Rays Win, Red Sox Lose, AL Wild Card All Tied Up

With only two games remaining in the regular season, the American League Wild-Card is all knotted up between the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays.

Boston found yet another way to lose a ballgame Monday evening, squandering their one-game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays with a 6-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. This marks their 17th failure in 22 games, creating a giant sucking sound out of Beantown.

Josh Beckett started for Boston and ended up surrendering seven runs on six hits over six innings, losing to the Orioles for the second time in less than a week. Ouch. An attempted rally in the eighth was thwarted when the Red Sox loaded the bases with one out, missing the opportunity when Pedro Strop struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia (who was hit in the throat with a foul ball in the bottom half of the inning) and retired Marco Scutaro on a grounder to end the threat.

The Red Sox must win their final two games, and at worst, back into the postseason by winning a one-game playoff against the Rays. That would be the most exciting scenario, of course, but either way they control their own destiny. Former Oriole Erik Bedard will face his old team Tuesday night against rookie left-hander Zach Britton, who has a career 10.80 ERA against the Red Sox over two games this season. Looking good for Boston.

Meanwhile, the Rays held on to beat the division champion New York Yankees 5-2 Monday night, thanks in part to a B.J. Upton two-run double, a Johnny Damon RBI single, a Kelly Shoppach solo shot, and a solid performance from James Shields. The righty gave up just six hits before coming within one out of a 12th career complete game when he walked Eric Chavez. Shields was then pulled for Kyle Farnsworth, who earned his 24th save by getting Jesus Montero to ground out to end the game.

Manager Joe Maddon knows his team's fate is in its own hands:

"We don’t worry about the Red Sox. We don’t worry about anybody. We come out and play our game every night. We’ve got to worry about beating the Yankees... If we take care of our own business, then the seconds, the minutes, the hours and the days take care of themselves."

Rays right-hander Jeremy Hellickson will take on Bartolo Colon Tuesday at Tropicana Field in an attempt to keep their Wild-Card hopes alive.

[USA Today]


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