Pitcher Andrew Miller(notes) #30 of the Boston Red Sox wipes his brow against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field on July 15, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Florida

It’s not too often that you see a team hit four home runs during a game and lose said game. But that’s exactly what happened last night at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL for the Boston Red Sox against the Tampa Bay Rays in the 9-6 loss.

When the Red Sox signed Andrew Miller, they knew he had some issues with his control. He had appeared to work them out while he was the Pawtucket Red Sox before his callup. He didn’t show too much of it either in his first three starts. But now for the second straight start, the wildness is back.

With his velocity down in the low 90’s, Miller needs to have command of his fastball. He obviously didn’t have that on Friday night as he was leaving balls out over the plate or just missing it all together. He lasted just 2.2 innings, throwing 85 pitches. 35 of those pitches came in a 1st inning that would see the Rays only score one run.

His lack of command would bite him in the you know what though in the 2nd inning.

Kelly Shoppach started it with a single and went to second on an Elliott Johnson walk. Sam Fuld then laid down a bunt that Jarrod Saltalamacchia made a bad decision on by going to second where Johnson would be safe. Miller would get the first out of the inning on a broken bat fielder’s choice by Johnny Damon that got Shoppach at home. Ben Zobrist made him pay for leaving as fastball out over the plate with a grand slam that pushed the lead to 5-1.

Against a starter like David Price, chasing that lead is no easy task.

Darnell McDonald had tied the game at 1 in the top of the 2nd with a solo home run and Jacoby Ellsbury got another run back in the 3rd with a solo home run.

The control issues returned for Miller in the bottom half of 3rd as the Rays would get two more runs that were charged to him. Alfredo Aceves would walk in a run after inheriting the bases loaded.

Dustin Pedroia‘s solo shot leading off the 6th got the Red Sox back to 7-3. The lead would quickly jump to 9-3 when Dan Wheeler served up a two-run homer to Casey Kotchman. Marco Scutaro‘s two-run homer in the 7th got the Rays lead down 9-5 but the Red Sox would only manage one more run on a Kevin Youkilis RBI single in the 8th.

Pedroia remains on fire since the diagnosis on his knee with another three hits which extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Youk added two hits on the night.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, they got some help from the Toronto Blue Jays as they beat the New York Yankees so the lead over the Yanks remains at 1.5 games. The Rays obviously pick up a game and are five back.

I would have to think that the Red Sox give Miller one more chance before making a decision on him. With Kevin Millwood lined up with him down in Triple-A Pawtucket and pitching well, it’s quite possible the Red Sox could make a swap. Given the fact, the Red Sox rotation is in a state of flux right now with all the injuries, they need these replacements to pitch well.

Sure the offense can keep them in games but when you’re facing pitchers like the quality of a Price, a comeback isn’t going to happen all of the time. That makes what guys like Miller, Kyle Weiland and Tim Wakefield do all the more important going forward here.

We’ll be back later with this afternoon’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. But for now, enjoy the overnight links from the media by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

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For openers, it was half bad [Boston Globe]

Crawford aces his first test [Boston Globe]

Ortiz appeals ban; likely to face Orioles [Boston Globe]

Rays Lite up Miller [Boston Herald]

Carl putting past behind [Boston Herald]

Dice-K: Rehab going well [Boston Herald]

Miller walks fine line with Red Sox [Boston Herald]

Beckett cleared to start [Boston Herald]

Miller wild, Rays sting Sox, 9-6 [CSNNE.com]

Beyeler manages diverse group in Pawtucket [CSNNE.com]

Crawford looks good in Pawtucket [CSNNE.com]

Dice-K progressing with rehab [CSNNE.com]

Control still an issue for Miller [CSNNE.com]

Crawford has successful rehab start in Pawtucket [ESPN Boston]

Rapid reaction: Rays 9, Red Sox 6 [ESPN Boston]

A step back for Andrew Miller [Extra Bases]

Carl Crawford gets some work in and gets his legs back under him [Full Count]

Closing Time: Andrew Miller, Red Sox can’t keep good times rolling against Rays [Full Count]

Portland Sea Dogs All-Stars Discuss Joy of Playing in Red Sox Organization, All-Star Honor [NESN.com]

Carl Crawford Happy to Be Back on Field, Looks Forward to Testing Hamstring Again Saturday in Pawtucket [NESN.com]

Andrew Miller’s Rocky Start Wasn’t a Surprise With Recent Lack of Control, Inability to Strike Batters Out [NESN.com]

Is Johnny Damon a Hall of Famer? [NESN.com]

Video: David Ortiz Appeals Suspension, But Should Be Able to Keep Rhythm Despite Missing Some Time [NESN.com]

Video: Red Sox All-Stars Join Procession to Chase Field for Major League Baseball All-Star Game [NESN.com]

Video: David Ortiz, Other American League All-Stars Discuss Derek Jeter’s 3,000th Career Hit [NESN.com]

Tampa Bay stops Boston’s winning streak at six [Providence Journal]

Young pitchers find a mentor in Varitek [Providence Journal]

Red Sox Journal: Ortiz to appeal four-game suspension [Providence Journal]

Andrew Miller, Darnell McDonald add even more questions to trade deadline drama [Rob Bradford – WEEI.com]

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSNNEESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, RedSox.com and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over the to St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune websites.