The Tampa Bay Rays have had a tough time at Fenway Park this season. In seven games, the Rays have: seven losses, a staff ERA of over 7, and were outscored 49-16. If the Sox manage to sweep the Rays again, they will have a half game lead on the rays going into their day off Thursday.
The big headline going into last night’s game was that the Red Sox broke the MLB record for consecutive sell out games at 456. Since May 15th of 2003 every Red Sox game has been completely sold out. The Sox players and staff who have been with the team since 2003 were honored, and the team set to the task of gaining a game on the Rays.
John Lester pitched like a man possesed, striking out 9 through 7.2 innings; scattering 6 hits and surrendering 3 walks. He was lifted after 119 pitches, and Jonathan Papelbon was sent in to try for a four-out save. While four-out saves and non-save sitations have been like kryptonite to Papelbon this season, on Monday he got one on a flyout and three on strikeouts to nail down his 36th save.
The Sox offense got everything they needed in the Third inning. David Ortiz drove in Mark Kotsay with a double, Kevin Youkilis drove in Ortiz with a grounder up the middle (and got thrown out on a baserunning gaffe), and Jason Bay hit a homer to center. After that, Rays starter Edwin Jackson locked in. He went 7 strong, striking out 6 and giving up the 3 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks. JP Howell threw an uneventful 8th inning, and the Sox walked away from the game down only half a game.
Game two of the Sox-Rays series is at 7:05pm tonight, on NESN and WRKO.
Probable starters: Daisuke Matsuzaka (BOS 16-2 2.88 ERA) vs Scott Kazmir (TB 11-6 2.99 ERA)