BOSTON – Entering a showdown for first place with the Red Sox, the Tampa Bay Rays came in with the majors’ hottest rotation.
They left town after Thursday’s rainout still a half-game behind AL East-leading Boston, but had a pair of left-handers — David Price and Matt Moore — perform something that hadn’t been done by two lefties in Fenway Park in nearly 40 years.
Price and Moore each pitched complete-game victories as the red-hot Rays took two of three from the Red Sox.
“I actually have had a chance to reflect on that,” Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon said, sitting in his office about 90 minutes before the scheduled starting time.
“There’s something in (the press notes) about complete games for lefties in Fenway against the Sox.”
The past two visiting left-handers to post complete-game wins over the Red Sox were Oakland’s Vida Blue and Darold Knowles in 1973.
Now, the Red Sox may have to face one of them again when the teams get together for Monday’s makeup game at 6:10 p.m.
The Rays listed Roberto Hernandez or Price for the matchup next week.
Price was outstanding in a 5-1 win on Wednesday, holding Boston to five hits, striking out four and not walking a batter en route to his third complete game in four starts.
The Rays head to New York for a three-game series against the Yankees, having won 19 of their past 22 games. Jeremy Hellickson (9-3, 4.62 ERA) is scheduled to face CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.37 ERA) on Friday. Chris Archer faces New York’s Ivan Nova on Saturday and Moore goes against Phil Hughes on Sunday.
Tampa Bay’s starters have a major league-best 2.21 ERA in the 27 games since they fell into the AL East’s basement on June 23.
The Red Sox, who dropped a home series because of the shortened set with Tampa Bay after going 8-0-1, play the Orioles in Baltimore on Friday night.
John Lackey (7-7, 2.95 ERA) was scheduled to start Thursday, but he’ll open the three-game series on Friday against Chris Tillman (12-3, 3.84).
Boston’s scheduled starter for Saturday, Brandon Workman, was pushed back to next Tuesday. Ryan Dempster was moved from Friday to Saturday, Jon Lester remains on turn for Sunday and Felix Doubront is slated to pitch Monday’s makeup.
“Keeping four of the five guys on their normal turn, despite John and Ryan getting an extra day, and just felt like Lester and Doubront in those slots, I felt like it was right,” Boston Manager John Farrell said.
DUSTIN PEDROIA must wait until July 2028 to receive all the money from his $110 million, eight-year contract with the Red Sox, which includes $18 million in salary that is deferred without interest for seven years and a full no-trade provision that starts this Aug. 7.
The All-Star second baseman is making $10 million this year and had been due to earn the same amount next season under a $40.5 million, six-year contract that included an $11 million club option for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.
Under the new deal finalized Wednesday, he receives a $1 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of approval by the commissioner’s office. He gets a raise to $12.5 million next year and receives the same salary in 2015.
His salary rises to $13 million in 2016, $15 million in 2017 and $16 million in 2018. It then decreases to $15 million in 2019, $13 million in 2020 and $12 million in 2021.
Each of the first four seasons includes $2 million in deferred money, and each of the final four includes $2.5 million. He will receive the money in four annual payments of $2 million each July 15 starting in 2021 followed by four payments of $2.5 million each July 15 starting in 2025.
The agreement negotiated by agents Sam and Seth Levinson gives him full no-trade protection in two weeks when he reaches seven years of major league service.
Pedroia otherwise would have been entitled to it August 2016 under the provision in baseball’s labor contract that says 10-year veterans who have been with their teams for five years can’t be traded without their approval.