Boston Red Sox

Sox drop series finale to Rays, 4-1; lead trimmed to 3 1/2 games

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Sox drop series finale to Rays, 4-1; lead trimmed to 3 1/2 games

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash went to check his phone for Hurricane Irma news as soon as he reached his office after the final out.

Wilson Ramos stood at his locker and wanted to show reporters a video on his iPhone of heavy winds swaying palm trees that a friend watching his house had sent.

The Rays had a lot on their minds as they beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

"I think in the training room the whole day we just had the weather on, the radar," pitcher Alex Cobb said. "You're not thinking about it while you're playing, obviously, but I think every other minute of the day we've been trying to be forecasters in seeing what best possibilities we could have going into this storm for our area and for our friends and families."

"It definitely consumes a lot of your time and your emotion," he said. "I think we've done as good of a job as we could have done."

Cobb (11-9) allowed one run and four hits - all singles - and three walks in five innings. Ramos and Lucas Duda each hit a solo homer for the Rays.

"It's hard to not think about the situation," Ramos said. "We have houses over there - all our families are from Florida, too."

Alex Colome pitched a perfect ninth to complete a five-hitter and earn his major-league leading 43rd save in 48 chances.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello was dealt his major league-leading 17th loss, the victim of poor run support once again.

Porcello (9-17) took a 1-0 lead into the fifth, when Ramos and Evan Longoria hit RBI singles. Boston has scored two runs or fewer 18 times in 30 starts while Porcello was in the game. He gave up five hits in five innings.

"In the fifth inning, obviously, there were some things I'd like to correct, but overall it wasn't bad," Porcello said.

Ramos homered in the sixth off Brandon Workman, a drive that just cleared the center field wall, and Duda went deep in the seventh against Robby Scott.

Tampa Bay stopped Boston's four-game winning streak, and the Red Sox lead over the second-place Yankees in the AL East was cut to 3 1/2 games.

Christian Vazquez hit a run-scoring single in the first for Boston.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. missed his second straight game with a bruised left knee that forced him out Friday after he ran into a wall along the right-field line. ... Ramos, Tampa Bay's catcher, took a foul tip off the top of his left foot.

Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez was sidelined with a bruised right knee sustained on a headfirst slide on Saturday. Farrell said Nunez was sore but expected back Tuesday. ... Farrell said the LHP Dave Price (left elbow inflammation) felt fine after his two-inning simulated game Saturday is likely to pitch three innings in a simulated game on Wednesday. ... Hanley Ramirez got the day off.

CLOSE ONE

Vazquez was called out by plate umpire Brian O'Nora when he tagged up and tried to score on Sam Travis' second-inning fly to right fielder Mallex Smith. The call stood on a video review, though on replays it appeared one of Vazquez's legs touched the plate before Ramos' tag.

HELPING OUT

Players of the Boston Bruins, Red Sox, Rays and Florida Panthers were at gates collecting donations for support of relief efforts that may be needed because of Irma. The Panthers are training in the area with their AHL affiliate.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58 ERA) is slated to face Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91) on Monday when the teams open a three-game series at New York's Citi Field. The series was moved from Florida to the Mets' ballpark because of Irma.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 4.33) is set to face LHP Sean Manaea (10-9, 4.33) when Boston opens a three-game series Tuesday against visiting Oakland. Rodriguez is 0-4 in his last 11 starts.

Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

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Red Sox move closer to AL East title with 5-0 win over Reds

CINCINNATI - Mitch Moreland ended his long slump with a three-run homer, Eduardo Rodriguez pitched three-hit ball into the eighth inning, and the Boston Red Sox took another step toward a second straight AL East title, beating the Cincinnati Reds 5-0 on Saturday.

Boston has won 13 of 16, holding off the Yankees as it tries to win back-to-back East titles for the first time since divisional realignment in 1969. The Red Sox have their best record of the season at 90-64, reaching 90 wins for the second year in a row.

They remain four games in front of the Yankees, who beat Toronto 5-1.

Moreland was in an 0-for-19 slump when he connected off Robert Stephenson (5-6) in the sixth inning, his 20th homer of the season but only his second in September. The Red Sox are last in the AL with 160 homers.

Rodriguez (6-6) has given up two or fewer earned runs in each of his last four starts, the best stretch of his career. The left-hander gave up three singles and two walks in 7 2/3 innings, his longest outing since May 21.

The Red Sox have shutout victories in three of their last four games, including two at Baltimore. They are 7-1 on a trip that ends Sunday. Boston wraps up the regular season at Fenway Park with three games against Toronto and four against Houston.

Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who grew up in suburban Madeira and had hundreds of relatives and friends in the stands for the series, singled home a run in the seventh at the ballpark where he regularly attended games as a youth.

CSNNE SCHEDULE

Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

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Betts (foot), Pedroia (knee) out of Red Sox lineup

Mookie Betts, who fouled a ball off his left foot Friday night, and Dustin Pedroia, who has been bothered by a knee injury almost all season, were out of the Red Sox lineup Saturday against the Reds in Cincinnati.

Chris Young started in right field for Betts and Brock Holt at second base for Pedroia.

Betts was scratched from the original lineup but was a late scratch. Pedroia, who had been getting intermittent days off to rest his knee was originally expected to play but needed treatement and hopes to be able to play Sunday, according to Scott Lauber of ESPN. 

Manager John Farrell told reporters, including Christopher Smith of MassLive.com, that Betts "was hindered by it last night in the second half of that game. [He] woke up a little bit more sore. Went through treatment. But felt it was best to give him a day to fully recover and get some additional treatment."

The manager added that Betts was available to pinch hit Saturday and did not have X-rays, but that step could be taken if there's no improvement in the next 24 hours.