ST. PETERSBURG (CBS) Coming off an emotional walk-off win Saturday night, the Rays came out Sunday afternoon in search of a sweep.
Let’s just say the brooms came out of the closet.
Tampa Bay defeated the Boston Red Sox 9-1 and completed the three-game sweep to pull to within 3 1/2 games of Boston in the AL Wild Card race. They’re on a four-game tear and have shown no signs of slowing down.
James Shields picked up the win today and leads the Rays pitching staff with 15 wins on the season. He went 8 1/3 innings and gave up one run on seven hits. The complete game was in the midst, but skipper Joe Maddon played it safe and brought in Dane De La Rosa to close it out.
Boston lefty Jon Lester took the mound for the Sox to try and break their four-game losing streak. The Rays made sure that didn’t happen.
Lester made an early exit in the fourth after giving up four runs on eight hits. Ben Zobrist drove in two runs in the first, and Shaun Rodriguez had a sac fly to give the Rays an early 3-0 lead.
With a 4-1 lead entering the fifth inning, the Rays loaded the bases and counted on B.J Upton to be a hero. He put a ball into the center field seats for the first grand slam of his career, and gave the Rays an 8-1 lead.
Shields and Upton was an unstoppable combination on Sunday, and with 17 games remaining Tampa Bay is back in the battle for a playoff spot in 2011.
The stage is set, and September should be a great month of playoff-caliber baseball.