BOSTON (AP) _ David Price struck out a season-high 13 and Jeff
Keppinger hit a three-run homer as Tampa Bay beat the Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Tuesday night, extending the Rays' winning streak to six and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Tampa Bay entered the day three games behind Oakland for the
AL's second wild-card spot and has only eight games remaining,
making a loss to the struggling Red Sox in the two-game series
The Rays got to Boston starter Clay Buchholz (11-7) quickly on
Keppinger's three-run homer in the second and Price (19-5) was able
to preserve the lead despite balking with a runner on third to pull
Boston within 3-2.
Price pitched his second complete game of the season, scattering
seven hits and walking none. He tied his career high with his 19th
win and is scheduled for one more chance to reach 20 for the first
time in his career.
Boston has lost five of six and 19 of 26.
Tampa Bay pulled away with two runs in the sixth when Jose
Molina hit a line drive to left-center that wound up only being a
single because he pulled up limping at first base with a strained
Keppinger scored easily from third on the hit and Carlos Pena,
who avoided a double play when Buchholz was pulled off the bag on
shortstop Jose Iglesias' throw from second on a fielder's choice,
came all the way around from first. Daniel Nava misplayed the
bounce off the wall in left and was charged with an error for
allowing Pena to score and put the Rays up 5-2.
Buchholz got himself in trouble in the second when he walked
Evan Longoria and Luke Scott to start the inning. Keppinger was up
next and jumped on the first pitch he saw from Buchholz, a fastball
redirected for a shot over the Green Monster.
Buchholz lasted six innings, allowing eight hits and five runs,
four earned. He struck out five and walked two.
Cody Ross led off the second for Boston with a single and scored
on Danny Valencia's single to cut the lead to 3-1.
Price allowed a run when he balked with Nava on third and Dustin
Pedroia on second after a two-out double in the third. Home plate
umpire Mike Everitt halted play and signaled Nava to come home as
the PA system played "Free Ride" by the Edgar Winter Group. Price
needed just one more pitch to strike out Ross and end the inning.
Boston's Pedro Ciriaco led off the third with a single and went
to second on Nava's single, but was thrown out trying to steal
Notes: Boston plays its home finale Wednesday when LHP Jon
Lester (9-13) is scheduled to face Tampa Bay RHP Alex Cobb (9-9).
... Manager Joe Maddon said the Rays are shuffling their rotation,
moving up RHP Jeremy Hellickson's start to Friday and pushing back
LHP Matt Moore to Saturday at Chicago. Maddon said the move was
about setting up the Rays should they remain in contention for the
playoffs. "I don't even care if he tells them in advance what he's
throwing. He could actually stand on the mound and say here comes
my fastball and I still think he can be successful," Maddon said.
... Boston manager Bobby Valentine said injured CF Jacoby Ellsbury,
who missed his fifth straight game, could return Wednesday. ... The
Red Sox paid tribute to the 2004 World Series championship club
with a pregame celebration with former players including Kevin
Millar, Pedro Martinez and Jason Varitek riding around the field in
a mini parade of duck boats. Former manager Terry Franconia was on
the first boat and received the loudest cheer when he was
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)