ST. PETERSBURG http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey , Fla. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays are on quite a run.Kevin Kiermaier tripled to key a two-run sixth inning, Tommy Pham homered and the Rays won their seventh straight game by beating the major league-leading Boston Red Sox 5-1 on Saturday night.“We’ve gotten some confidence, and I think we’ve found our identity,” Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash said.The surprising Rays will try to become the first team this season to sweep Boston in a series Sunday when the teams complete a three-game set.“We’ve been good on getaway days and day games,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “It would be a good day to put everything together, finish strong and turn the page in this stadium.”Tampa Bay is a season-high eight games over .500 (69-61). The Rays have allowed three or fewer runs in seven consecutive games.J.D. Martinez had two doubles in four at-bats for the Red Sox, who have lost five of seven. Boston (90-41) had its AL East lead sliced to seven games over the New York Yankees, who swept a doubleheader at Baltimore.“At the end of the day I felt like we lost this game because we didn’t take it to them and they took it to us,” Red Sox starter Rick Porcello said. “That’s not usually the case for our ballclub.”Martinez (.337) jumped ahead of teammate Mookie Betts (.335) for the best batting average in the majors. Martinez also leads in RBIs (110) and is second in the AL in homers (38).Betts was hitless in four at-bats and is 6 for 38 (.158) over his last nine games.Tampa Bay chased Porcello (15-7) in the sixth after Kiermaier tripled and Willy Adames was hit by a pitch. Kiermaier scored on a wild pitch by Ryan Brasier before Joey Wendle made it 3-1 later in the inning on a sacrifice fly.“That was a huge hit, maybe the biggest one of the night,” Cash said about Kiermaier’s triple.Pham hit a solo shot off Brandon Workman in the seventh, and Ji-Man Choi’s RBI triple put Tampa Bay up 5-1 in the eighth.Pham returned after missing three games with a dislocated right ring finger.“I didn’t think I had enough power to hit a home run,” Pham said. “My grip strength isn’t quite there Brian Roberts Jersey , but I had enough.”Porcello gave up three runs and six hits over five-plus innings.Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough allowed one run and five hits in five-plus innings. Ryne Stanek (2-3) replaced Yarbrough and worked a scoreless inning for the win.Tampa Bay threatened in four of the first five innings but went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring positions during that stretch. Brandon Lowe had an RBI single in the fourth that tied it 1-all.Boston scored in the second on Mitch Moreland’s double-play grounder.MALLEX MENDINGCash visited OF Mallex Smith, who was hospitalized Friday with a viral infection and should be discharged in the next couple of days. “I think he’s going to have a lengthy process, probably, of getting back,” Cash said. “He’s in good spirits. He seemed night and day different from where he was (Friday).”TRAINER’S ROOMRed Sox: Cora hasn’t completely ruled out 2B Dustin Pedroia, limited to three games in May following left knee surgery, from playing again this season. “We don’t have anything set as far as timetables, but we’re feeling good with the progress,” Cora said. … LHP Chris Sale (left shoulder inflammation) could resume throwing soon after the team returns home Monday. … LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (sprained right ankle) will make a rehab start Monday with Double-A Portland.UP NEXTRays All-Star LHP Blake Snell (15-5) will face Boston RHP and former teammate Nathan Eovaldi (5-5) on Sunday. “He really helped me with my work ethic and led by example,” said Snell, who is 2-0 with a 0.95 ERA in three starts against Boston this season. “That’s just him as a player and a person. He’s very special.” Eovaldi is 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in five starts with Boston since being acquired from the Rays on July 25. On the mound, the team survived the Yankees with the bullpen's best bend-but-don't-break effort.Like whenSuicide Squadhit theaters, "Red Sox Playoff Bullpen" played out almost exactly as poorly everyone thought it would. In Game 1 Thurman Munson Jersey , Sale handed off a 5-2 lead after 5.1 innings, and Boston escaped witha 5-4 victory.In a Game 2 loss, Price melted down early and the bullpen allowed another three runs. As they closed out the series in Game 4, the Red Sox turned to Sale instead of a reliever for the eighth inning before handing off a 4-1 lead to Kimbrel for the ninth.He loaded the bases and allowed a warning-track shot that with a few more feet would have won the game for New York鈥攖he Sox prevailed 4-3.The whole ordeal was like watching Han, Luke and Leia trapped in the trash compactor, every next thing pointing towards an epic disaster before some miracle pulls them out of trouble.It could be a relative unknown who can be the rock Boston will need in the tightest moments against Houston.Ryan Brasier started this season in Triple-A Pawtucket after spending last year in Japan. With the fans in Yankee Stadium itching and scratching, looking for any bit of hope to erupt into pandemonium, Brasier shut down the Yankees in the seventh of Game 4. He finished the series with four strikeouts in 2.1 innings, allowing no runs and earning the trust of manager Alex Cora in high-leverage situations. He'd spent nearly five seasons toiling around baseball before finding himself in the middle of a high-tension playoff series, once cursing at Gary Sanchez, telling the Yankees catcher to get back in the box before blowing him away on a 97-mph fastball.Cora will need Brasier and the bullpen in the ALCS, another change from Boston's regular-season reality."We work differently than other teams," Cora said during a press conference ahead of Game 1 of the ALDS. "We relied on our starters throughout the season. They carry us. We felt that on a nightly basis they were going to give us a chance to win鈥攅ither five innings Jorge Posada Jersey , six innings, whatever. They were very consistent about it."Sale, Nathan Eovaldi in Game 2 and Rick Porcello in Game 4 gave Cora effective starts in the ALDS. But he'll want more from Price than the 1.2 innings he got in Game 2. In many ways, the Red Sox's chances hinge on Price finding form. Cora is committed to the 33-year-old left-hander sticking in the rotation, telling WEEI.com that he believes his star pitcher only needed to make some mechanical adjustments."There were a few things I noticed that he's gotten away from [his] last few starts," Cora said. "Hopefully he can make that adjustment. ... I do feel that with that adjustment, he'll be back to being the guy who pitched in the middle of the summer, and he'll dominate again."Rookie manager Alex Cora was a bench coach for the Astros last season.Elise Amendola/Associated PressCora himself is in his first postseason as an MLB manager and did not excel as a playoff player鈥攈e hit .154 over 26 at-bats in six series. But he was the shining light for Boston against the Yankees, seemingly unable to make a bad decision. The Red Sox have seen the Astros before, but nobody knows them better than Cora, who was Houston's bench coach during their World Series run last season.Following multiple seasons when many felt former skipper John Farrell was not aggressive enough in his managerial style, Cora has flipped the script. His decision to sub in Brock Holt and Rafael Devers for Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Nunez in Game 3 of the ALDS paid dividends, as did having Sale come in to set up Kimbrel in Game 4."I'm trying to remember some things that I told [Cora] that I wish I wouldn't have http://www.yankeesfanproshop.com/authentic-giancarlo-stanton-jersey ," Houston manager AJ Hinch said to the media Wednesday before his team's first workout."He was obviously right next to me every step of the way. As a bench coach, you're kind of involved in everything, but maybe master of nothing when it comes to being in charge."Houston is the favorite to win the series, topping Boston on paper in the bullpen and the rotation while featuring a comparable lineup. Several things will need to break the Sox's way in order for them to move onto the World Series. And if the Red Sox didn't like what pundits were saying before the Yankees, they won't like what they hear as they prepare to face Houston. But the rematch of last year's ALDS is set, and this time, the stakes are higher."We're ready for another shot," Porcello said.
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