ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were mathematically eliminated in the late innings, then lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Friday night when Willy Adames had an RBI single in the 11th.
A year after going 108-54 to win their third straight AL East title, the Red Sox (80-73) were knocked out during the ninth inning when Cleveland beat Philadelphia, around the time Mitch Moreland hit his second two-run homer.
There has not been a repeat World Series champion since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees. Ten of the last 18 champions failed to reach the playoffs in the year after their title.
Tampa Bay (91-63) remained tied with Cleveland for the second AL wild card, trailing Oakland. While the Red Sox have the highest payroll in the major leagues at $228 million, the Rays have the lowest at $66 million.
Mike Brosseau and Daniel Robertson drew two-out walks in the 11th from Trevor Kelley (0-3), and Adames lined a single to left that scored pinch-runner Johnny Davis from second base.
Diego Castillo (4-8) struck out Moreland with a runner on first to end the top of the 11th.
Moreland put the Red Sox ahead 2-0 with his seventh-inning homer off Charlie Morton on an 0-2 pitch, then tied the score against Emilio Pagan with an opposite-field drive to left.
Rick Porcello gave up three hits over six scoreless innings. After a pair of walks by Darwinzon Hernandez in the seventh, pinch-hitter Nate Lowe grounded into a run-scoring forceout, Marcus Walden hit an RBI double and Josh Taylor threw a run-scoring wild pitch.
Ji-Man Choi made it 4-2 on an eighth-inning RBI double off Andrew Cashner.
Morton, bidding for a career-high 16th win, allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings.
Mookie Betts returned to the Boston lineup as the designated hitter after missing a week with left foot inflammation and went 0 for 5. Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi departed in the third due to a bruised left thumb.
Tampa Bay’s Austin Meadows was hitless in four at-bats, ending a 16-game hitting streak.
The Rays took part in Roberto Clemente Day. The team wore T-shirts honoring Clemente during batting practice and Clemente’s son, Luis, threw the ceremonial first pitch.
Red Sox: OF J.D. Martinez (left groin tightness) could start Saturday night. … Manager Alex Cora doesn’t have a date for when LHP Chris Sale (left elbow inflammation) will resume throwing. Sale, rehabbing in Florida, spent time with teammates before the game. … INF Michael Chavis (sprained left shoulder) will mostly likely be shutdown for the season.
Rays: CF Avisaíl García left after six innings due to illness. … INF Brandon Lowe, out since July 3 with a bruised right shin and later a strained left quadriceps, will play in an instructional league game Saturday.
The Red Sox will have a bullpen day Saturday night against Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow (6-1), who will be making his third start since returning from a right forearm strain.
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