Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 9/17/12

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Eliminated from postseason contention on Sunday and assured their first losing season since 1997, the Boston Red Sox pulled the Tampa Bay Rays closer to their own long, frustrating offseason on Monday at Tropicana Field.

The Red Sox did not get a hit through the first 5 2/3 innings, but they rallied in the sixth and seventh innings to down the reeling Rays, 5-2.

Coming off a 1-5 road trip that dropped them five games off the New York Yankees' pace in the American League East and four behind Oakland and Baltimore in the wild card, the Rays were again feeble offensively, and strong pitching could only save them for a while.

Boston was already leading 2-1 when it got a two-run double by pinch hitter Mauro Gomez and a run-scoring single by Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh to send the Rays to their eighth loss in their last 12 games. Boston, which was held hitless through 5 2/3 innings by Rays starter Alex Cobb, loaded the bases with no out in the seventh on a hit (James Loney, 2-for-4), walk (Jarrod Saltalamacchia) and an error to begin a carousel of run-scoring and pitching changes.

Cobb took the loss after allowing three earned runs on two hits and three walks in six innings.

The Rays took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning when Luke Scott scored on Ryan Roberts squeeze bunt. Scott had led off with a single and chased to third on a base hit by Carlos Pena, whose .193 batting average was worst in the majors among regulars. With one out, Roberts punched a pitch far enough away from home plate that first baseman Loney's throw was too late to get Scott and squirted away from catcher Ryan Lavarnway.

Cobb had a no-hitter through five innings, allowing just a second-inning walk to Saltalamacchia. That was no small feat for Cobb, who had surrendered a .319 batting average and 36 of 55 runs allowed this season in the first three innings.

Boston took away both the shutout and no-hitter in the top of the sixth, however, when Ellsbury thumped a 3-1 pitched into the right-field bleachers for a 2-1 lead. The home run was Ellsbury's fourth of the season and scored Jose Iglesias, who had been hit by a pitch and moved to third on a fielder's choice and wild pitch. Ellsbury finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs.

Red Sox starter Aaron Cook earned the win after allowing one earned run on five hits in six innings.

NOTES: Rays third baseman Evan Longoria felt "heavy-legged" after a recently completed road trip and did not start. ... Infielder Sean Rodriguez (fractured hand) could taking batting practice on Tuesday and start in the near future, said manager Joe Maddon. ... Outfielder Sam Fuld is not expected to return as quickly, but an MRI revealed just a moderate strain on his left hamstring. ... Maddon said he expects Boston to play "fangs-out" after its September implosion last season allowed the Rays to pilfer a playoff berth on the final day of the season. ... Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia entered the game having hit safely in 33 of 37 games since Aug. 5. ... Saltalamacchia needs two home runs to tie Carlton Fisk's single-season club mark for catchers (26) set in 1973 and 1977. ... Tuesday probable starters: Felix Doubront (10-9, 5.11 ERA) vs. Jeremy Hellickson (8-10, 3.22).

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