BOSTON — The surging Tampa Bay Rays will have to wait an extra day to take another shot at moving into first place in the American League East.
“It’s OK. Patience is a virtue and all that other kind of stuff,” Rays manager Joe Maddon said Thursday night after his team, a half-game behind the Red Sox for the second time this week, was rained out of the series finale with Boston.
The game will be made up Monday night, after the Rays play three games against the Yankees in New York and the Red Sox play three against the Orioles in Baltimore.
Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson and Boston’s John Lackey, scheduled to pitch Thursday, will now open their teams’ series tonight.
The Rays won two of the three games played in Boston, getting to within a half-game of the top spot. Matt Moore threw a two-hit shutout in the opener, and after the Red Sox won Game 2, David Price pitched a complete game Wednesday night.
It started raining Thursday afternoon and really hadn’t let up when the umpires, in charge of the game because of this being Tampa Bay’s last visit to Fenway Park this year, called the game at 7:39 p.m. EDT, 29 minutes after the scheduled start.
“The umpires did the right thing,” Maddon said. “I’ve got to give Brian (Gorman, the crew chief,) a lot of credit. I talked to him and Larry (Vanover), and it was all about playing nine innings. It should never be about starting the game and hoping to get in five. That should never be the way it’s viewed, and I really appreciate they did it that way, and I commend them on it.”
Boston manager John Farrell agreed.
“It certainly beat the alternative,” he said. “We didn’t want to get into a start-and-stop situation, and if we didn’t get past an official game, does that cause us to lose John Lackey for the next four or five days? That, in addition to Monday being the best of all available alternatives for both sides, it seemed to make the most sense.”
The Rays have won seven of their last eight, 15 of 17, 19 or 22 and 22 of 27. They won their eighth straight series and are 22-12 on the road after a 4-11 away start.
The Red Sox have been in first place since May 27, but the teams are now even in the loss column.
Maddon pushed his rotation back a day, following Hellickson with rookie Chris Archer and Moore. He will choose between Price and Roberto Hernandez for Monday, the other working Tuesday. As it turned out, Price might get the chance to beat the Red Sox twice in five days. Whoever doesn’t pitch Monday will open the home series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
The Red Sox changed their order around for Baltimore. Ryan Dempster still follows Lackey, but Jon Lester will pitch on his regular day Sunday. Felix Doubront will pitch the makeup game, while rookie Brandon Workman, originally set to face Baltimore on Sunday, will start Tuesday at home against the Seattle Mariner. Workman also will be available in relief Friday or Saturday if needed.
NOTES: RF Wil Myers has already set the Rays’ rookie record with six straight multi-hit games, and now he’s going after Carl Crawford’s 2007 overall team mark of eight straight. Myers is on an 18-for-36 tear. ... Boston RHP Andrew Bailey underwent right shoulder surgery in New York on Wednesday. He could miss up to a year. ... Red Sox C David Ross, out with his second concussion of the season, has rejoined the team on a limited basis and can start resuming some baseball activities. ... Moore and Price became the first opposition pitchers since 1997 (the Rangers’ Darren Oliver and Bobby Witt) to win complete games in the same series at Fenway Park. The last time two lefties pulled it off was way back in 1973, when Oakland’s Vida Blue and Darold Knowles did it. The only other time it happened since World War II was in 1963, Juan Pizarro and Gary Peters of the White Sox the pitchers.
... Monday’s rescheduled game means the Red Sox will be playing 17 straight days from Friday through Aug.