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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Sox are morphing into a very likable team

Remember when the Tampa Bay Rays looked unbeatable in April and May and the Red Sox looked like a third-place team that was going nowhere?

It's funny how much can change in the grind of a MLB season, I'm just glad that I didn't put money on the Rays to win the World Series (in Vegas) since they look like a talented team that's coming apart at the seams for whatever reason.

In the first game of a short two-game set, the Sox (47-31) beat the Rays (44-32) 8-5 last night at Fenway Park behind one of John Lackey's best starts and some pop from David Ortiz (3-run homer) and Bill Hall (2-run homer).

Lackey (9-3) has amassed a nice record but he's mostly been the beneficiary of some fine run support. Last night, he was the innings eating horse he was touted as. He went seven innings, allowing one earned run on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

This one was a laugher (8-1) that got serious as Tampa Bay scored two in the eighth and two in the ninth. This ensured that Daniel Bard (1 out) and Jonathan Papelbon (1 out, 18th save) had to be roused from the bullpen but they threw six and five pitches respectively so they'll be available tonight.

James Shields (6-8) was matching Lackey for the first few innings but he ran into trouble in the fifth when he gave up the three-run bomb to Big Papi.

Jason Varitek added an RBI single in the sixth and Daniel Nava reached on an infield single with a run scoring and Shields' night was over. He lasted five innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits with two walks and six strikeouts.

Evan Longoria got the Rays on the board in the seventh with an RBI single but Varitek (sacrifice fly) and Hall (two-run homer) increased the Sox lead to 8-1 in the bottom of the seventh.

Willy Aybar hit a two-run homer in the eighth and Ben Zobrist added an RBI single in the ninth. Carl Crawford had four hits in the loss for Tampa Bay.

Adrian Beltre was 4-for-4 with two runs scored in the win.

Dice-K takes on Matt Garza tonight as the Sox tries to sweep the Rays.

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