At this point in the season, a Rays loss is as good as a Red Sox win when it comes to Boston’s playoff hopes.

It’s a good thing, then, that Tampa Bay is refusing to win, too.

Like the Sox the day before, the Rays coughed up a late lead — and a chance to gain ground in the wild-card race — in yesterday’s early game at Yankee Stadium. Tampa entered the eighth inning with a one-run lead; they left the game with a 4-2 loss and a 2.5-game deficit to the Sox.

The Yankees, who clinched a playoff berth with the victory, gave the Rays every chance to make up ground on the Sox. New?York used eight pitchers, including luminaries like Hector Noesi (the starter!), George Kontos and Raul Valdes.


They held Tampa’s suddenly quiet bats at bay just long enough for Eduardo Nunez to tie the game with a homer, and Robinson Cano to win it.

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