Friday September 06, 2013 | 05:30 AM

Stop me if you've heard this before. The Red Sox needed a run to tie the Yankees, but are facing Mariano Rivera.

A batter reached base. Pinch-runner entered and stole second base. Next batter delivered clutch RBI hit. Red Sox go on to win in extra innings.

2004: Kevin Millar walked. Dave Roberts pinch-ran. Bill Mueller singled him in.

2013: Mike Napoli singled. Quintin Berry pinch-ran. Shane Victorino singled him in.

If Red Sox fans did not believe this team is one of destiny, then Thursday's 9-8 win might make them believers.

On the west coach, David Price allowed six runs as the Angels beat the Rays 6-2. That drops Boston's magic number two games, down to 16.

Red Sox 85-57
Rays 77-62 (6.5 games back)
Yankees 75-65 (9)
Orioles 74-65 (9.5)

Boston’s magic number: 16

Boston (20): at Yankees (3), at Rays (3), Yankees (3), Orioles (3), Blue Jays (3), at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).

Rays (23): at Mariners (3), Red Sox (3), at Twins (3), Rangers (4), Orioles (4), at Yankees (3), at Blue Jays (3).

Thursday's Red Sox win was not without its flaws, namely blowing a five-run lead. Especially concerning was Junichi Tazawa giving up three big hits in the seventh. As we wrote earlier, Brandon Workman may be getting called upon more often in crucial situations.

Tonight, Felix Doubront (10-6, 3.89) duels with Andy Pettitte (10-9, 4.01) for the third straight month. Doubront won the July encounter, allowing one earned run in 6 1/3 innings. Pettitte won in August, giving up three runs (none earned) in 6 2/3 innings, while Doubront lasted only four innings (six earned runs).

Clay Buchholz did not get out of the fourth inning in his rehab appearance with Pawtucket on Thursday He looked sharp for three innings (allowing two hits), but then gave up a walk and two RBI hits in the fourth. His line: 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K.

If deemed ready, the Red Sox could put Buchholz in the rotation for the key Rays series next week.

Pawtucket's bullpen followed Buchholz with shutout relief as the PawSox beat Rochester 7-2, evening its playoff series at 1-1 ... Chris Martin (2 IP, 3 K) got the win ... Both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Heiker Meneses recorded two hits and two runs ... Christian Vazquez was 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Sea Dogs outfielder Juan Carlos Linares was named September's Eastern League Player of the Month after batting .368 with six home runs ... Seems like Boston needs to push Linares, 29, in Triple-A next year.

In the Eastern League playoffs, Trenton took a 2-0 series lead over Binghamton with a 2-1 victory. Erie beat Harrisburg 2-1. That series is tied 1-1.

Salem won its first-round of the playoffs, beating Myrtle Beach 4-3 in 10 innings, for a two-game sweep ... In the 10th, Mookie Betts doubled, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on Matthew Gedman's sacrifice fly.


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.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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