Game over: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
Joel Peralta allowed a two-out single by Aviles (3 for 4), but that was it. It was his fourth save.
The Sox saw their lead in the American League wild card race reduced to three games with 11 games to play. The Sox trail the Yankees by 4.5 games in the division race.
Tim Wakefield will face David Price in the series finale tomorrow. The Sox are 6-11 against the Rays this season and will be glad to be finished with a team that makes them look so bad so often.
The Sox are 4-12 in September and have not won two straight since sweeping a doubleheader from Oakland on Aug 27.
Middle of the 9th: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
Morales left a runner stranded. Last chance for the Sox.
Top of the 9th: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
Moore, who made his major league debut on Wednesday, retired the Red Sox in order. Impressive three innings for him.
Middle of the 8th: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
By Lesterís standards, it was a poor start as he allowed four runs on five hits and four walks over seven innings. Bard took over and retired the side in order.
Top of the 8th: Rays 4, Red Sox 3
The Sox trimmed the lead against Rays rookie Matt Moore, an impressive 22-year-old. Crawford and Aviles singled before Scutaro bunted again. It was too hard and Aviles was thrown out at second.
Crawford scored when Ellsbury grounded to short. Dustin Pedroia then struck out.
Middle of the 7th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Lester has retired seven straight. Can the Sox take advantage?
Top of the 7th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Gonzalez and Ortiz walked with two outs facing rookie Matt Moore. But Reddick grounded into a force at second and Salty popped to second.
Middle of the 6th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
1-2-3 inning for Lester aided by a nice play on Gonzalez on a ball down the line.
Top of the 6th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
More bad baseball by the Sox. With two outs, Ellsbury reached on an error and stole second. Then, with Pedroia up, he tried to steal third and was caught by Niemann, who came off the mound and threw to third.
What advantage is gained by stealing third with two outs? None that outweighs the risk.
Ellsbury is 37 of 51 this season.
Middle of the 5th: Rays 4, Red Sox 2
Lester is letting the Red Sox down again. Guyer, a rookie hitting .207, singled with one out. Upton and Longoria then singled with two outs, driving in a run. Reddick may have had a play at Guyer at the plate but bobbled the ball when he charged it.
Two big starts for Lester against the Rays in the last seven days and he has allowed eight runs in eight innings.
Longoria has seven RBIs in this series.
Top of the 5th: Rays 3, Red Sox 2
Gonzalez walked and went to second when Reddick singled with one out. But Salty struck out and Crawford grounded into a force at second.
Middle of the 4th: Rays 3, Red Sox 2
Lester is struggling with his control. He walked Damon, who was thrown out stealing. He then walked Rodrigue, who grounded into a 3-6-1 double play.
Top of the 4th: Rays 3, Red Sox 2
The Zombie Sox have awoken. Crawford singled and scored from first on a double by Aviles. Crawford scored standing up on a close play at the plate. Scutaro was next and bunted Aviles to third. Seemed like a waste of an out but it got them a run as Ellsbury hit a sac fly to right.
Now Lester needs to have a clean inning and get the offense back at the plate.
Middle of the 3rd: Rays 3, Red Sox 0
Another bad day for the Zombie Red Sox? Jennings doubled with one out, took third on a groundout and scored when Lester threw a wild pitch while walking Longoria. The Sox can't even pitch around somebody.
Top of the 3rd: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Reddick walked with one out before Salty grounded into a double play. It was a 5-6-3 DP. The Rays position themselves so well.
Middle of the 2nd: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Quick, easy inning for Lester. Rodriguez flied to left, Kotchman grounded back to the mound and Guyer struck out.
Sad news to report. Former Providence College coach, Big East founder and Celtics GM Dave Gavitt passed away last night. The basketball Hall of Famer was a huge influence on the college game for decades as a coach and administrator and hundreds of major college coaches counted him as an adviser.
Top of the 2nd: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Easy inning for Niemann. He struck out Ellsbury, got Pedroia on a grounder to third and struck out Gonzalez.
Middle of the 1st: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Another bad start for Jon Lester. He walked Jennings on four pitches and then with two outs allowed a home run to left field by Zobrist. So in his last two starts against the Rays, Lester has allowed six runs in five innings.
Given how Niemann has owned the Sox this season, Lester can't give up too many more and expect to win this game.
strong>Pre-game: Good afternoon from Fenway Park, where it feels like fall. The Red Sox face he Rays with Jon Lester on the mound opposing big Jeff Niemann. It should be an interesting game.
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