Rays - 000 000 000 - 0 7 0The Red Sox are only 0.5 GB the Rays in the East -- with 19 games to go in the regular season.
Red Sox - 300 000 00x - 3 9 0
Boston scored three quick runs off Jackson in the first and Lester (7.2-6-0-3-9) and Jonathan Papelbon (1.1-1-0-0-3, 18) made it stand up.
Mark Kotsay walked on five pitches. Dustin Pedroia lined out to second, as Akinori Iwamura dove to his right and snared the ball. David Ortiz doubled off the Wall in left-center, scoring Kotsay. Kevin Youkilis lined a single to center, as Jackson had to duck to avoid being hit, scoring Flo, but was caught in a run down trying to get to second base. Jason Bay followed with a solo home run off the light tower in left-center.
Lester allowed only one Tampa Bay runner to reach second base through the first five innings. After seven innings, he had thrown 105 pitches and seemed done for the night, but he was back out on the hill for the eighth. Lester got the first two outs before allowing a single to Ben Zobrist and a ground-rule double to Carlos Pena. With the tying run at the plate -- Rocco Baldelli -- Terry Francona called on Papelbon.
Bot struck out Baldelli to end the threat. It was also the Tampa Clipper's fourth whiff of the night, earning him the Golden Shower. In the ninth, Papelbon allowed a two-out single to pinch-hitter Eric Hinske, but struck out Gabe Gross to preserve the shutout.
It was the first time Tampa Bay was shutout in consecutive games since April 28-29, 2004 -- and those whitewashes were also at Fenway Park.
Coco Crisp went 3-for-3 with a stolen base and Kotsay added two singles to his first-inning walk.
In other games, the Angels routed the Yankees 12-1. The Central-leading White Sox and Blue Jays were rained out in Chicago.
Edwin Jackson (4.07, 106 ERA+) / Jon Lester (3.37, 134 ERA+)
The last game the Rays played at Fenway Park ...
There has been eight years of bad blood between these two rivals.
Jackson lasted a season-low 3.1 innings against the Yankees in his last start, allowing 10 hits and six runs. In each of his four starts before that outing, he pitched at least six innings and allowed two or fewer runs. ... Lester has allowed a total of two runs in his last two starts (11.2 innings).
Tampa Bay activated third baseman Evan Longoria on Saturday. Longoria, who fractured his right wrist on August 8, says the pain is "very minimal" and the wrist is "almost 100 percent". ... J.D. Drew may return to the Red Sox lineup tonight.
All 12 meetings between the Red Sox and Rays so far this season have been won by the home team. There is a huge amount of pressure for the Rays this week. They were swept on the road by the Blue Jays -- the last two losses being a 13-inning heartbreaker and a 1-0 shutout. Now their lead is as low as it's been since July 28 -- and they are coming into Fenway, where the Red Sox are playing .716 ball (48-19, a 116-win pace).
We have definitely got to get one win there for sure and hopefully win the series. ... You have just got to treat it as any other kind of game if you can. It's not, but you have to just treat it like it's any other game.Marc Lancaster, Tampa Tribune:
The AL East upstarts continue to insist there is no need to panic and the next three games won't make or break their season, but they're more vulnerable now than at any time since the All-Star break and running out of margin for error.Marc Topkin, St. Petersburg Times:
"We know what we've got to do and they know what they've got to do," Rays starter Matt Garza said of the Red Sox. "Right now, we're up top. They're chasing us. We keep playing our ball and this thing will turn around. Right now we're in a little bit of a rut - what is that, five out of the last six? That's nothing bad." ...
The first challenge for the Rays the next three evenings will be keeping the games close. In going 0-6 at Fenway this season, the nearest the Rays have come to the Red Sox is three runs, in a 7-4 loss June 3. ... The Red Sox have averaged more than seven runs per game while hosting the Rays, outscoring Tampa Bay 45-16 in six meetings.
Tonight's starter, Edwin Jackson, has been among the primary culprits. In two losses at Fenway in May and June, Jackson allowed a combined 15 hits and 10 runs in nine innings.
The Rays insist they aren't doing anything differently, the pennant race isn't affecting them and, despite being swept by the Blue Jays and losing five of their past six, they aren't feeling any extra pressure going into tonight's opener of the showdown series in Boston.Joe Maddon:
At least, that's what they're saying.
The evidence, compounded by a 1-0 loss Sunday, says otherwise. They're not getting the big hits when they need them, they're making more mistakes and, most significantly, they're not winning like they did most of the past five months. ...
As much as they talk about how, with three weeks left, there is no reason to panic — manager Joe Maddon, perhaps symbolically, had a schedule in his hands during his postgame media session — they have reason to be wary of what lies ahead.
The Sox, with their top three pitchers lined up and their lineup fortified, have a chance to take over first place with a sweep, and Fenway Park — where the Rays haven't won since last September and will be playing for the first time since the June 5 brawl — will be ferocious the next three nights.
We really do need to win a game or two in Boston. I've said that from the very beginning. It would be nice to get a win up there, possibly two, whatever ...Extra Bases has a few more links to Tampa media.
Tonight will be the 456th consecutive sellout crowd at Fenway Park, which will break Cleveland's major league record of 455 set from June 12, 1995 to April 2, 2001. The Red Sox's streak began on May 15, 2003.
On Thursday morning, I want the AL East standings to look like this:
Of lesser importance:
Blue Jays/White Sox at 8
Yankees/Angels at 10East
Rays 85 56 --- Magic #
Red Sox 84 58 1.5 20
Blue Jays 76 66 9.5 12
Yankees 76 67 10.0 11
Orioles 63 78 22.0 E
Red Sox 84 58 --- Magic #
Twins 78 65 6.5 14
Blue Jays 76 66 8.0 13
Yankees 76 67 8.5 12