You didn’t really expect the Red Sox to put their foot on the neck of the always-competitive Rays with 10 days still remaining in June, did you?
Because, in essence, that’s what would have happened last night if the Sox had beaten their division rival for a third time in 33 hours. In addition to sweeping the truncated series at Fenway Park, they would’ve seized an eight-game lead over the Rays. And with the teams not meeting again until September, that would’ve been a steep hill for Tampa Bay to climb.
But it’s never that easy.

The AL East is “a jumble,” in the words of Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington, with all five teams likely to stay in the race through the summer. There isn’t a patsy among them, and the Rays, in particular, have both the pitching and the experience to stick around.
And just in case anyone forgot, the Rays hung a 6-2 loss on the Sox, who, having already won the series by sweeping Tuesday’s day-night doubleheader, took their league-best 44-30 record to Detroit for yet another test — a four-game showdown with the AL Central-leading Tigers.
“We won two out of three here. That’s good,” said starter Ryan Dempster, who allowed three runs on eight hits in six innings, just average enough to drop his record to 4-8. “That’s what we’re trying to do every time. Sweeps are tough to do, no matter who you’re playing against, especially against a team like that.”