Quantcast 2008 Tampa Bay Rays: Rays Sweep Red Sox
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Rays Sweep Sox, go up by 3.5 in AL East

The Rays completed the sweep of the Red Sox and saw their lead in the AL East go from a half game to three and a half games. The Rays did it in every way possible too: great defense, amazing pitching, and timely hitting. These Rays are for real and I think they have the attention of the entire league now. The only question is can they hold on when the season is on the line in August and September and we will find that out soon. It’s a great story for baseball. Here is how the sweep went down for the Rays at the Trop.

Tampa Bay Rays merchandise The Rays (50-32) snapped a six-game losing streak at the hands of the Red Sox (50-35) Monday night. The Rays and the Red Sox stuck to playing baseball instead of brawling and it was a great game. James Shields (6-5) gave up two earned runs and struck out five through five and a third innings pitched. B.J. Upton helped him out with a leadoff homer off of Justin Masterson (4-2) then in the fourth Gabe Gross connected to give Tampa Bay a 3-1 lead. Tampa Bay held off a late inning rally from the Red Sox including a catwalk shot. The Sox had two runners on with one out in the inning when Brandon Moss hit a high fly ball that went into the catwalk and dropped on to the field because Gabe Gross could not find it. It dropped in, Youkilis scored, Lowell went to third, and Moss stood on a second with a double to cut the lead to two. Varitek hit a sac fly to cut the deficit to one, then Joe Maddon pulled Troy Percival, much to his displeasure and put in J.P. Howell who closed the game out by getting former Ray Julio Lugo to ground out to end the game with the tying run on third.

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I believe I said that amazing pitching would carry the Rays (51-32) and on Tuesday Matt Garza (7-4) did not disappoint in beating the Red Sox 3-1. After throwing a complete game against the Marlins last week, he followed it up with a gem of a game throwing seven innings and only allowing one unearned run while striking out three in picking up his seventh win of the season. Dioner Navarro had two run scoring singles for the Rays to lead them to the win. Tim Wakefield (5-6) pitched well for the Sox (50-36), he just could not dominate the Rays like he normally does. Two wild pitches did not help his case either as he gave up one earned through seven innings. Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 35th base of the year for the Sox and J.D. Drew drove in the only run for them. Troy Percival was placed back on the DL after leaving the game last night.



The Rays (52-32) completed the sweep of the Rays with a six run seventh inning comeback to win 7-6. Boston (50-37) got it going early with Dustin Pedroia hitting a solo shot in the first off of Scott Kazmir to give them the lead, J.D. Drew hit a run scoring triple in the fifth, then scored on a wild pitch to give Boston a 4-1 lead. But then the seventh inning came and the Red Sox fell apart. Jason Bartlett led off with a double off of Manny Delcarmen, Akinori Iwamura then followed with a single to score Bartlett. Crawford singled, advancing Iwamura to third and taking Delcarmen out of the game. Craig Hansen then entered for the Sox to face B.J. Upton and he walked him to load the bases. He then walked Carlos Pena to score Iwamura and cut the lead to 4-3. AL player of the week Evan Longoria then came to the plate and stroked a double to drive in two and give the Rays the lead 5-4 which chased Hansen out of the game. After another walk and a strike out, the man who led off the inning, Jason Bartlett came back to the plate and drove a single up the middle for two more runs which gave the Rays a 7-4 lead after being down 4-1. However, the game was not over yet. Dustin Pedroia continued his amazing day by driving a double to cut the lead to two in the eighth inning. He went 4-5 with a home run and two runs driven in. Jason Varitek hit a sac fly to cut the lead to one, but that’s all the Red Sox would get as the Rays complete the sweep and Boston leaves to face the Yankees in a four game set now 3 and a half games back.

Next up the Rays welcome the Royals (38-47) to Tropicana Field for a three game set after an off day Thursday. The Rays are riding a four game win streak and a sweep of the defending champs while the Royals come in after losing the series in Baltimore. Good news for Kansas City is that David DeJesus is back in the lineup and the Royals are starting to hit the ball well. The pitching probables are as follows:

  • B. Bannister (7-7) vs. E. Jackson (4-6)
  • Z. Greinke (7-4) vs. A. Sonnanstine (9-3)
  • L. Hochevar (5-6) vs. J. Shields (6-5)

 

By Andrew Nuscis
Philadelphia Phillies & Tampa Bay Rays Correspondent


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