By Bradley Walker, 1010 Sports

BOSTON (CBS) The Rays can’t split this four-game series with Boston and pretend like everything is okay. The 4-3 loss Friday night has brought them back to four games behind the Red Sox, with limited time remaining on the season to salvage their playoff hopes.

Josh Beckett took the mound against the Rays and was able to hold Tampa Bay to three runs on seven hits through six innings.

James Shields (15-11) kept the Rays in the game through seven innings, and ended his night with seven hits and four earned runs allowed. The marquee pitching match up had been highly anticipated leading up to Friday, but Beckett was able to grab the upper hand and give his team the momentum needed the knot the series at 1-1.

The Rays got it going early at the plate with a two-run bomb by Evan Longoria to give them a 2-0 lead. Boston would answer immediately when Dustin Pedroia and David Oritz hit RBI singles to tie the game at two. Longoria singled in the third to put the Rays up 2-2 in the early goings.

Longo had the only three RBIs for the Rays on Friday, which isn’t sufficient enough against an opponent like Boston.

Jeff Niemann gets the call this afternoon (4:10 PM ET) in a crucial game at Fenway Park. With 11 games remaining for the Rays, time is not on their side, and a sense of urgency needs to be reinforced.


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