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Rays Suffocate Lifeless Red Sox in 14-5 Rout

For those of you still with us, I painstakingly offer you a recap of last night's contest -- and I use the term contest in the very loosest of ways.

Daisuke Matsuzaka eliminated any playoff hopes for the Red Sox that may have lingered following a dominant win in game one of this series against the wild card leading Rays. Before Tuesday night's blowout, Boston still had a chance to cut the Rays' lead to 4 1/2 games if they could finish off the three-game sweep. Now, well, how 'bout those Patriots?

Things didn't appear so bleak to begin the game as the Red Sox grinded out a pair of first-inning runs off Rays' starter David Price to claim an early 2-0 advantage.

Unfortunately, Major League Baseball games do not last just one inning, and for the final eight that followed the first, the Red Sox didn't fair quite as well.

The contrast in each team's starting pitching was the deciding factor in this one.

Tampa's Price finished off six innings of two-hit baseball, allowing just one earned run and solidifying his strong case for the American League's Cy Young Award as he improved to 17-6 with the win.

Daisuke on the other hand was awful enough to evoke a post-game apology through interpreter Masa Hoshino: "I knew very well that this was a critical game as far as our chances of advancing to the playoffs, so to allow what happened to happen so early in the game, I can really only apologize to my teammates and my fans."

4 2/3 innings, eight earned runs on eight hits and four free passes?

Well, at least he's sorry.

Besides, the rest of the Red Sox staff didn't exactly come in the game and clean up after Matsuzaka's mess.  Dustin Richardson entered upon Daisuke's exit initially, somehow surrendering three earned runs and making an error without recording a single out. Then came Robert Manuel who was equally unimpressive. While Manuel did manage to get through 1 1/3 innings -- or 1 1/3 more than Richardson before him -- he still served up almost as many home runs [3] as outs he recorded [4].

By the time the four-inning barrage of fourteen unanswered runs was finally haulted by Michael Bowden's silent seventh inning of relief, the damage had been done -- even Rays fans were bored with the game at this point.

Even a three-run eighth inning from the Boston bats wasn't nearly enough to make the final of this one at all respectable.

Bright spots? Umm. Well, one of our guys, Victor Martinez, had a multi-hit game (2-2, 2 RBI)! Oh, and Darnell McDonald recorded his ninth home run and stolen base of the season! And hey, most importantly, nobody got hurt!

Really, that's about all that needs to be spoken about this game.

14-5. 77-62. 7 1/2 games back in the wild card.

The fat lady is now taking requests; submit yours via the comments section. But please, I'll thank you to refrain from requesting any Neil Diamond, as tempting as it may be.