ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Red Sox decided last week that they needed to cut down on how often they were using righthanded relievers Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara.
Tazawa pitched an inning Monday after getting four days in a row off. Uehara warmed up twice but did not come into the game because the Sox never took the lead against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Manager John Farrell said his intention is to use Uehara only in save situations now that the team is out of contention.
It may be time for a similar plan for Burke Badenhop, who took the loss Monday and said afterward that he, too, was getting worn down.
The Rays beat the Sox, 4-3, on a walkoff single by Matt Joyce in the 10th inning.
Badenhop, who had warmed up earlier in the game, came in to get the final two outs of the ninth inning. He threw only six pitches but thought that was enough.
“It doesn’t matter how many pitches you throw,” he said. “For me it’s the ups and downs. I was pretty tired for the second inning. I lost a little focus.”
Ryan Hanigan started the inning with a double to left field. Badenhop got ahead in the count then missed high twice before Hanigan lined a sinker down the line.
“I knew I wasn’t sharp today, but instead of grinding through it regardless, let it get to too much [of the plate],” Badenhop said.
A strong throw from Yoenis Cespedes was on the bag and the Red Sox challenged the safe call on Hanigan. But after a lengthy video review, the ruling stood.
With Sean Rodriguez pinch running, the Sox intentionally walked Kevin Kiermaier. Ben Zobrist sacrificed the runners into scoring position.
The Red Sox intentionally walked Wil Myers to load the bases. The first pitch to Joyce was a changeup Badenhop wanted lower. Joyce sent a fly ball to left field. Cespedes turned, saw it was too deep to make a play, and started jogging in.
Badenhop leads the team with 63 relief innings and has been used in multiple innings 21 times, five more times than all of last season when he was with Milwaukee.
“It’s September and just where I’m at right now,” Badenhop said. “Throwing multiple innings is not always the easiest thing. Still, I’ve got to get my job done. Especially that first guy.”
Joyce was 1 for 14 in the series before the winning hit.
“I was surprised they walked [Kiermaier] and I was still surprised that they walked Wil,” said Joyce. “But obviously I was excited about the opportunity.”
The Sox split the four-game series against the Rays and are 4-3 on a road trip that continues Tuesday against the Yankees.
Red Sox starter Rubby De La Rosa went 5⅓ innings, allowing three runs on six hits. He struck out four without a walk.
The Rays scored all three of their runs against De La Rosa in the third inning. Hanigan led off with a single. Zobrist also singled before Myers doubled to right field to drive in one run.
De La Rosa struck out Joyce for the second out. But he left a fastball up on the outside corner that Evan Longoria grounded into center field to drive in two runs.
Rays starter Drew Smyly was 3-1 with a 1.50 earned run average since he came over from the Detroit Tigers as part of the David Price trade.
Smyly has outpitched Price since the trade and he pitched well again against the Red Sox, giving up two runs on three hits over 5⅔ innings.
Smyly retired the first eight batters he faced before rookie catcher Christian Vazquez drew a walk. Mookie Betts, batting leadoff for the first time in the majors, then lined a double to left-center and Vazquez hustled his way around the bases.
Mike Napoli’s home run to left-center, his 17th of the season, in the fourth got the Sox within a run at 3-2. Napoli is 15 of his last 99 (.151) with 36 strikeouts in his last 29 games but has 15 RBIs in that span.
Betts singled with one out in the eighth inning against Jeff Beliveau. With two outs and Betts on second, the Rays went to righthander Steve Geltz, who was called up from Triple A Durham earlier in the day.
Cespedes grounded a high slider into left field to drive in Betts.
It was the 23d RBI in 28 games for Cespedes since he was acquired from the Oakland Athletics. He has five hits that have either tied the game or given the Red Sox the lead after the seventh inning. That is tied for the team lead with David Ortiz.Peter Abraham can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @PeteAbe.