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Shields hurls a five-hit shutout against Boston

Rain helped the Rays come up with a rarity on Sunday: combined with Monday's scheduled off-day, they have two straight days without a game. Not bad for August's dog days, and particularly good timing considering how strenuous Tuesday, Tampa's first day back in game action, might be.

The Rays and Red Sox are set for a doubleheader Tuesday, with games at 1:05 and 7:05 p.m. ET at Fenway Park. The earlier contest is a makeup of an April 13 rainout.

The Rays decided to change their rotation some with the time off. James Shields, who was to pitch on Sunday, is still next in line and is slated to pitch the first game Tuesday. Wade Davis, who was initially scheduled to pitch that early game, is bumped back three days, while Jeff Niemann remains as the nightcap's starter Tuesday.

"[The rainout is] a little disappointing. I was ready to go," said Shields, who also had a start rained out in Boston this year. "I feel really good right now, and I wanted to face [the Yankees]. I've pitched pretty well against them the last couple of starts. I wanted to do it again. Obviously, it was for the series win, but these things happen."

With regard to the bullpen, Rays manager Joe Maddon won't hold anything back in the first game of the doubleheader out of concern for the second game.

"You win the first game," Maddon said. "You have no idea what is going to happen in the second game. You could win 15-1 or lose 15-1. You have no idea how that is going to shake out to be."

The Rays have another day off Thursday before opening a three-game set against Seattle at home on Friday -- that's when Davis, on eight days' rest, gets the nod. Jeremy Hellickson follows him.

Shields, who will be on six days' rest, is coming off a shutout of the Royals on Tuesday, and has done decently against the Red Sox this season. Boston has scored six runs off him in 15 innings and two starts (a 3.60 ERA), while hitting just .208.

For the Red Sox, Jon Lester starts the first game Tuesday in the midst of a less-than-stellar month. He has a 4.81 ERA in his two August starts, and allowed four runs and eight hits in 7 1/3 innings of a 5-2 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday. He walked five batters in that start, equaling a season high.

"There were times I didn't know where it was going," Lester said. "But it was one of those grinders tonight, and we came out on the other end. I felt like I had pretty good stuff -- I just wasn't able to locate. I gave them too many opportunities, and when you do that, that's what happens."

Lester faced the Rays on the road earlier this year, allowing three runs in seven innings in his first loss of the season.

In the nightcap, Erik Bedard looks for his first win since joining the Red Sox, in his third Boston start and fourth overall since returning from the disabled list.

Bedard, who came over from the Mariners in a Trade Deadline move, rebounded from a tumultuous, 37-pitch first inning to give up just two runs in five innings last Tuesday at Minnesota. He'll look for his first win in a Boston uniform against the Rays.

"I just kept battling," Bedard said after his last start. "Throwing strikes, keeping the ball down, keeping them off-balance."

Rays: Train styling
The Rays took the train from New York's Penn Station to Boston's South Street station on Sunday, and were able to leave earlier because of the rainout -- after getting in a workout. The team wore 1950s-style hats as its latest get-themed travel attire.

• Catcher Kelly Shoppach has thrown out 14 of 32 attempted basestealers for a Major League-best rate of 43.7 percent. The league average this season is 23.2 percent. The existing club record is held by Toby Hall, who threw out 41.3 percent (31 of 75) in 2003.

• Closer Kyle Farnsworth is the only pitcher in the American League with 20-plus saves (21) and an ERA under 2.00 (1.96). Only two others in the Majors can make that claim: Pittsburgh's Joel Hanrahan and Atlanta's Craig Kimbrel.

Red Sox: Hot Papi
Designated hitter David Ortiz on Sunday extended his hitting streak to seven games. During the streak he is batting .500 (13-for-26) with five runs, two doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs.

• First baseman Adrian Gonzalez has recorded an extra-base hit in five of his last six games and leads the Major Leagues with 54 multi-hit games this season.

• With the Sunday loss to Seattle, the Red Sox dropped a series for the first time since losing two of three to the Phillies from June 28-30.

Worth noting
• Rays first baseman Casey Kotchman, who began the season at Triple-A Durham, is batting .335. He has improved his avg. by 118 points from last season (.217 with Seattle). Among AL hitters with 300 plate appearances in two consecutive years, only one AL player in history has finished with a larger improvement from one year to the next: George Burns (+.126) in 1917-18.

• Red Sox tickets marked April 13, game No. 6, are valid for admission to the makeup game on Tuesday, which is the earlier of the two contests, at 1:05 p.m. ET. No refunds or exchanges will be issued. Comments