The Morning After: Red Sox are AL’s Second-Worst, but Still Plenty Alive

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Beaten on a Nick Swisher homer in extra innings, the Sox lost a second straight to the Indians, and fell 5.5 games back of the second wild-card spot — but if there’s a silver lining it’s found in the scoring differentials of the eight teams between Boston and a prospective playoff berth. Among them, only the Mariners, at plus-28, have scored more runs than they’ve surrendered this season. In fact, the Sox’ minus-17 is third best of those eight.

Alas, the Sox still have the second-lowest winning percentage in the American League (.449), ahead of only the Rays (.386). Here’s a look at how things went on Sunday for the litany of teams they’re chasing.



Blue Jays 5, Orioles 2: The division leaders managed to split a four-game series at Camden Yards, leaving their advantage at 4.5 games. J.A. Happ yielded only a run over seven innings for his sixth victory, and though the Jays went 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position they totaled six doubles to outscore an Oriole attack that included three hits and a major-league leading 56th RBI from Nelson Cruz. The O’s go to Tampa Bay on Monday, while the Jays start a series at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.
Toronto is 9 games up on Boston; Baltimore, 4.5 games.

Rays 4, Astros 3: Acquired by the Red Sox as part of the epic 2012 deal with the Dodgers, then shipped to Pittsburgh four months later as part of the Joel Hanrahan Brock Holt trade, Jerry Sands played hero for Tampa Bay on Sunday, when he delivered a broken-bat, pinch-hit single to left that untied the game in the bottom of the eighth inning. That proved enough to give David Price (10 Ks) his first win since May 13, and the club its first series victory since May 23-35 (in Boston).
Tampa Bay is 4.5 games back of Boston; Houston is even.
Athletics 10, Yankees 5: Ex-Red Sox Coco Crisp had a big day, going 2-for-4 with a homer, a walk, three runs scored, and three runs driven in as the A’s had a double-digit lead by the end of the fourth inning and took the rubber game of a weekend set. Yankee starter Vidal Nuno was charged with eight runs over three innings of work, elevating his ERA to 5.90 for the season — though with a lack of viable alternatives, the 26-year-old lefty is likely to take his next turn.
New York is 4.5 games up on Boston; Oakland, 11 up.
Tigers 4, Twins 3: Right fielder Oswaldo Arcia dropped Victor Martinez‘s flyball on the warning track with one out in the ninth, allowing Torii Hunter to get to third in a tie game, and J.D. Martinez delivered the winner with a walk-off sacrifice fly. Joe Mauer had two hits for the Twins, who put RBI leader Trevor Plouffe on the disabled list as come to Fenway Park for a three-game series starting Monday.
Detroit is 6 games up on Boston; Minnesota, 1 up.
Royals 6, White Sox 3: Make it seven in a row for the Royals, who scored six times over the first three innings, and who saw James Shields navigate his way through 11 baserunners to yield only three runs over six innings of work. The big blow came courtesy of catcher Salvador Perez, who launched a three-run homer in the third. Greg Holland became the first AL reliever to 20 saves, too, as KC stayed within 1.5 games of the Tigers atop the Central.
Kansas City is 4.5 games up on Boston; Chicago, 0.5 up.
Mariners 5, Rangers 1: Hisashi Iwakuma‘s eight strong innings combined with 13 hits to help Seattle snap a five-game losing streak. Kyle Seager had four of those safeties for the M’s, while an 0-for-4 dropped Texas’ Adrian Beltre to 1-for-12 since the end of a stretch of five straight two-hit games.
Seattle is 4 games up on Boston; Texas, 3 up.
Braves 7, Angels 3: Homers from Mike Trout and Erick Aybar gave the Halos a 3-0 lead they’d take into the sixth — when the Braves rallied for four, then tacked on insurance later. Each team had a dozen hits, the winning set led by rookie Tommy La Stella, whose 3-for-3 performance lifted his average to .411 since making his major-league debut at Fenway late last month.
Los Angeles is 6.5 games up on Boston.
Making his fourth start of the season for the Mets, Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched just one inning before leaving with an upset stomach, but New York pieced together the next eight and emerged with a 3-1 win over the Padres … With 23, the Marlins have as many home wins as any team in the majors following a 3-2, 10-inning triumph over Pittsburgh … Former Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo slugged his 14th homer in the Cubs’ 3-0 win over the Phillies … Ryan Braun went 0-for-5 in the Brewers’ 13-4 loss to the Reds, leaving him 5-for-40 in his last nine games, and dropping his average to .281 … The Nationals lost their fourth straight (5-2 to the Cardinals), allowing the Braves to retake an outright lead in the NL East (The Marlins are also a game back.) … The Rockies swept the West-leading Giants, capped by an 8-7 win … Former Sox righty Bronson Arroyo left a 7-4 win after five innings because of elbow pain, which he’s experienced since a 110-pitch complete game on May 13. Josh Beckett went seven innings in defeat for the Dodgers, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits, and striking out six.
Curt Schilling was knocked around by the Rockies, allowing seven runs over six innings, and creating a hole too big for the Sox to dig out of despite a couple of late rallies. Kevin Youkilis, Trot Nixon, and Jason Varitek all homered for Boston, though pinch-hitter Dave McCarty left Pokey Reese at second as the tying run in the ninth, and the Sox lost their second straight to slide to 5.5 games behind the Yankees in the division.

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