The Boston Red Sox played consistent all around last night to notch the 8-4 win against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Jonathon Papelbon earned his first career six-out save with help from Jacoby Ellsbury, who made a spectacular diving catch in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. The game marked Papelbon’s 33rd save in his last 36 attempts.
Newly acquired Billy Wagner was more than impressed with the clutch save, saying “I told him I’m glad it’s him and not me. That two-inning thing, that’s for young people, not for me,” said Wagner…”That was a lot of fun to watch. I know the nerves and what’s going on out there. One bad pitch and you look like the goat. But man, he was great tonight.”
Red Sox starter John Lester did his job from the mound as well, letting up just two runs on seven hits in six innings with nine K’s. Boston’s line up posted their runs with the big bats last night; the first homer coming from J.D. Drew in the 4th inning, followed by Jason Bay in the fifth and Youkilis later in the eighth.
The Sox remain 6 1/2 games behind the New York Yankees in the AL East standings, while staying ahead of the Rangers in the Wild Card race by 3 1/2 games. Tampa Bay with the loss has been pushed to six games behind Boston. “The biggest thing I liked about it was we got a win here – we got a win on the road in Tampa Bay,” said Ellsbury. “It just puts them back another game. Any time you play them head-to-head, those are big games with a month left in the season. It’s nice to come in here and get that first one.”
The 14-5 Josh Beckett will get his start tonight against the Rays for game two of this regular season showdown.
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