x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Youkilis is on top of his game

Kevin Youkilis had three hits and scored two runs to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 on Thursday night.

Kevin Youkilis had three hits and scored two runs to help the Boston Red Sox beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 on Thursday night. Mike Lowell drove in Youkilis with a sacrifice-fly in the sixth inning to put Boston up 4-3 before they added two more runs in the seventh. The win gave the Red Sox (78-55) a three-game lead in the American League wild card over the Texas Rangers and a six-game advantage over Tampa Bay (72-61).

It was Boston's first series win at Tropicana Field since September 2007. "They have to play really, really well, and we have to play poorly [for the Rays to catch us]," said Boston third baseman Mike Lowell. "If they play like they have this year and we play like we have, I think six games are a lot." The Red Sox got off to a fast start, with Jason Bay hitting a two-run double to score Victor Martinez and Youkilis in the top of the first but Jason Bartlett and Carlos Pena hit back immediately to tie it at 2-2 in the bottom of the same inning.

Rocco Baldelli hit a solo home run in the top of the second to make it 3-2 before Tampa Bay tied it at 3-3 in the fourth on an RBI double from catcher Gregg Zaun. Boston starter Clay Bucholz (4-3) took the win after allowing three runs over six innings, and Jonathan Papelbon pitched the ninth for his 34th save of the season. Rays starter David Price lasted 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs. Third baseman Evan Longoria had two hits, including a double, to continue his success against the Red Sox. Longoria entered the game hitting .362 against Boston this season.

The Tampa Bay outfielder BJ Upton sprained an ankle after colliding with Carl Crawford in the fifth and is likely to miss the next two games. * Reuters