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.

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed in Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California. 

 

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

Sandoval: I got lazy after signing big contract with Red Sox

The Pablo Sandoval redemption tour is underway as the former World Series MVP tries to revive his career after two disastrous seasons with the Red Sox organization.

In an interview with ESPN Deportes, he admits to being “complacent” during his first two seasons in Boston after signing a five-year, $95 million deal. 

"My career had fallen into an abyss because I was so complacent with things that I had already accomplished," Sandoval said. "I did not work hard in order to achieve more and to remain at the level of the player that I am and that I can be."

After dealing Travis Shaw to the Brewers, Sandoval is expected to be the Red Sox primary third baseman in 2017.

"I am not taking anything for granted," he said. "I am here to work hard. I'm not thinking about the position or not. I am starting from scratch, and I am here to show what I can do on the field."

The 30-year-old says he’s following a “really strict routine” this offseason, and it shows. In a recent photo, Sandoval appears noticeably thinner. Sandoval says his wife giving birth to “Baby Panda” has served as inspiration.

"Watching 'Baby Panda' grow up and that he gets the opportunity to see his father play in the majors for seven, eight more years, to get back to the success I had, that's my motivation every day," Sandoval said. "The people that I surround myself with now and my family, they are the key to my success. This has been a life lesson."