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Rays losing streak reaches 6 games after 4-0 loss to Red Sox

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BOSTON - Despite his team's recent struggles, Rays manager Joe Maddon believes they will turn it around soon.

"I really, truly, absolutely believe our offence is a lot better than this," he said after the Boston Red Sox finished off a three-game sweep of the Rays with a 4-0 win on Sunday.

"We'll be fine. We just have to be a more consistent offensive club."

The Rays have lost a season-high six straight games. They've scored only five runs in their past four games.

And their starting pitchers are winless in their past 14 outings.

Maddon knows how quickly a team can turn it around.

The Rays swept a three-game series against the Red Sox last weekend, capping Boston's 10-game losing streak.

The Red Sox then followed their longest skid in 20 years with their season-long, seven-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay is just as streaky.

The Rays have the worst record in the American League at 23-34 after losing four straight, winning four and dropping six in a row, but Maddon maintains his team has a resilient run in them, too.

"I honestly, totally, absolutely, firmly believe it's going to happen," he said. "I really believe that run's there. It's really pretty much rooted in one component of our game — we're just not a consistent offensive team right now."

Pitching has been a problem as well.

Erik Bedard (2-4) lasted 4 2-3 innings Sunday, allowing three runs and five hits, walking four and striking out four.

Tampa Bay starters are 0-7 with a 5.42 ERA in their past 14 games.

"Nothing really clicking together, I guess," Bedard said. "If we pitch good, we don't score runs. If we pitch bad, we score runs. It's the way it is right now."

The Red Sox are clicking in all facets again.

Jon Lester pitched seven shutout innings and Brock Holt drove in two runs with one of his four doubles to keep Boston's winning streak alive.

Holt had his big day after hitting his first major league homer in Saturday night's win. Garin Cecchini added an RBI double for his first major league hit.

"Holt has really sparked them over the last couple days," Maddon said. "They're getting some production out of their young players."

Lester (6-6) allowed four hits, while striking out 12 and walking one. Edward Mujica and Koji Uehara each pitched an inning to complete the five-hit shutout.

For the second straight day, the clubs were cordial to each other on the field after three Boston managers and a pitcher were ejected in Friday's game.

Rays starter David Price hit David Ortiz in the first inning and Mike Carp later in the fourth. The Carp one triggered the benches to clear, the second time in less than a week the two teams had a scrum.

Last Sunday in Tropicana Field, players in Boston's dugout started yelling at Yunel Escobar when he stole third with the Rays up by five runs late.

The Red Sox broke ahead 3-0 in the fourth against Bedard.

"It's been kind of ongoing for a little while now. A team doesn't stay stagnant for that long," Rays second baseman Logan Forsythe said. "We're going to get hot, we're going to get going soon. It's just a matter of time."

NOTES: Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia was back in the lineup after missing Saturday's game with a sore right hand, but his day was cut short when he was ejected at the end of the third by home plate umpire D.J. Reyburn. ... Tampa Bay placed OF Wil Myers on the 15-day DL before the game and recalled 1B/OF Jerry Sands from Triple-A Durham. Sands went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. ... Rays SS Escobar was out of the starting lineup for the second straight game with a tight left quad, but he pinch hit in the seventh and flied to centre. ... Tampa Bay opens a two-game series in Miami on Monday when RHP Alex Cobb (1-2, 2.93 ERA) faces LHP Randy Wolf (0-1, 4.50).

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