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Tampa Bay at Boston

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Tampa Bay (83-66) «004002300990
Boston (86-63)001000001261

Rays beat BoSox on broken-bat hit, cut wild card lead

CBSSports.com wire reports
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BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Joe Maddon spends most of his time giving signs.

On Thursday night, he went searching for one.

"You're always looking for signs, man. You're looking for signs from the baseball heaven and the baseball gods," he said after the Rays followed a fluke play with a three-run homer and beat the Boston Red Sox 9-2 to cut their deficit in the AL wild-card race to three games. "They've got to throw you signs once in a while. They've got to give you something to further the belief."

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Evan Longoria hit a three-run homer, and B.J. Upton and Casey Kotchman each hit two-run shots for Tampa Bay, which had trailed the Red Sox by nine games in the wild-card race on Sept. 3. But it was Upton's broken-bat RBI single that broke a scoreless tie and convinced the Rays that luck could be on their side.

With two on and two out in the third, Upton hit what would ordinarily be an inning-ending grounder toward shortstop Marco Scutaro. But the barrel of his bat arrived at the same time as the ball, and when Scutaro jumped to avoid the pointy shard he allowed the ball to go through his legs.

"Believe me, when I saw that I thought, 'Hey, let's see what's going to happen for the rest of the game,' " Maddon said. "And then the home run followed it right up."

The Red Sox dropped to 3-11 in September to fall from first place in the division to 4½ games behind the New York Yankees and into a race with the once-dismissed Rays for the wild card. Boston and Tampa Bay will play three more times at Fenway Park this weekend.

"I think enough things haven't gone our way, so I'll take it," Upton said. "We got one, and then Longo came behind me and we got a couple more."

Jeremy Hellickson (13-10) allowed one run on three hits and four walks, striking out four in 5 2/3 innings. Kyle Weiland (0-2) pitched three-plus innings, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks.

Weiland retired the first seven batters he faced before John Jaso doubled and, one out later, Desmond Jennings walked. Weiland could have been out of the inning if Upton's bat hadn't splintered.

"I kind of knew he broke his bat. But on the other hand I was just watching the ball and I figured probably the bat's going to stop somewhere in front of me," Scutaro said. "The bat just keep following the ball. At the last moment I just jumped. Nothing I can do."

Longoria followed with his 27th home run of the season, into the Red Sox bullpen to give Tampa Bay a 4-0 lead. It was 6-1 when Upton hit the first pitch he saw from Matt Albers, the fifth of seven Boston pitchers, over the Green Monster.

Although the paid attendance of 38,071 was officially the team's 705th consecutive sellout, much of the game was played under a steady drizzle and it finished with only a few thousand fans in their seats.

Notes

  • The Boston fans gave a cheer when former Red Sox star Johnny Damon was hit by a pitch in the sixth.
  • Boston ace Josh Beckett (12-5), sidelined by a sprained right ankle, is scheduled to start Friday night against James Shields (15-6), who reached a career high in wins with a victory against Boston last weekend in Tampa Bay.
  • Shields is 1-8 lifetime at Fenway Park.
  • Shields leads the majors with 11 complete games -- the most in a season since Randy Johnson had 12 for Arizona in 1999.
  • Rays manager Joe Maddon said RHP Kyle Farnsworth remained day to day with a right elbow injury.
  • Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was at the game.
  • Jose Iglesias got his first major-league hit when he singled while pinch-hitting in the bottom of the ninth.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Those AL East standings get tighter as Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton celebrate another victory against Boston.  (Getty Images)
Those AL East standings get tighter as Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton celebrate another victory against Boston. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

J. Hellickson
IP 5.2
H 3
ER 1
BB 4
K 4
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Tampa Bay Rays
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Desmond Jennings, LF3200210 .282
B.J. Upton, CF5223020 .236
Evan Longoria, 3B5123010 .240
Ben Zobrist, 2B3110100 .271
    Elliot Johnson, 2B1000000 .190
Johnny Damon, DH2110100 .260
   a- Russ Canzler, PH-DH0000100 .000
Matt Joyce, RF5000024 .277
Casey Kotchman, 1B4123001 .312
    Dan Johnson, 1B0000000 .115
John Jaso, C3110112 .226
Reid Brignac, SS4000004 .196
Totals3599967  
a-walked for Damon in the 9th
Batting
2B - John Jaso (15, Weiland)
HR - B.J. Upton (21, Albers), Evan Longoria (27, Weiland), Casey Kotchman (10, Morales)
RBI - B.J. Upton 3 (74), Evan Longoria 3 (88), Casey Kotchman 3 (48)
2-OUT RBI - B.J. Upton (36), Evan Longoria 3 (37), Casey Kotchman 3 (22)
CS - Evan Longoria (2, 2nd base by Atchison/Saltalamacchia)
PK - Ben Zobrist (1, Morales)
Team LOB - 6
Tampa Bay Rays
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Jeremy Hellickson (W,13-10) 5.2311440 2.91
Jake McGee 0.1000000 4.84
Juan Cruz 1100010 3.72
Cesar Ramos 1000000 3.79
Alex Torres 1211120 9.00
IBB - Ortiz by Jeremy Hellickson
WP - Jeremy Hellickson 2 (7)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 117-68, Jake McGee 1-1, Juan Cruz 21-13, Cesar Ramos 8-7, Alex Torres 19-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 5-8, Juan Cruz 1-1, Cesar Ramos 2-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 24, Jake McGee 1, Juan Cruz 4, Cesar Ramos 3, Alex Torres 6
Boston Red Sox
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF4000013 .318
    Darnell McDonald, CF1011000 .211
Dustin Pedroia, 2B3000111 .298
    Conor Jackson, 3B1000002 .245
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B3001000 .338
    Lars Anderson, 1B1000000 .000
David Ortiz, DH2020100 .316
   a- Ryan Lavarnway, PH-DH1000000 .250
Kevin Youkilis, 3B3000025 .258
    Mike Aviles, 3B-2B1000000 .252
Josh Reddick, RF3000111 .291
Carl Crawford, LF3000003 .249
    Joey Gathright, LF0100100 .000
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C3100121 .247
Marco Scutaro, SS3020000 .294
    Jose Iglesias, PR-SS1010000 .200
Totals3326257  
a-popped out for Ortiz in the 8th
Batting
RBI - Darnell McDonald (21), Adrian Gonzalez (111)
2-OUT RBI - Darnell McDonald (7)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Dustin Pedroia (7, Misplayed grounder)
Boston Red Sox
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle Weiland (L,0-2) 3344211 7.58
Trever Miller 1000000 3.98
Scott Atchison 1100000 4.50
Franklin Morales 1222111 3.80
Matt Albers 0.1133201 4.95
Andrew Miller 1.2200040 5.43
Michael Bowden 1000110 4.76
HBP - Damon (by Franklin Morales)
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle Weiland 61-32, Trever Miller 8-5, Scott Atchison 16-9, Franklin Morales 21-9, Matt Albers 13-5, Andrew Miller 35-25, Michael Bowden 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle Weiland 5-4, Trever Miller 2-1, Franklin Morales 1-0, Andrew Miller 1-0
Batters Faced - Kyle Weiland 15, Trever Miller 3, Scott Atchison 3, Franklin Morales 6, Matt Albers 4, Andrew Miller 7, Michael Bowden 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38071
Game Time - 3:25
Temperature - 69
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Hunter Wendelstedt, Second Base - Brian Knight, Third Base - Jerry Layne