there anymore, so my job in that situation is to put up a zero."

This one ended in near unfathomable fashion.

With runners on first and second and nobody out, Desmond Jennings hit a high hopper that Miller pounced on.

If everything had gone right, it could have been a double play. But hardly anything is right for the Red Sox these days.

Miller rushed the play, and fired a sinker into center field before Dustin Pedroia could get in position to cover the bag. Cole Figueroa roared in for the winning run.

Just like that, a game that lasted five hours, 16 minutes was history.

"Got Jennings with two strikes with him trying to bunt, which was big. Set it up. Got the comebacker," said Miller. "I just turned around and went to go throw. With instinct, you spin around and you start to see everything unfold. At the last second, I didn't feel like I had a play, just didn't have anybody getting to the bag, and I just didn't have time to hold on to the ball. I felt like the ball came back to me. The play in my head is to go back to second base. Just should've been able to hold onto the ball and get an out somewhere else."

For the defending World Series champion Red Sox, the losing streak is the longest they've had since manager Joe Kerrigan's team also lost nine straight from Aug. 25-Sept. 4, 2001.

"There's a fight that's going on," said manager John Farrell. "The guys are giving everything they can, everything they're capable of. Things aren't clicking."

Adding another measure of sting to the loss was that a short-handed Boston lineup that didn't have Shane Victorino, David Ortiz or Mike Napoli broke out to a 5-0 lead against Rays ace David Price in the top of the first.

Over the final 13 innings, the Red Sox produced two hits and no runs.

Though the offense continues to struggle mightily, right-hander Jake Peavy took this loss personally, even if he got a no-decision.

"That's tough, there's no excuse," said Peavy. "I've got to be able to hold that lead and make it stand up with as bad as we're going. When things are going bad, they're going bad. Can't catch a break. You make David Price throw [34] pitches and give up five [runs] and to not win that game is frustrating."

Just before the walk-off error, Miller initially looked as if he would field a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Guyer. But he gave way to third baseman Brock Holt. The only problem was that Holt never offered at it either, and everybody was safe.

Though the bunt was a good one, the Red Sox might have had a play if it had been executed better.

"Yeah, if Brock continues to come all the way through it," said Farrell. "And Andrew got off the mound in good shape. Clearly there was miscommunication on the play and it ends up going for a base hit."

The day started with such hope for the Red Sox.

Holt led off the first with a single to right and Xander Bogaerts followed with a single up the middle. Pedroia walked to load the bases with nobody out. Mike Carp was hit by a pitch, forcing in the first run. Jonny Gomes hit a sacrifice fly to left.

Then came the big hit of the inning, a three-run homer to right by A.J. Pierzynski that gave Peavy a 5-0 lead.

The Rays completed their comeback when Guyer stepped up with a game-tying, two-run double in the bottom of the fifth.

"The inning that obviously gets me is the fifth," said Peavy. "Guyer fouls off a bunch of pitches. We made good pitch after good pitch."

The Rays chipped away, starting in the second, when Logan Forsythe brought home a run on a sacrifice fly.

Forsythe's infield RBI single in the fourth made it a 5-2 game.

After striking out Jose Molina to open the fifth, Peavy got into big trouble. DeJesus and Longoria set the table with singles, and Matt Joyce chipped the deficit to two runs with an RBI single.

An otherwise brilliant day for Boston's bullpen again ended in defeat for Miller.

"He's been in a little bit of a tough stretch, there's no question," said Farrell. "Every extra-inning situation he's in, he's coming up on the short end. We're aware of it and conscious of it and yet we've got to go with who's available, too. The stuff is there. There's no backing up in stuff. It's just, he's not catching a break right now, nor are we."

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