ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — For a change, the story with Chris Sale on Thursday night wasn’t all the bats he missed, but the ones he didn’t.
Wilson Ramos homered and drove in three against Sale despite the All-Star’s record-setting performance, rookie Jake Faria remained unbeaten and the Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1.
Ramos homered on a first-pitch fastball for two runs in the sixth inning, the second homer allowed by Sale in the game.
“I was trying to get ahead,” Sale said. “He had other plans.”
Sale (11-4) struck out 12 while giving up four runs and seven hits in seven innings. He became the first Red Sox pitcher to strike out 10 or more in 12 games before the All-Star break, surpassing the 11 games of Pedro Martinez in 1999.
“The one thing with Chris — you look at the walk totals (22 walks in 18 starts), he’s going to be around the plate,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “If guys are aggressive against him, they may end up getting a pitch that’s on the plate because he attacks everyone.”
Faria (4-0) gave up a run and four hits while walking four in six innings. The rookie right-hander has pitched at least six innings in each of his six starts.
Alex Colome pitched the ninth for his 23rd save.
Ramos’ homer capped the scoring.
“It sucked the energy out of us, and that’s on me,” Sale said. “It’s easier to fight when you’re down one than when you’re down three, so I put our guys in a bad spot.”
Peter Bourjos had homered earlier to put the Rays up 2-1.
Ramos has three homers in seven games since returning from a torn ACL, and nine RBIs in his past five games.
“I feel a lot better at the plate,” he said. “I’m happy because I’m getting my timing back with my swing.”
Boston shortstop Xander Bogaerts left in the first inning with a right hand contusion after getting hit by Faria’s pitch. X-rays were negative.
Deven Marrero entered for Bogaerts and drove in Boston’s run with a sacrifice fly in the third. The Red Sox entered with a four-game lead in the AL East but had only five hits, all singles.
Rays first baseman Logan Morrison, who has reached base in 26 straight games, had two of his three hits off Sale and is now 5 for 12 against the left-hander. “His at-bats against Chris Sale are very impressive,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “You don’t see too many left-handed hitters willing to stay in there like he does.”
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been on the disabled list since June 2 with a right knee subluxation, pitched batting practice and will make another rehab start at Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday before rejoining the rotation after the All-Star break.
Rays: INF Tim Beckham was out of the lineup with a sore left ankle.
Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (8-4) will pitch Friday night’s game. He is 5-1 with a 2.52 ERA in his last nine starts.
Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (5-3) has allowed a home run in 12 straight appearances, a franchise record, but is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in five home starts against Boston