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Lester gets Red Sox closer to the Rays

September 09, 2008|From the Associated Press

BOSTON -- Jon Lester pitched into the eighth inning, Jason Bay hit a home run in a three-run first inning and the Boston Red Sox beat Tampa Bay, 3-0, Monday night to move to within half a game of the American League East-leading Rays.

It was the first time since July 23 that the Red Sox had been that close to the division lead.

Boston improved to 6-1 in its last seven games, and Tampa Bay is 1-6 in that same stretch after losing its fourth consecutive game.

The Rays were shut out for the second consecutive day for the first time this year, having lost at Toronto, 1-0, Sunday.

They dropped to 0-7 at Fenway Park this season and could fall out of first place tonight in the second game of the three-game series. The teams wrap up their season series with three games at Tampa Bay starting Monday.

Boston leads the major leagues with 14 shutouts.

Lester (14-5) matched his season high with nine strikeouts, accomplished in his no-hitter against Kansas City on May 19. He gave up six hits and three walks in 7 2/3 innings.

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