Rays gain on Red Sox, Brewers move forward
By Sports Network
|Tampa Bay Rays' Evan Longoria and Matt Joyce celebrate their win over the Boston Red Sox. (REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
The red-hot Tampa Bay Rays improved their Major League Baseball playoff hopes by moving to within two games of rival Boston for the American League wild card spot with a 8-5 win over the slumping Red Sox on Sunday.
The Rays (85-67), who trailed Boston (87-65) by nine games as recently as two weeks ago, have won seven of their last 10 to close the gap. Each team has 10 games remaining.
In Toronto, the New York Yankees fell 3-0 to the Blue Jays, missing an opportunity to extend their four-game lead in the AL East and denying Mariano Rivera a shot at setting MLB's career saves record.
In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers inched closer to clinching the Central division by capping a three-game sweep of Cincinnati Reds 8-1.
The Brewers have a seven-game lead over St. Louis with the Cardinals set to play the Philadelphia Phillies later on Sunday.
Tampa Bay's post-season push took another step forward when they took advantage of Boston starter Tim Wakefield who allowed six runs in five innings.
Matt Joyce went 3-for-4 with three RBIs for the Rays, who went ahead 3-0 in the second inning and also tacked on two runs in the fifth and two in the seventh to claim an 8-2 advantage.
Starter David Price left the game with a 4-2 lead after four innings after being hit in the chest by a line drive, though it appeared to be a precaution.
Boston scored a two runs in the fourth and got a three-run home run from Mike Aviles in the bottom of the seventh but it was too little too late as the Red Sox slump continued.
The Red Sox but have lost 13 of 17 games and are now fighting for their playoff lives