The Red Sox and Rays are seemingly in a race for the bottom after combining to lose three games yesterday. That extended the punchless Sox' wild-card lead to 2.5 games over Tampa Bay ... and the Angels, who've won two straight to storm into the race.

Boston's magic number over both teams is five.

The magic number is a simple equation: If the total number of Sox wins and the chasing team's losses over the rest of the season hits five, Boston clinches. So, for instance, if the Sox win five of their remaining six games, they clinch, regardless of how the Rays and Angels do. If Boston wins four and Tampa and Los Angeles each lose one, the Sox clinch -- the total hits five.

But if Boston were to lose out and, for instance, the Rays go 4-3 over their last seven, the wild card would go to Tampa. The total then would be three -- zero wins for Boston, three losses for Tampa.

 
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