The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Red Sox can't muster any offence, lose to Rays 1-0 on ninth inning hit

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - The Boston Red Sox haven't lost eight straight games since Bobby Valentine was their manager.

That wasn't all that long ago, just 2012, though it was surely a time the Red Sox and their fans would like to forget.

Boston's losing streak reached eight when pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa hit an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth inning off Burke Badenhop to give the Tampa Bay Rays a 1-0 victory Friday night and drop the defending champion Red Sox into last place in the AL East.

They have scored only 16 runs during their losing streak.

"We put guys on base and were not able to cash in once again," said manager John Farrell.

"If we hadn't had the last week that we had, we'd say that was a pretty good game," catcher A.J. Pierzynski said. "I thought we played well. We just didn't get that hit that we needed. Tomorrow we're going to have to find a way to win a game."

Desmond Jennings scored after drawing a one-out walk in the ninth off Andrew Miller (1-3) and stealing second on a pitchout. The double was Figueroa's first career extra-base hit.

Juan Carlos Oviedo (1-0), the third Tampa Bay reliever, pitched the ninth and got the win.

John Lackey gave up five hits, including three by Evan Longoria, in seven-plus shutout innings for the Red Sox. Tampa Bay starter Chris Archer struck out 11, walked four and scattered four hits over six scoreless innings.

"I didn't give up any runs, but their guy pitched well, too, and their bullpen behind him," said Lackey, who has allowed two runs or less in save of his 10 starts. "We're not playing very good right now. You can't really point a finger at one person, one area."

Farrell tweaked his lineup, which failed to score after getting two on in the first, second and fifth innings.

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, one of only five Boston hits.

Boston right fielder Shane Victorino left in the ninth with right hamstring tightness. He appeared to get hurt running to first base.

NOTES: Tampa Bay manager Joe 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 Single-A Greenville to start a stretch of nine or 10 minor league games. He went 1 for 2 and played five innings of defence 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.

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