Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Rays sweep Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — They may not have a single player obviously worthy of All-Star selection, as Boston/American League manager Terry Francona said. They may not have the experience necessary to stay in the race, as Boston DH/team conscience David Ortiz said.

But there are a couple of things the Rays do have that look pretty good this morning.

There's the thrilling 7-6 victory Wednesday night that completed a second home sweep of the Red Sox and their seventh sweep of the season.

The major-league-best 52-32 record (and a pace for an amazing 100 wins).

And the 3½-game AL East lead.

"It's exciting just to hear that, it really is," pitcher Scott Kazmir said. "We can't just think that we've already won it right now, because we're a long ways away. But we have the makeup of playing in October. We have the makeup of really making a run."

There were plenty of times Wednesday when they didn't look that way, dulling the roar of the Tropicana Field sellout crowd of 36,048, as Kazmir and the offense struggled and the Rays trailed 4-1 going into the seventh.

But then there were several moments when they looked unbeatable, or at least undeniable, roaring back with a six-run rally in a 37-minute, 54-pitch bottom of the seventh, as Evan Longoria had another huge hit. Then they hung on with their patchwork bullpen, Gary Glover and Dan Wheeler (the third pitcher to get a save in the three games) getting the final nine outs.

The Sox scored once in the eighth and again in the ninth but could have had more if not for a spectacular over-the-shoulder catch by centerfielder B.J. Upton, a baffling baserunning move by the Red Sox (with Mike Lowell caught stealing) and Jason Varitek taking a called third strike.

"We felt like we were going to win that game somehow," manager Joe Maddon said. "Why? Because we've got that feeling about us right now. We believe."

The Rays started the rally by scoring on an infield single and a bases-loaded walk, then Longoria, who helped save Tuesday's win with his glove, came up in this one with a huge hit, a two-run double that put them ahead 5-4. He'll probably clean the Trop during today's off day and make the team lunch Friday.

Upton lent quite a hand after the Sox got the first two on in the ninth, racing back to catch Kevin Youkilis' fly just shy of the wall. Maddon called it "magnificent," Willie Mays-esque and "one of the better catches you'll see."

Upton called it his duty. "I was going to get it, that was the only thing on my mind, catching it," Upton said. "If that ball drops, it's a totally different game. We might still be out there. I told Carl (Crawford) when I came in, I was going to have to run through the wall not to catch it."

Jason Bartlett, so sore from an earlier slide that pitcher James Shields was set to pinch-hit for him, came out and helped seal it with a two-run single.

The series was played without any fights or incidents stemming from the June 5 brawl, though there were a couple of "moments" Wednesday. Ex-Ray Julio Lugo was called out, and the Rays awarded a double play, after he slid wide of second, came up and extended his arms toward Bartlett in the fourth. And Wheeler buzzed Manny Ramirez to open the ninth.

As pleased as the Rays were with the sweep, which Maddon said "reaffirmed" they could play with the Sox, they made plenty of references to how long they still had to go, and how they still have to beat the Sox in Boston (as the home team has won each of the 12 games so far) when they play again in September.

But where they are right now?

"I can't tell you I expected it; I'd be lying right now," Maddon said. "But we expect to win on a nightly basis regardless of who it's against, and it's a great feeling."

Staff writer Joe Smith contributed to this report. Marc Topkin can be reached at

Taking control Rays 7, Red Sox 6

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Red Sox 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 1 6 10 0
Rays 1 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 X 7 9 2

AL East standings



Red Sox50-37.5753.5



Blue Jays41-44.48211.5*

*Late game not included

Seventh inning
by the numbers

2 Hits by
Jason Bartlett

6 Runs scored
by Rays

11 Rays who came
to the plate

37 Minutes elapsed while
the Rays were hitting

54 Pitches thrown by
Red Sox, of which 29 were balls

Rays sweep Red Sox 07/02/08 [Last modified: Friday, July 4, 2008 1:35pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tampa Bay Super Bowls: A brief history and some predictions for 2021


    At last, Tampa will host a Super Bowl again. It used to be that the Cigar City would host one a decade, but by the time February 2021 rolls around, it will have been 12 years since the epic showdown between the Steelers and Cardinals. Because it has been awhile, let's revisit those past Super Bowls while also peering …

    Santonio Holmes hauls in the game-winning touchdown in the Steelers' 27-23 Super Bowl XLIII victory over the Cardinals in 2009, the last time Tampa hosted a Super Bowl. [JAMES BORCHUCK | Times]
  2. Rays bats go silent in second straight loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Sure, Alex Cobb was to blame for the Rays' 4-0 loss on Tuesday.

    Derek Norris strikes out with the bases loaded as the Rays blow a golden opportunity in the seventh inning.
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Angels game

    The Heater

    RHP Alex Cobb made mistakes on back-to-back pitches to the first two Angels hitters Tuesday, allowing homers to Cameron Maybin and Mike Trout, but otherwise gave the Rays another solid outing, working into the eighth and scattering seven hits.

  4. Rays journal: Brad Miller won't return from DL when eligible

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — 2B Brad Miller (left abdominal strain) will not return from the 10-day disabled list Friday as he hoped. While he took ground balls Tuesday, he has yet to resume running.

    Rays second baseman Brad Miller, left, with infielder Tim Beckham, says he’s letting his left abdominal strain “cool down” before testing it by running.
  5. USF baseball rallies to beat Tulane in AAC tournament opener


    CLEARWATER — With Tulane runners on first and second and two out in the top of the ninth inning Tuesday, USF's dugout watched as burly American Athletic Conference co-player of the year Hunter Williams' fly to left went deep.

    USF outfielder Chris Chatfield is congratulated by third-base coach Chris Cates after hitting a three-run homer in the third inning, tying the score at 3.