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Rays Beat BoSox, 5-3, Increase Wild Card Lead To 6 1/2 Games

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) – Dan Johnson capped a three-run sixth inning with an RBI single, as the Tampa Bay Rays defeated the Boston Red Sox, 5-3, in the rubber match of a three-game set from Tropicana Field.

Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena each homered for the Rays, who have won six of eight and remained tied atop the AL East standings with the Yankees, who beat the White Sox on Sunday.

James Shields (13-11) allowed three runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings to win his third straight start. He also struck out eight and walked one.

Daniel Nava, Yamaico Navarro, and Marco Scutaro each drove in a run for the Red Sox, who sit 6 1/2 games behind Tampa Bay and New York in the division.

John Lackey (12-8) went 6 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on nine hits. He also fanned seven batters and walked three.

Pena broke a scoreless tie with a homer to right-center field in the fourth.

Boston responded with two runs in the fifth to take a 2-1 lead. Mike Lowell doubled and moved to third on Nava’s groundout. After Darnell McDonald walked, Navarro hit an RBI single. Scutaro then hit a sharp grounder to third. The ball took a weird bounce and went over the glove of Evan Longoria and into left field. McDonald scored on the play.

Nava’s run-scoring single in the top of the sixth extended Boston’s margin to 3-1.

Tampa Bay plated three runs in the home sixth to take the lead. Ben Zobrist hit a one-out single and scored on Crawford’s homer to right-center field. Longoria doubled, Pena walked, and Matt Joyce walked to load the bases. Johnson stepped to the plate and hit a base hit up the middle. After Longoria scored the go-ahead run, Pena was thrown out at home.

The Rays added a run in the seventh to make it a 5-3 game. With runners on first and second and one out, Hideki Okajima took over for Lackey. After Crawford struck out, Longoria hit an RBI single.

Joaquin Benoit pitched a perfect eighth and Rafael Soriano worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his 39th save.

Game Notes

The Rays lead the season series with the Red Sox, 10-5….Lackey fell to 11-4 lifetime versus Tampa Bay…Shields is 5-9 in his career against Boston…The Red Sox have claimed Angels catcher/infielder Mike Napoli off waivers. LA has until Monday to work out a trade, or they can opt to keep Napoli…Crawford has 100 career homers, which moved him into second on the club’s all-time list.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.