Added up, Sunday's outcomes resulted in the Rays getting swept by scores of 3-1 and 4-0.
"Well, we won, that's what we're aiming to do," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "It was a good weekend. ... I feel like we've been here all day. It's been a long day of baseball, but a good day of baseball."
A different perspective rang out from the visiting clubhouse. The losses moved the Rays' losing streak to 11 games, which tied the longest losing streak during Joe Maddon's tenure as manager; the Rays experienced an 11-gamer from June 25-July 5, 2007. During the current slide -- which is the longest in the Major Leagues this season (Kansas City had a 10-game losing streak in July) -- the Rays have scored just 23 runs.
"All of this other stuff is magnified through the lack of offense," Maddon said. "You can't expect to win when you score no runs and then one run. This whole week has been pretty much negative offense. Regardless of how you want to talk about the rest of what we've done, right or wrong, that's pretty much where it's at. We've got to get better there."
Shields said he can't remember being on a team that had 11 straight losses.
"It's embarrassing," Shields said. "Eleven straight losses is embarrassing. It's not fun right now. We've got to play better baseball from here on out. I don't care if we're in the race or not. We've got to at least end our season on a high note and move on and try to win some ballgames."
Looking to move his record to .500 for the season, Shields allowed just one run through the first five innings. That run was minted in the second when J.D. Drew scored on Mike Lowell's groundout to put the Red Sox up, 1-0. Shields escaped the second with no further damage and later escaped a bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
The Rays right-hander appeared to escape one final jam in the sixth when the Red Sox had runners on second and third with two outs when Jason Varitek hit a hot shot toward Willy Aybar that got past the Rays first baseman. Two runs scored to put the Red Sox up, 3-0. Varitek was awarded a single on the hit, a ruling that could be debated. But while the ruling could have gone either way, Rays fans had to be frustrated in the know that injured first baseman Carlos Pena likely would have made the play.
"Shields was good," Maddon said. "I really thought that was probably one of James' better-pitched games in this ballpark. He should have got out of it with one run only. I don't think Varitek's was a hit. I thought it was an error. It should have been two unearned runs right there. I thought he did a really good job."
Shields posted a quality start, allowing three runs over six innings, but took his first road loss since July 22 at Chicago. Sunday's start gave Shields 30 for the season, earning him the noted distinction as the first Rays pitcher to post three 30-start campaigns.
"I had pretty good stuff," Shields said. "I thought I was a little erratic with my fastball. Other than that, I thought I pitched pretty well. But in the end, we lost, and I'm not really happy about it."
Garza allowed one run through seven innings in the first game before Dustin Pedroia's two-run homer with one out in the bottom of the eighth broke a 1-1 tie to lead the Red Sox to victory and hang a 10th consecutive loss on the Rays. Not since Sept. 2 against the Red Sox at Tropicana Field have the Rays claimed victory.
In addition to being eliminated from the AL East race, the Rays fell further out of the AL Wild Card race to where they now trail the Red Sox by 12 1/2 games with just 19 games remaining on the schedule.
By the end of the second game, frustration spilled over to action. Pat Burrell, who is mired in a 1-for-19 slump during the current road trip, was ejected from the game by home-plate umpire Lance Barksdale in the top of the eighth inning after striking out as a pinch-hitter. Burrell thought he had checked his swing.
"Pat's play, I didn't really argue that," Maddon said. "From my perspective, I thought that he did swing. I don't know exactly what was said."
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less