The Tampa Bay Rays finished off an impressive weekend series at Fenway Park yesterday, claiming their 3rd victory in 4 days against the Boston Red Sox. The 8-5 win cut the Red Sox American League Wild Card lead to only 2 games.
Tampa Bay once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs off of Red Sox starter Tim Wakefield in the top of the 2nd. Johnny Damon sent a double deep to right center to get the Rays on the board. Damon was followed by Matt Joyce and Desmond Jennings who contributed a pair of RBI singles.
Sean Rodriguez tacked on another run in the 4th with a sac fly, but the Red Sox cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom of the frame. Darnell McDonald doubled in Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to reduce Boston’s deficit to 2.
It was as close as the Red Sox would get.
Tampa Bay put up another pair of runs during a sloppy 5th inning. Runners scored on a passed ball and throwing error. The ugly inning ended Wakefield’s day; the knuckleballer surrendering 6 runs (only 2 earned) over his 5 innings of work.
The Rays extended their lead to 8-2 in the 7th as Matt Joyce brought his RBI total to 3 with a 2 run single.
Mike Aviles made things a little more interesting in the bottom of the frame with his 3 run home run, but the Rays pen held on. Standing in for the injured Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta recorded the game’s final 4 outs to pick up his 5th save of the season.
The win gives the Rays 8 victories in their last 9 games played against the Red Sox. More importantly, it brings Tampa to within 2 games of the Sox in the AL Wild Card race.
Tampa Bay recorded the victory, but wasn’t able to do so before receiving a scare of their own. In the 3rd inning, Aviles sent a line drive into the chest of Rays ace David Price. Price recovered to make the out, but was removed after completing only 4 innings. Price was taken to a nearby hospital but all reports have been positive with the left-hander saying he’s feeling just fine.
While the worry level in Beantown is certain to be heightened after the Red Sox miserable showing this weekend, the Rays still face an uphill battle as they look to continue their march to the postseason.
7 of the Red Sox final 10 games of the season come against the lowly Baltimore Orioles. Meanwhile, the Rays have 7 games remaining against the AL East leading New York Yankees.
Topics: AL East, AL East, AL Wild Card, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, David Price, Desmond Jennings, Dustin Pedroia, Joel Peralta, Johnny Damon, Kyle Farnsworth, Matt Joyce, Mike Aviles, MLB, New York Yankees, Sean Rodriguez, Tampa Bay Rays, Tim Wakefield