Bad news everywhere.
Boston's ninth inning rally falls short (box) and the Yankees beat the Devil Rays 3-1. Up by 2 with 3 to play.
It initially looked like the Sox would rout Bonser, as he threw 39 pitches in an eight-batter first inning, allowing three hits and two runs. But he recovered and lasted five innings (5-6-3-2-2, 97). Beckett was not sharp at all (6-10-5-0-6, 99), allowing the Twins to put their leadoff man on base in each of the first five innings. He also gave up solo home runs to Cuddyer and Jones.
Boston trailed 5-3 after six innings. Varitek hit a solo shot in the eighth and, with two outs, Hinske and Lugo both singled. Joe Nathan came in from the pen and got Pedroia to pop out to first base. In the ninth, Moss doubled to left and Ortiz walked (Tiz also singled twice, doubled and homered, with 2 RS and 2 RBI). Lowell moved the runners to second and third on a grounder to first, and Nathan walked Drew intentionally to load the bases.
Varitek fell behind 0-2, fouled off a couple of pitches and brought the count back to 2-2 before striking out on a slider down and in. Youkilis pinch-hit for Kielty and fanned on three pitches, the last one a check swing on a high fastball.
Okajima pitched the Twins eighth. He threw 14 pitches. Morneau flew to right on an 0-1 pitch. Cuddyer hit a first-pitch single to center and stole second, but Jeemer whiffed both Jones (bbffs) and Lecroy (bbfcbs).
In Tampa, the Yankees pounced on the Rays pen and broke a 1-1 tie as soon as Kazmir left the game (6-3-1-0-10, 100).
Boof Bonser (5.09, 87 ERA+) / Josh Beckett (3.14, 145 ERA+)
A win tonight, coupled with a Yankee loss in Tampa (Hughes/Kazmir), clinches the East.
Game thread here.