Monday June 28, 2010 | 06:36 AM

The Boston Red Sox (46-31) finally have second place in the AL East to themselves, a game ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays (44-31). The Rays are in a slump and just lost 2-of-3 to Arizona, at home. The series culminated in a heated exchange between Evan Longoria and B.J. Upton in the dugout, an argument begun by Upton's jogging after a ball in center field.

The Rays, who come to Boston for two games, starting Tuesday, are trying to downplay it all, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times.

Boston might have moved closer than two games behind the New York Yankees (47-28), who trailed the Dodgers 6-2 in the ninth. But a four-run ninth and Robinson Cano's two-run homer in the 10th gave New York an 8-6 win.

The Red Sox, meanwhile, are hoping that Victor Martinez's broken left thumb is an injury he can play with. The injury is said to be on the tip of his thumb, so catching is still a possibility (easy for me to say). But how does it affect him gripping the bat.

Boston used to have a glut of catchers. It had to let George Kottaras go, and still had four receivers on the 40-man roster. But both Dusty brown (sprained right thumb) and Mark Wagner (broken hand bone) are on the DL in Pawtucket.

Portland's Luis Exposito does not appear ready to jump in, although he is now batting .260 after two hits Sunday. Boston probably did not play to add Exposito to the 40-man roster until after the season.

Pawtucket got a home run from Josh Reddick (.215) and fine pitching from starter Michael Bowden (6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K) and reliever Tommy Hottovy (2 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 K). Hottovy has a 0.00 ERA in three appearances.

The Sea Dogs, who return to Hadlock Field tonight, won their second straight game Sunday in New Britain. Chih-Hsien Chiang (.220) hit his fifth home run. Alex Wilson started (5 2/3 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 3 K).

Portland first baseman Anthony Rizzo did not get a hit, but he is still a prospect on the rise. See the feature on him in today's Press Herald.

Salem got two hits apiece from Oscar Tejeda (.336) and Ryan Lavarnway (.305).


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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