Boston (94-62) at Tampa Bay (66-88)

Cloudy Currently: St. Petersburg, FL, US
Temp: 62° F
  • Game info: 7:15 pm EDT Tue Sep 28, 2004
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Boston Red Sox are back in the postseason.

Now, they’ll look to continue building momentum for the playoffs when they continue their three-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

The Red Sox beat the Devil Rays 7-3 on Monday, clinching at least a wild-card berth. Boston trails the New York Yankees by three games in the AL East with six remaining for both teams.

Boston has finished second to New York in each of the last six seasons.

“We haven’t accomplished anything yet,” left fielder Manny Ramirez said. “We’re going to take it to another level and see what happens.”

Johnny Damon hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning, and Ramirez followed with his AL-leading 43rd homer, a two-run shot. Jason Varitek and David McCarty added solo homers in the eighth for Boston, which has won three straight and five of seven.

“No one’s going bananas. We still have a job to do,” Damon said. “There’s a lot more business to take care of. Right now, we’re going to go celebrate a little bit.”

Damon said the Red Sox’s goal for the rest of the season is to “just play sharp baseball.” They also plan to rest some key players, including Trot Nixon, who is 17-for-37 in 15 games since returning from the disabled list after suffering a thigh injury. David Ortiz, who is nursing his right shoulder, and Bill Mueller, who had knee surgery on May 28, were given Monday off.

Midre Cummings homered for the Devil Rays, who have lost six of their last nine. Tampa Bay, which has finished last in the AL East every year since entering the majors in 1998, leads last-place Toronto by 1 1/2 games.

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14-12 Record 7-6
5.42 ERA 4.70
105 K 59
71 BB 27
1.61 WHIP 1.36