Rays - 201 010 000 - 4 6 0 Red Sox - 002 000 100 - 3 7 0For the second straight game, Tampa Bay scored three early runs (in the same 201 configuration, actually) and this time, the Red Sox failed to come back. Boston is 3 GA of the Rays for the wild card, with 11 games remaining in the season.
Lester (7-5-4-4-5, 107) allowed a two-run dong to Ben Zobrist in the first, and Desmond Jennings doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the third. The Rays added a run with three singles in the fifth, with Evan Longoria getting the RBI.
Carl Crawford singled to begin the home half of the third and scored on Mike Aviles's double high off the Wall. It was a foolish decision by Tim Bogar to send Crawford with no one out, and Crawford didn't help matters by not sliding. He appeared to be tagged out, but home plate umpire Brian Knight called him safe. However, Knight was out of position and could not see if a tag had been made (so he guessed). Marco Scutaro bunted Aviles to third and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked him in with a fly ball to right.
With two outs in the fifth, Ellsbury reached on an infield hit and stole second. Then he got greedy and tried to steal third, but Neimann (5-4-2-2-6, 89) stepped off the rubber and threw him out at third. Ellsbury drove in the Sox's third run in the seventh with a grounder to short.
In the ninth, Aviles singled with two outs; he finished the day 3-for-4. Joey Gathright pinch-ran and stole second without a throw, but Marco Scutaro grounded to third to end the game.
Daniel Bard pitched the eighth inning and retired Tampa's 2-3-4 hitters in order, on 12 pitches. It looks like he has fixed his problems.
The Yankees beat the Blue Jays 7-6 (Toronto blew a 6-1 lead in the sixth inning), so Boston fell back to 4.5 GB New York in the East.
Jeff Niemann / Jon Lester
Ellsbury, CFChances Of Red Sox Making Playoffs:
teetering on brink of collapse", save that worry for October. It is currently grossly misplaced.
Ye olde game thread. ... But, first, Yankees/Blue Jays at 1 PM.