Rays win 7th straight to get back in wild card chase

8:59 PM, Sep 26, 2012   |    comments
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Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Stymied by Jon Lester early, the Tampa Bay Rays finally got to him in the fifth.

Carlos Pena and Ben Francisco hit back-to-back homers in the three-run fifth as the surging Rays downed the Boston Red Sox, 4-2, in the finale of a brief two-game set.

The red-hot Rays have won seven straight and sit 2 1/2 games behind the Oakland Athletics for the AL's second wild card spot. The A's are currently taking on the Texas Rangers in Arlington.

Alex Cobb (10-9) struck out five and allowed a run on three hits and three walks over five frames to pick up the win, while Fernando Rodney fired a scoreless ninth and notched his 45th save of the season.

Lester (9-14) held the Rays hitless over the first 4 1/3 innings until Jeff Keppinger lined a single into left field. In all, Lester fanned five and surrendered three runs on four hits and a walk over six frames for Boston, which has dropped six of its last seven contests.

Following Keppinger's base hit, Pena smashed a two-run shot off the back wall in dead center field and Francisco then launched a solo blast over the Green Monster in left field for a 3-1 Rays advantage.

The Red Sox got a run back in the sixth when James Loney lifted a sacrifice fly to right field, but Tampa Bay regained its two-run cushion in the seventh on a Jose Lobaton one-hop, ground-rule RBI double over the short wall in right-center field.

Wade Davis fanned two during a 1-2-3 seventh, while Joel Peralta spun a scoreless eighth.

Earlier, the Red Sox struck first in the second when Daniel Nava slapped two- out RBI single to right field.

Game Notes

Boston's Dustin Pedroia stole two bases, which gave him 100 for his career ... To conclude the season-long 100th anniversary celebration of Fenway Park, Boston unveiled its 40-man, All-Fenway team as part of a pregame ceremony ... The Red Sox finished 34-47 at Fenway this year, their worst home mark since 1965.

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