Thursday August 11, 2011 | 07:19 AM

The Red Sox lost Wednesday night, and the Yankees won. Yet, the Red Sox still took a step closer to the playoffs.

Because New York beat the Angels, Boston is nearer to at least clinching a wild card berth.

The standings: 

AL East
Boston 72-44
New York 70-45 (1.5 back)
Tampa Bay 62-54 (10)

Wild Card
New York 70-45
Angels 64-53 (7 back)

If the Red Sox finish the season by winning only half of their remaining 46 games, the Angels would have to go 33-12 to catch Boston.

Tampa Bay is hanging in there. The Rays have won three straight against Kansas City - including a 8-7 thriller Wednesday, courtesy of a five-run 9th inning - and have another against the Royals today.

But then the Rays go on a road trip - 3 at New York (David Price vs. C.C. Sabathia on Friday), and 3 at Boston.

New York, with the eternal one, Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.33), has a day game today against the Angels.

Boston is off, before three games in Seattle (Beckett vs. Felix Hernandez on Saturday).

In Red Sox-related news, it looks like Fenway Park will against be hosting hockey this winter, with Hockey East planning two games in January. Rachel Lenzi has the story.

In the minors, Ryan Lavarnway has cooled somewhat (.194 in his last 10 games), but his numbers are still solid. After going 1-for-4 Wednesday with a sacrifice fly, Lavarnway is batting .332 with 46 RBI in 49 games ... Jose Iglesias (.224) was 0-for-4 on Wednesday.

Portland starter Brock Huntzinger is 5-10 with a 6.34 after Wednesday's loss (5 2/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K). But Huntzinger is still impressive at times, and has 96 K's in 99 1/3 IP. A bullpen future?

The Sea Dogs and Chris Balcom-Miller go at noon today at Hadlock.

Outfielder Bryce Brentz, in his first full pro season, was batting .359 in 40 games with Greenville. Since his promotion to Salem, he's batting .259 in 50 games. But he still has the power, hitting his 15th home run for Salem on Wednesday (giving him a total of 26 for the year).


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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