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Crawford in middle of frustrations

Crawford in middle of frustrations

ST. PETERSBURG -- Carl Crawford found himself in the middle of a lot of the action in Game 1. Unfortunately for Crawford and the Rays, none of what he did panned out for a win.

Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and Crawford stepped up to break the right-hander's spell with a crisp single into right field leading off the seventh.

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Crawford moved to third on Cliff Floyd's single to left-center field, but ultimately he was stranded at third as Matsuzaka retired Dioner Navarro on a flyout to left that was too shallow for even the speedy Crawford to score. Gabe Gross then struck out swinging before Jason Bartlett grounded into a fielder's choice to end the inning.

Matsuzaka "pitched good tonight," Crawford said. "He had a two-seamer working. And he was throwing a little harder tonight, it seemed like. And he just seemed to make his pitches when he needed to."

Coming up empty in the seventh proved frustrating to Rays manager Joe Maddon, particularly given the fact Crawford was on third with no outs, which is normally a lock for at least one run to score.

"Yeah, in that situation we had first and third, nobody out," Maddon said. "The at-bats, Navi popup, and then, of course, a strikeout by Gabe and then groundout. Listen, it happens. When you're facing very good pitching at this time of the year, they can stifle you, even with nobody out."

Crawford tried to make a play in the eighth when Kevin Youkilis hit a line drive to left. Crawford dove for it and the ball glanced off his glove for an RBI double, giving the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

"A lot of top spin on that ball," Crawford said. "I don't think anybody else would have even gotten to it. So I just tried to make a play on it, because I thought we needed an out at that time. He hit it pretty hard and it had some serious top spin."

Crawford finished out his evening in frustration by swinging and missing at an offering by Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon for strike three for the first out of the ninth.

Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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