Rays Beat Red Sox 8-5 to Cut Boston’s Wild-Card Lead to 2 Games

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The Tampa Bay Rays pulled within two games of Boston in the race for the American League’s wild-card playoff berth by beating the division-rival Red Sox 8-5 in the finale of their four-game series.

Matt Joyce had three hits and drove in three runs for the Rays, who won three of four games at Boston’s Fenway Park. Tampa Bay improved to 85-67 and begins a four-game series tomorrow against the Yankees in New York.

The Yankees lost 3-0 to the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday and hold a 4 1/2-game lead on the second-place Red Sox (87-65) in the AL East. The Yankees are 6 1/2 games ahead of the Rays with 11 regular-season Major League Baseball games remaining.

The Detroit Tigers, who already clinched the AL Central, defeated the Oakland A’s 3-0 yesterday as Justin Verlander tossed eight shutout innings for his 24th win. Verlander is the first AL pitcher with 24 wins in a season since Oakland’s Bob Welch won 27 games in 1990.

The Texas Rangers shut out the Seattle Mariners 3-0 to maintain a 4 1/2-game lead in the AL West over the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels beat the Baltimore Orioles 11-2.

The Milwaukee Brewers, who lead the National League Central by 6 1/2 games, beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 as Prince Fielder and Carlos Gomez hit first-inning homers. The second-place St. Louis Cardinals won 5-0 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Arizona Diamondbacks lead the San Francisco Giants by five games in the NL West after a 5-1 win against the San Diego Padres. The Atlanta Braves lost to the New York Mets 7-5 and lead the Cardinals by 3 1/2 games for the NL wild card, which goes to the division runner-up with the best record.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Matuszewski in New York at matuszewski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net