Rays
Red Sox
0 - 3 Final
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Lester, Red Sox send record crowd home happy

Sep 9, 2008 - 4:38 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Red Sox gave their record-breaking fans the best kind of reward Monday night at Fenway Park.

Before a major-league record 456th consecutive sellout at Fenway Park, Jason Bay homered and Jon Lester threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings as the Red Sox beat the slumping Tampa Bay Rays, 3-0, to draw to within one-half game of first place in the American League East.

Coco Crisp went 3-for-3 for Boston (85-58), which has cut five full games off Tampa Bay's lead in the last eight days and stands closest to first place since leading the Rays (85-57) by one-half game at the All-Star break.

"It's important," Lester said. "I think a little bit more important than a normal start because obviously they're ahead of us now and we're trying to get back into first place.

"It was a good atmosphere tonight in the ball park. It almost felt like we were in the playoffs. We're playing good baseball right now. We're swinging the bats well and playing good defense."

Edwin Jackson (11-10) could not stop the bleeding for the slumping Rays, who have lost the first four games of a nine-game road trip through AL East foes Toronto, Boston and New York.

"You just keep working at it," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "Our guys' preparation is great. The intent is there. Sometimes, it just happens and whenever it happens this time of year, it really becomes more pronounced. You see it more glaringly. We've just got to keep grinding it out, believe in what we're doing, which we do, and just keep playing the game like we have been and it's going to eventually turn in our favor."

Jackson allowed eight hits and three runs over seven-plus innings.

The Red Sox got to Jackson in the first inning and capitalized on the righthander's early wildness.

Mark Kotsay worked a leadoff walk and scored on a one-out double by David Ortiz. Kevin Youkilis drove home Ortiz with a single to center but was thrown out trying to take second.

Bay followed by launching a drive to the light tower in left-center for his sixth homer with the Red Sox and 28th

overall this season to give Boston a 3-0 lead.

"It was just a matter of understanding that it's not about you, it's about the team," Jackson said. "Overcoming the first inning, I got out of it with three runs. I just wanted to keep them right there and give my team a chance to score."

"After that, he pitched a great game," Bay said of Jackson. "Fortunately, for us, we had a guy who pitched a little bit better. Lester was the story, obviously, for what he did and for the five weeks I've been here, he's been like that. Except for one hiccup in Toronto, he's been lights out and tonight he showed why he's a pretty good pitcher."

The Red Sox would not get another run off Jackson the rest of the night.

"Once Jackson got settled in, his velocity was tremendous," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "His breaking ball was good. He was very impressive. So fortunately, first inning, he looked like he's up with a few pitches, but once he settled in, there wasn't a whole lot there for us."

Tampa Bay could not muster much until the sixth against Lester. With one out in the frame, Akinori Iwamura singled to left and Ben Zobrist walked. But Carlos Pena flew out to center and Rocco Baldelli struck out for the third straight at-bat against Lester to end the threat.

Lester (14-5) struck out nine and won for the 11th time in his last 13 decisions, dating back to June 5 against Tampa Bay.

"(Lester) was pretty good," Maddon said. "His velocity is way up from where it had been in the past. He's locating a lot better, with a really good cutter, very good cutter. I thought he pitched extremely well and I thought Edwin Jackson did also."

Lester received a standing ovation as he left with runners on second and third and two outs in the eighth.

"I think I'm more consistent with my mechanics," Lester said. "That's making me stronger. I don't have to use as much energy, wasted energy, as before. Now, it just seems more efficient and I'm consistent with what I'm trying to do, so I'm not wasting energy on bad thoughts or anything like that."

Jonathan Papelbon struck out Baldelli for the fourth time on a 97 mile per hour fastball to end the eighth and pitched the ninth for his 36th save in 40 chances.

The crowd of 37,662 watched the Red Sox win for the sixth time in seven games while breaking the old consecutive sellout streak of the Cleveland Indians from 1995 to 2001. Boston's streak began on May 15, 2003.

Maddon said after the game that his team will likely be without starting center fielder B.J. Upton on Tuesday as he nurses a strained left quad that he injured early in the game. Upton is listed as day-to-day.








  • AL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    TAMPA BAY 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
    BOSTON 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 x 3 9 0 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: TAM - EDWIN JACKSON, J.P. HOWELL (8TH) AND DIONER NAVARRO
    BOS - JON LESTER, JONATHAN PAPELBON (8TH) AND JASON
    VARITEK

    HOME RUNS: TAM - NONE
    BOS - JASON BAY (6) OF

    Sep 8 9:43 PM
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    KMAC2 Added 10 roots

    Rays 0, Red Sox 3  Bot 6, 0 OutsSep 8 8:44 PM
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    Rays 0, Red Sox 3  Top 5, 0 OutsSep 8 8:05 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY JASON BAY (6) TO CENTER WITH 2 OUT IN THE
    1ST OFF EDWIN JACKSON.
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0, BOSTON 3
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: M LOWELL (.277, 15 HR, 71 RBI)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 3  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 8 7:21 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    SINGLE BY KEVIN YOUKILIS SCORED DAVID ORTIZ.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, NONE ON, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 2 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: J BAY (.305, 5 HR, 30 RBI)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 2  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 8 7:20 PM


  • AL
    AT BOSTON - SCORING UPDATE
    DOUBLE BY DAVID ORTIZ SCORED MARK KOTSAY.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D ORTIZ ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: TAMPA BAY 0
    BOSTON 1 BOTTOM, 1ST
    DUE UP FOR BOSTON: K YOUKILIS (.314, 25 HR, 97 RBI)

    Rays 0, Red Sox 1  Bot 1, 0 OutsSep 8 7:16 PM
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    Rays vs. Red SoxSep 6 8:31 PM
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    Rays vs. Red SoxAug 25 5:03 PM