The Tampa Bay Rays' offense came to life in the opener of a series against another underachieving AL East team.
The Ray aim for their first consecutive victories of the season and try to rise out of last place in the East on Tuesday night when they continue their three-game set against the Boston Red Sox.
Tampa Bay (2-8) scored just one run in six of its first nine games, and has totaled 11 runs in its eight losses. However, facing a Red Sox team with a starters' ERA upwards of seven, the Rays pounded out 20 hits in a 16-5 win in Monday night's series opener at Fenway Park.
Sam Fuld went 4 for 6 with a two-run homer, drove in three runs and fell a single shy of the cycle while Johnny Damon had three hits, including a homer, against one of his former teams.
The Rays had nine extra-base hits, including six doubles. With 20 total hits, they raised their season batting average 38 points in one night to .201.
"That was nice to see," manager Joe Maddon said. "Really consistent at_bats throughout the game. We attacked pitches, sprayed the ball all around the place.'
Boston starter Daisuke Matsuzaka lasted only two innings, giving up seven runs and eight hits. The Red Sox (2-8), who were hoping they were on the upswing after taking two of three from the New York Yankees over the weekend, have received two quality starts in 10 games.
Jon Lester (0-0, 3.65 ERA), Tuesday's probable starter, was responsible for one of them, but didn't receive any run support in a 1-0 loss at Cleveland on Thursday.
The left-hander pitched seven scoreless innings against the Indians, striking out nine while allowing three hits. In his previous start April 1, he gave up five runs and three homers in a 9-5 loss at Texas.
"I was executing pitches and keeping the ball down," Lester said of Thursday's outing. "With the exception of a couple of pitches I feel I threw the ball well on opening day, but I'll keep making adjustments and keep moving on."
Lester hasn't needed much support against Tampa Bay. The left-hander has posted a 0.95 ERA while winning his last three starts against the Rays, improving to 9-3 lifetime against them with a 3.80 ERA.
Rays center fielder B.J. Upton had three hits and scored three times Monday, but is hitting .179 against Lester.
Tampa Bay will counter with David Price (0-2, 4.85), who hasn't had any offensive support in 13 innings pitched this season.
The left-hander gave up three runs and nine hits in six innings of a 5-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.
"I know I've got to go out there and give us a chance to win," Price told the Rays' official website. "Whether that's throwing a shutout or keeping it to two or three runs. That's it. But I don't feel any added pressure right now (with the offense struggling)."
Price, who went 19-6 last season and finished runner-up to Felix Hernandez in AL Cy Young voting - Lester finished fourth - didn't suffer his third loss of 2010 until June 20.
Price went 2-1 with a 2.61 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox last season, including a win at Fenway Park in September.
Red Sox outfielder Carl Crawford, seeking to break out of his April slump, went 2 for 5 in the series opener with a double - his first extra-base hit in a Boston uniform. The former Ray is still batting just .163.
The Associated Press News Service
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