Red Sox aim to even series with Rays

( - From first to worst is the reality of the Boston Red Sox and they'll try to even this three-game set with the Tampa Bay Rays Wednesday at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox suffered a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Rays on Tuesday and starting pitcher Clay Buchholz resumed his struggling ways on the mound by allowing five runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings. A five-run eighth inning chased the right-hander from the game.

"Very efficient," Boston manager John Farrell though of Buchholz's outing. "Things kind of got away from us for the remainder of the (eighth)."

Jemile Weeks and Daniel Nava had an RBI apiece for the defending World Series champion Red Sox.

Boston will give Anthony Ranaudo another chance to prove he's rotation worthy and the right-hander has a 3-3 record with a 5.29 earned run average in six starts this season. Ranaudo won his first three starts at this level, but has dropped his next three trips to the hill. He gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings of a 4-0 loss at Pittsburgh and has allowed at least that many runs in five of his six appearances.

Ranaudo won his only start against the Rays on Aug. 29, holding them to three runs in six innings of an 8-4 win at Tropicana Field.

Matt Joyce homered, Ben Zobrist went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored and James Loney added two RBI in the win for Tampa Bay. Rays starting pitcher Alex Cobb lucked out with that big eighth inning and picked up the win by throwing seven innings of one-run ball.

"I knew early on it was one of those nights where I didn't have my best stuff," Cobb said. "But one thing I've started to learn as I've gotten more experience is that I can go out and battle without my best stuff."

Rays shortstop Yunel Escobar left Tuesday's game with a knee sprain suffered while trying to score in the third inning. He is most likely finished for the season and has a .257 average with seven homers and 39 RBI.

Jake Odorizzi will handle pitching duties for the Rays Wednesday and he is 11-12 with a 3.98 ERA. The young right-hander won his last outing on Sept. 16 in a 6-1 triumph over the New York Yankees and held them to a run in six innings. Odorizzi rebounded from a rough start on Sept. 10, when he gave up six runs in 4 1/3 innings of an 8-5 loss at Yankee Stadium.

Odorizzi is 5-6 in 13 road starts and 1-1 with a 2.86 ERA in four career starts against the Red Sox. He defeated the Red Sox on Aug. 30, tossing seven shutout innings in a 7-0 win at the Trop.

Tampa Bay has a slight 10-7 edge against Boston this season.