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  • Associated Press Tampa Bay Rays' Guillermo Heredia reacts while scoring on Willy Adames' double during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Boston Red Sox, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Friday, September 20, 2019 11:35 pm

Defending champ Red Sox eliminated, lose to Rays 5-4

MARK DIDTLER | Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The World Series champion Boston Red Sox were mathematically eliminated in the late innings, then lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 5-4 Friday night when Willy Adames had an RBI single in the 11th.

A year after going 108-54 to win their third straight AL East title, the Red Sox (80-73) were knocked out during the ninth inning when Cleveland beat Philadelphia, around the time Mitch Moreland hit his second two-run homer.

There has not been a repeat World Series champion since the 1998-2000 New York Yankees. Ten of the last 18 champions failed to reach the playoffs in the year after their title.

Tampa Bay (91-63) remained tied with Cleveland for the second AL wild card, trailing Oakland. While the Red Sox have the highest payroll in the major leagues at $228 million, the Rays have the lowest at $66 million.

Mike Brosseau and Daniel Robertson drew two-out walks in the 11th from Trevor Kelley (0-3), and Adames lined a single to left that scored pinch-runner Johnny Davis from second base.

Diego Castillo (4-8) struck out Moreland with a runner on first to end the top of the 11th.

Moreland put the Red Sox ahead 2-0 with his seventh-inning homer off Charlie Morton on an 0-2 pitch, then tied the score against Emilio Pagan with an opposite-field drive to left.

Rick Porcello gave up three hits over six scoreless innings. After a pair of walks by Darwinzon Hernandez in the seventh, pinch-hitter Nate Lowe grounded into a run-scoring forceout, Marcus Walden hit an RBI double and Josh Taylor threw a run-scoring wild pitch.

Ji-Man Choi made it 4-2 on an eighth-inning RBI double off Andrew Cashner.

Morton, bidding for a career-high 16th win, allowed two runs and five hits over 6 1/3 innings.

Mookie Betts returned to the Boston lineup as the designated hitter after missing a week with left foot inflammation and went 0 for 5. Red Sox left fielder Andrew Benintendi departed in the third due to a bruised left thumb.

Tampa Bay's Austin Meadows was hitless in four at-bats, ending a 16-game hitting streak.

REMEMBERING ROBERTO

The Rays took part in Roberto Clemente Day. The team wore T-shirts honoring Clemente during batting practice and Clemente's son, Luis, threw the ceremonial first pitch.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: OF J.D. Martinez (left groin tightness) could start Saturday night. ... Manager Alex Cora doesn't have a date for when LHP Chris Sale (left elbow inflammation) will resume throwing. Sale, rehabbing in Florida, spent time with teammates before the game. ... INF Michael Chavis (sprained left shoulder) will mostly likely be shutdown for the season.

Rays: CF Avisaíl García left after six innings due to illness. ... INF Brandon Lowe, out since July 3 with a bruised right shin and later a strained left quadriceps, will play in an instructional league game Saturday.

UP NEXT

The Red Sox will have a bullpen day Saturday night against Rays RHP Tyler Glasnow (6-1), who will be making his third start since returning from a right forearm strain.

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