It was the ninth inning Monday afternoon and James Shields was still on the mound. A good sign. And the Rays held the lead. An even better sign for a team that was battered during the weekend by Red Sox hitters.

Shields was everything Tampa Bay's starting pitchers weren't during the first three games of this series, which is to say aggressive, efficient and, well, good.

"It was my job to stop the bleeding," Shields said. "We had a rough three games. They were hot. They were swinging the bats pretty well. It was my job to go out there and get it done."

The result was a 1-0 victory that snapped a four-game losing streak and restored order in the Rays world, which runs on pitching, defense and just enough offense.