Sox' uninspiring play continues, fall to Rays, 9-2

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Sox' uninspiring play continues, fall to Rays, 9-2

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam

If the Red Sox were hoping to set the tone for their showdown series with the Tampa Bay Rays, they sure had a funny way of going about it Thursday night.

In the first game of a four game set, the Red Sox fell flat, thumped by the Rays, 9-2. The loss moved the Rays back to within three games of the Sox in the standings with 13 games remaining.

It was Tampa's sixth straight win over the Red Sox this season and fourth in the last seven days following a sweep at Tropicana Field last weekend.

Evan Longoria's three-run homer into the home bullpen in right in the third inning was all the offense the Rays would need. Longoria's belt came off starter Kyle Weiland, who lasted just three-plus innings.

Casey Kotchman added a two-run homer off Franklin Morales in the sixth while B.J. Upton belted a two-run shot off Matt Albers in the seventh.

The Red Sox first run came in the third when Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a single, to third on a wild pitch and home on a groundout by Adrian Gonzalez.

They added a second in the ninth when a Darnell McDonald single up the middle scored Joey Gathright.

The loss was the 11th in the last 14 games for the slumping Sox.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

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Red Sox secure playoff with 6-4 win over Rays

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Dustin Pedroia hit his fourth career grand slam to help Rick Porcello get his major league-leading 22nd win, and the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-4 Saturday night for their 10th consecutive win.

The win secures them a spot in the postseason

Pedroia stopped an 0-for-17 skid with a single in the sixth and gave Boston a 6-3 lead with a seventh-inning drive off Danny Farquhar.

Porcello (22-4) gave up three runs, eight hits and struck out nine over 6 1/3 innings. He just missed getting his 12th consecutive start of seven or more innings and three runs or fewer, which would have moved him past Cy Young (1904) and Pedro Martinez (2000) for the longest stretch during the same season in franchise history.

Craig Kimbrel, the fifth Boston reliever, reached 30 saves for the sixth straight season despite allowing Logan Forsythe's solo homer in the ninth.

Brad Miller hit a two-run double in a three-run second that put Tampa Bay up 3-1 and gave him 80 RBIs.

Tampa Bay threatened in the second but failed to score due to two nice defensive plays. Pedroia made a throw from just in front of the outfield grass at second base on Mikie Mahtook's grounder to get Corey Dickerson at the plate. Third baseman Brock Holt made a solid play along the line on Alexei Ramirez's grounder and threw him out at first to end the inning.

Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

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Farrell: Sandoval could possibly return to Red Sox for postseason

Thought to be lost for the season after shoulder surgery this past spring, Pablo Sandoval could possibly return to the Red Sox for the postseason, Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters Saturday.

Sandoval joined the team in St. Petersburg, where the Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays. Farrell said Sandoval had played in instructional league games in Florida and was "well ahead of schedule."

He could be an option to be activated if another player is injured. 

“One of the things I put in my mind that I have to work,” Sandoval told Boston Herald. “I learned a lot of things about this surgery so I had to work hard to be on the field as soon as possible.

“There are a lot of things I’ve been doing, working out, doing things so I can get better and better everyday.”

Sandoval, 30, is in the second year of a five-year, $95 contract. He lost his starting third base job to Travis Shaw in spring training and in April an MRI revealed he needed surgery on his left (non-throwing) shoulder, which was to have ended his season.

He appeared in only three games this season and hit .245 with 10 homers and 47 RBI in 126 games in 2015.