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Red Sox fall, Rays climb to within a half-game

Sep 25, 2011, 5:12 PM EDT

A.J. Burnett Getty Images

The Red Sox dropped yet another game in the first of two against the Yankees on Sunday, falling 6-2 despite a pair of homers from Jacoby Ellsbury.  Meanwhile, the Rays beat the Blue Jays 5-2 and are now just a half-game out in the wild card chase.

If the Red Sox falter again tonight, they’ll enter the final three games of the series tied with Tampa Bay.

The Red Sox fell behind early yet again, as their opponents scored first for the ninth time in 10 games.  The Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the first after both Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter dropped down bunt singles to start a rally.  The Bombers added a two-run homer from Jorge Posada in the third, and in spite of Ellsbury’s best efforts, the Red Sox never threatened from there, as A.J. Burnett pitched into the eighth inning for the first time since July 29 and won for just the third time in the second half.

The Rays’ game played out similarly, as Tampa Bay scored two in the first and two in the third to take an early 4-1 lead.  Wade Davis allowed just three hits over eight innings for his victory.  B.J. Upton, Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria and Kelly Shoppach all homered for the Rays.  Zobrist’s was an inside-the-park homer on which Jose Bautista was injured crashing into the wall in right field.

Tampa Bay will finish off the regular season with a three-game series at home against the Yankees.  The Red Sox will play Baltimore three times after finishing the series in New York tonight.

  1. proudlycanadian - Sep 25, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Why am I not surprised? Next week, it will be Baltimore’s time to play spoiler.

    • natstowngreg - Sep 25, 2011 at 7:56 PM

      The surprise was losing to A.J. Burnett.

  2. dondada10 - Sep 25, 2011 at 5:30 PM

    If Tampa does get in, they’ll be the last team anybody wants to face.

    • nixonotis - Sep 25, 2011 at 5:41 PM

      Why? They’ll be making the playoffs due to a Red Sox collapse more so than their own play, and their offense is absolutely terrible. I, for one, would much rather face the Rays than the Rangers, Tigers, Red Sox, or Yankees.

    • bigharold - Sep 25, 2011 at 6:23 PM

      Not the Yankees. They beat them three straight to clinch the AL East.

      Tampa not only has done well this year they’ve done better than expected while the RS have under performed by playing pretty well from May to August but stinking the rest of the time.

      If the Yankee had a choice between playing the Rays or RS they’d likely not really care. One could argue that the Rays have better pitching but that Yankees handled that pretty well last week, when it mattered. The RS seem to clearly be in disarray and fading and the Yankees have already won this weekend’s series when the RS needed it more but the RS do ramp it up a notch when they play the Yankees.

      The Rays, right now, seem potentially more dangerous ONLY because of their pitching. While the RS are fading, trends go out the window pretty quickly when the RS and Yankees are squaring off. Regardless I like the Yankees chance against ANY team in the playoffs, AL or NL.

  3. cackalackyank - Sep 25, 2011 at 8:29 PM

    I am thinking that Joe’s foot may slip off the gas pedal tomorrow if the Yankees win game 2 tonight. Yankee fans would be only too happy to cement the biggest collapse in Red Sox history…maybe even bigger than the one that earned Bucky Dent that extra middle name. If Baltimore plays the Sox in Baltimore anything like they played them in Fenway, the “nation” may be looking forward to next year instead of the playoffs.

  4. urteamsux52 - Sep 25, 2011 at 11:20 PM

    redsox suck baltimore will compete rays will make playoffd or i got free het offs to mu clients

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