Red Sox - 100 100 100 - 3 11 1Lester (7-2-1-5-10, 106) bested Price (7-10-3-0-8, 106) and Victor Martinez hit two solo home runs.
Rays - 000 100 000 - 1 3 0
Lester -- who tied a career-high with the five walks -- worked out of several jams, getting double plays to end the first and third innings. He threw two consecutive wild pitches to put the tying run on third with one out in the fourth, but retired the next two hitters. Lester caught Sean Rodriguez trying to steal third to end the fifth and he got a boost in the sixth, when Darnell McDonell gunned down B.J Upton at the plate.
While Lester had only two 1-2-3 innings, Price had none. Martinez hit taters to left in the first and seventh innings, both times hammering a high fastball that was left right over the plate. In the fourth, David Ortiz doubled and scored on Jed Lowrie's two-out flair into center.
Jonathan Papelbon schooled Evan Longoria to begin the bottom of the ninth. Bot started him off with a slider for a called strike, had him swing over a nasty splitter in the dirt, then fanned him on a high fastball. Papelbon walked Willy Aybar and, after striking out Ben Zobrist, he walked pinch-hitter Dan Johnson. John Jaso, another pinch-hitter, battled a little bit, but finally struck out looking on a 2-2 pitch, ending the game.
The Yankees lost to the White Sox 9-4, so Boston moved to 4.5 GB New York and Tampa Bay in both the East and the WC. The Red Sox have not been this close to first place since July 7.
Jon Lester / David Price
AL East:Scutaro, SS
W L PCT GB RS RA DIFFBoston is 5.5 GB in the Wild Card race. ... By Monday morning, the Red Sox could be as close as 2.5 games behind the Rays -- with 31 games to play -- or as far back as 8.5 GB.
Rays 78 49 .614 --- 637 439 +198
Yankees 78 49 .614 --- 679 515 +164
Red Sox 73 55 .570 5.5 650 584 + 66
Blue Jays 66 61 .520 12.0 592 556 + 36
Orioles 45 83 .352 33.5 473 665 -192
Adrian Beltre: "We're trying to catch these guys but it's tough because they're not budging."
The Red Sox are 4-8 against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay has not lost a series at Tropicana Field in two months (though they did split a four-game set in that streak). The two teams meet at Fenway for three games on September 6-7-8.
Saturday, 7 PM: Clay Buchholz / Matt GarzaThe Yankees are in Chicago, playing the White Sox, who are 9.5 GB in the WC.
Sunday, 8 PM: John Lackey / James Shields
Also: Season-ending surgery remains a possibility for Dustin Pedroia. ... Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Eric Patterson joined Pawtucket yesterday for rehab games. ... Hideki Okajima, who has allowed five runs and six hits in 2.1 innings (three appearances) for the PawSox, will be with the Red Sox in Tampa, but it's unclear when or if he will be activated.
1912 - In response to demands for an alternative way to rate pitchers besides wins and losses, the National League will officially keep ERAs for the first time. The American League will do so the following year.
1951 - Philadelphia catcher and 8th place hitter Del Wilber hits three solo homers as the Phillies beat the Reds 3-0.
1977 - Rangers Bump Wills and Toby Harrah hit back-to-back inside-the-park homers on consecutive pitches from New York's Ken Clay as Texas wins 8-2 at Yankee Stadium.