The Red Sox didn't play. The Rays finally failed to beat themselves. And Boston didn't gain any ground in the wild-card race.

Tampa Bay cut its playoff deficit to two games last night, blowing out the Yankees. The idle Sox had led by 2.5 games going into the night's action.

The Angels, who had also trailed by 2.5 games going into last night, Sox'd it up in Toronto, blowing a late lead and falling three games back.

With six games left in the regular season, Boston still carries a magic number of five over the Rays. That means the total number of Boston wins and Rays losses over the remaining games must equal five or more for the Sox to clinch. Boston winning out, for instance, would put that number at at least six -- good enough to clinch. But the Sox losing out (zero for the magic number) and the Rays going 3-3 would give the Tampa Bay the crown.


Boston's magic number over the Angels is a more manageable four.

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