Rays beat Sox, 4-3, three games out of Wild Card

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Rays beat Sox, 4-3, three games out of Wild Card

By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen

BOSTON -- Jon Lester and the Red Sox couldnt capitalize on the good karma Josh Beckett initiated Friday, as they fell to the Rays, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.

After Beckett helped to stop the Sox franchise-worst six-game losing streak to the Rays on Friday, Lester gave up two runs in the first inning, walking Rays lead-off batter Desmond Jennings on four pitches and giving up a two-out home run to Ben Zobrist.

The Rays added another run in the third when Jennings doubled, took third on B.J. Uptons groundout to Marco Scutaro at shortstop, and scored when Lesters fourth ball to Evan Longoria was a wild pitch.

The Sox got two runs back in the bottom of the inning. Carl Crawford led off with a single to center and scored on Mike Aviles double off the wall. Scutaros sacrifice bunt moved Aviles to third and Jacoby Ellsburys sacrifice fly scored Aviles.

In the fifth inning, Evan Longorias single to right drove in Brandon Guyer, who singled and went to third on Uptons single to center, for the Rays fourth run. It was Longorias seventh RBI in the first three games of the four-game series.

The Sox closed the deficit to one in the seventh when Crawford and Aviles led off the inning with a single off Rays rookie Matt Moore, with Crawford scoring on Ellsburys groundout.

But that was as close as the Sox would get.

Lester took the loss, falling to 15-8, with a 3.15 ERA. Jeff Niemann earned the win, improving to 11-7, with a 3.95 ERA.

The loss cuts their lead over the Rays in the American League wild card race to 3 games.

Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.

Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

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Betts and Bradley Jr. combine for seven RBI, Red Sox roll to 9-2 win

The Boston Red Sox put up six runs in the first inning and coasted to a 9-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

Mookie Betts and Jackie Bradley Jr. led the way for the Red Sox with four and three RBI respectfully. Both outfielders had two-run home runs in the Sox’ big first inning.

Knuckleballer Steven Wright gave up one earned run in four innings, his ERA for the spring is now 0.68.

The Red Sox are back in action again on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m when Rick Porcello makes his final spring training start against the Minnesota Twins.

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Hernandez has chance at Red Sox opening day roster after Rutledge injury

Infielder Marco Hernandez may make the Red Sox roster after all.

Fellow infielder Josh Rutledge, the presumptive 25th man on the Red Sox, suffered a left hamstring strain on Tuesday against the Pirates, according to reporters in Florida, including Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald.

If Rutledge isn’t ready for opening day, Hernandez, a left-handed hitter, may have his crack. 

The question is whether the Sox would be comfortable without a right-handed bat to complement both Pablo Sandoval and Mitch Moreland on the corners. Rutledge was going to give the Sox that right-handed look they sought. (When Hanley Ramirez's shoulder will be healthy enough to play first base is unclear, but isn't expected to be too long.)

Neither Rutledge nor Hernandez has played first base in the majors or minors.

A big-league rookie last year, Hernandez has done decently against lefties at the upper levels of the minors, hitting .328 vs. them at Triple-A Pawtucket last season in 67 at-bats. He hit .315 in 54 at-bats at Pawtucket, with a .318 average against them that season in 88 at-bats for Double-A Portland.

Rutledge is a Rule 5 draft pick who has to remain on the major league 25-man roster the whole season or the Sox risk losing him. Placement on the disabled list doesn’t affect his status unless he’s on the disabled list for a very lengthy time.

An alternative option is Steve Selsky, who has first-base experience, but he's already been optioned.