ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — It was a seemingly routine play for Dustin Pedroia, catching a throw from the center fielder and spinning around to tag the runner. But this time, it left him sprawled on the turf of Tropicana Field on Saturday night.
Pedroia took an inadvertent elbow to the left side of his head in the second inning and was helped off the field with symptoms consistent with a concussion.
Pedroia improved over the course of the game, a 7-0 loss against the Tampa Bay Rays. But he could miss at least a few days. The Sox were planning to have Pedroia examined by a doctor.
“He’s not as dizzy as he was when he first came off. But we’ll take every precaution necessary with Dustin,” manager John Farrell said. “The dizziness was evident on the field. It was clear he was coming out of the game immediately.”
The Red Sox and Rays have a history of hard feelings but Farrell did not think there was any malicious intent on the part of Logan Forsythe, who slid headfirst into second and nailed Pedroia.
“He struck him with his elbow; that was clear. It looked like the momentum took him across the bag,” Farrell said. “He’s reaching out ahead of him to try and brace himself and not slide past the bag. As he’s reaching forward he caught him with a good elbow.”
Said Forsythe: “I’m definitely not that kind of player and the only move I made was to try to swim-move the tag to get out of the way. It was a bang-bang play.”
Xander Bogaerts was the cutoff man and didn’t have a good view of the collision. But he had at least some understanding of how Pedroia was feeling.
Bogaerts was hit in the side of the helmet by a pitch from Seattle’s Felix Hernandez on Aug. 22 and went on the seven-day concussion disabled list. He was activated on Saturday.
“I don’t know how bad it is. Hopefully it’s not anything serious,” Bogaerts said. “[Pedroia] didn’t seem too good. It’s tough. I’ve dealt with that last week. He never wants to come off the field.”
For the third time this season, the Sox were held to one hit. Will Middlebrooks, who replaced Pedroia in the lineup, had a single in the fourth inning. Jake Odorizzi and two relievers shut down the Sox otherwise.
The Sox drew four walks but only one runner advanced beyond second base. It was the 13th time they were shut out and the 11th time they were held to three or fewer hits.
Rookie Allen Webster (3-3) couldn’t get through five innings for the Sox. He allowed six runs on five hits, three walks, and two hit batters.
“I fell behind batters. I couldn’t get ahead and when I had to make pitches they were over the middle of the plate,” Webster said.
Webster retired the Rays in order in the first inning on 11 pitches. Then he lost control of the game in the second.
Webster hit Evan Longoria with a pitch. James Loney then doubled to right and Longoria scored from first.
Brandon Guyer singled and Forsythe walked to load the bases. Ryan Hanigan was next and he sent a fly ball to center field.
All three runners tagged up and when Forsythe slid into second he hit Pedroia.
Webster walked Kevin Kiermaier to load the bases and another run scored when Ben Zobrist grounded into a force at second.
The Rays made it 4-0 in the fourth inning. Forsythe and Hanigan singled before Kiermaier was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Zobrist picked up another RBI when he hit a high chopper off the turf to third base and was thrown out.
Webster walked Matt Joyce to start the fifth inning and was taken out after Longoria singled.
Alex Wilson, who has pitched well in long relief, came on and struck out Loney. Guyer than tapped a ball to the right side of the mound. Catcher David Ross called off Wilson and threw wildly down the right field line. Two runs scored and Guyer went to third.
Forsythe’s sacrifice fly scored Guyer.
Webster has given up 12 earned runs on 13 hits and five walks over 8⅓ innings in his last two starts. The 24-year-old has a 7.58 earned run average in 15 major league appearances, 14 of them starts.
A prospect credited with having some of the best pure stuff in the organization has not been able to translate it into enough outs.
“We’ve been working hard in between each start. Last two games haven’t worked out for me,” Webster said.
As Webster struggled, Odorizzi (10-11) had little trouble with the Red Sox. He went seven innings and allowed one hit with three walks and seven strikeouts.
Odorizzi had retired nine straight when he lost command of his fastball with two outs in the seventh inning and walked Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, and Mookie Betts in succession.
Bogaerts took a strike before popping up to the first baseman. Bogaerts has one hit in his last 29 at-bats and is down to .221 on the season.Peter Abraham can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.