Johnny Damon’s bid for the longest hitting streak in Red Sox history is over, and so is Boston’s stay in first place in the AL East.
The All-Star center fielder will try to lead his team back to the top of the tightly packed division as Boston continues a three-game series with the last-place Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Damon had hit safely in 29 straight games—just five shy of Dom DiMaggio’s team record—but went 0-for-5 on Monday, including the final out of Boston’s 3-1 loss.
The Red Sox, who lost three of four to visiting New York over the weekend, have dropped six of seven overall to slip a half-game behind the Yankees, who have won each of the last seven AL East titles—with Boston finishing second each year.
The Red Sox had been alone in first place since June 24.
“I’m definitely disappointed, but (Tampa Bay starter Scott) Kazmir shut us down,” Damon said regarding the end of his streak, which was the longest in the majors since St. Louis’ Albert Pujols hit in 30 straight in 2003.
“Most importantly, the team’s got to start a winning streak.”
The defeat also dropped Boston into a second-place tie with Baltimore, the team the Red Sox replaced atop the standings last month.
Kazmir pitched six sharp innings, allowing an unearned run, and Joey Gathright singled home two runs for Tampa Bay, which has won three in a row and four of its last five.
The Devil Rays will have two chances to win their first series at Fenway Park since 1999. They are 0-12-3 over their last 15 series in Boston.