The playoffs have unofficially begun for the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox will try to make it three wins in as many tries when they continue their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Just 43-41 since starting the season 15-6, the Red Sox trail the first-place New York Yankees by eight games in the AL East and are one-half game back of wild card leader Texas. General manager Theo Epstein thinks the Red Sox can put together a strong run down the stretch.
“We just have to go out and do it,” he said. “We find ourselves in a dogfight for the postseason.”
With its 5-2 victory Tuesday, Boston won its first road series since June 4-6 at Kansas City. The Red Sox have won just 12 of their last 31 games away from Fenway Park.
The Red Sox have won seven of the eight meetings with the Devil Rays this season. On Tuesday, Curt Schilling pitched a six-hitter and Jason Varitek hit a two-run home run for Boston, which plays just 10 of its remaining 25 games in August on the road.
“Billy (Mueller) drove in three big runs for us and Curt did an awesome job on that mound for us,” Varitek said. “I was just able to capitalize on a good pitch to hit.”
The Devil Rays lost a series at home for the first time since May 28-30, when the Yankees took two of three.
“With that lineup over there, you’re not going to trick them with smoke and mirrors,” right-hander Rob Bell said. “You’ve got to get it done through three or four at-bats (against each hitter) as a starting pitcher.”
Rocco Baldelli hit a solo home run in the sixth inning and now has 11 RBIs over his last 11 games.
Tampa Bay is 5-3 during its season-high 13-game homestand.