The Rays finally stepped off the escalator to the bottom yesterday. And that's bad news for the Red Sox.

Boston suffered a crushing defeat at Yankee Stadium, while Tampa Bay pulled it together for a 6-2 win over Toronto.

That means the Sox' lead in the wild card is a scant 1.5 games -- all of which is on the line today as Boston plays a doubleheader in the Bronx, and Tampa hosts the Blue Jays.

The results also keep Boston's magic number at four. If the total of Sox wins and Rays losses over the remainder of the year reaches four, Boston clinches the wild card. So the Sox still control their own fate -- a 4-1 finish to the regular season would wrap up the playoff berth. If they go 3-2 or worse, they need to Rays to cooperate.

 
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