Red Sox

Sox drop series finale to Rays, 4-1; lead trimmed to 3 1/2 games

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Sox drop series finale to Rays, 4-1; lead trimmed to 3 1/2 games

BOSTON -- Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash went to check his phone for Hurricane Irma news as soon as he reached his office after the final out.

Wilson Ramos stood at his locker and wanted to show reporters a video on his iPhone of heavy winds swaying palm trees that a friend watching his house had sent.

The Rays had a lot on their minds as they beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

"I think in the training room the whole day we just had the weather on, the radar," pitcher Alex Cobb said. "You're not thinking about it while you're playing, obviously, but I think every other minute of the day we've been trying to be forecasters in seeing what best possibilities we could have going into this storm for our area and for our friends and families."

"It definitely consumes a lot of your time and your emotion," he said. "I think we've done as good of a job as we could have done."

Cobb (11-9) allowed one run and four hits - all singles - and three walks in five innings. Ramos and Lucas Duda each hit a solo homer for the Rays.

"It's hard to not think about the situation," Ramos said. "We have houses over there - all our families are from Florida, too."

Alex Colome pitched a perfect ninth to complete a five-hitter and earn his major-league leading 43rd save in 48 chances.

Reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello was dealt his major league-leading 17th loss, the victim of poor run support once again.

Porcello (9-17) took a 1-0 lead into the fifth, when Ramos and Evan Longoria hit RBI singles. Boston has scored two runs or fewer 18 times in 30 starts while Porcello was in the game. He gave up five hits in five innings.

"In the fifth inning, obviously, there were some things I'd like to correct, but overall it wasn't bad," Porcello said.

Ramos homered in the sixth off Brandon Workman, a drive that just cleared the center field wall, and Duda went deep in the seventh against Robby Scott.

Tampa Bay stopped Boston's four-game winning streak, and the Red Sox lead over the second-place Yankees in the AL East was cut to 3 1/2 games.

Christian Vazquez hit a run-scoring single in the first for Boston.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rays: OF Steven Souza Jr. missed his second straight game with a bruised left knee that forced him out Friday after he ran into a wall along the right-field line. ... Ramos, Tampa Bay's catcher, took a foul tip off the top of his left foot.

Red Sox: INF Eduardo Nunez was sidelined with a bruised right knee sustained on a headfirst slide on Saturday. Farrell said Nunez was sore but expected back Tuesday. ... Farrell said the LHP Dave Price (left elbow inflammation) felt fine after his two-inning simulated game Saturday is likely to pitch three innings in a simulated game on Wednesday. ... Hanley Ramirez got the day off.

CLOSE ONE

Vazquez was called out by plate umpire Brian O'Nora when he tagged up and tried to score on Sam Travis' second-inning fly to right fielder Mallex Smith. The call stood on a video review, though on replays it appeared one of Vazquez's legs touched the plate before Ramos' tag.

HELPING OUT

Players of the Boston Bruins, Red Sox, Rays and Florida Panthers were at gates collecting donations for support of relief efforts that may be needed because of Irma. The Panthers are training in the area with their AHL affiliate.

UP NEXT

Rays: RHP Jake Odorizzi (8-7, 4.58 ERA) is slated to face Yankees LHP CC Sabathia (11-5, 3.91) on Monday when the teams open a three-game series at New York's Citi Field. The series was moved from Florida to the Mets' ballpark because of Irma.

Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-5, 4.33) is set to face LHP Sean Manaea (10-9, 4.33) when Boston opens a three-game series Tuesday against visiting Oakland. Rodriguez is 0-4 in his last 11 starts.

ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

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ALCS: Judge, Sabathia help Yankees beat Astros, 8-1

NEW YORK - Aaron Judge hit a three-run homer and a made pair of sparkling catches, leading CC Sabathia and the Yankees over the Houston Astros 8-1 Monday night and cutting New York's deficit to 2-1 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Sabathia allowed three hits over six scoreless innings for his first postseason win in five years. Todd Frazier hit a go-ahead, three-run homer for the Yankees, who stopped a seven-game ALCS losing streak dating to Sabathia's victory over Texas in 2010.

Sonny Gray starts Game 4 Wednesday on 11 days' rest, likely against Brad Peacock or Lance McCullers Jr.

Back in the Bronx after a pair of 2-1 losses in Houston, the Yankees led 8-0 after four innings. Houston scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth before postseason star Jose Altuve grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded.

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Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

Brad Ausmus interviews with Red Sox, but Alex Cora appears frontrunner

BOSTON — Brad Ausmus was the second person to interview to replace John Farrell as Red Sox manager, baseball sources confirmed Monday afternoon. The Sox are expected to interview Ron Gardenhire, the Diamondbacks' bench coach, as well.

But the net might not be cast too wide. More and more, it sounds like the Sox already know whom they want.

Astros bench coach Alex Cora, who met with Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski in New York on Sunday, appears the frontrunner to take the reins next year. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal has reported that to be the case multiple times, and for some inside the Sox organization, that's a growing feeling as well.

MORE:

The criteria the Sox value most isn't hard to guess: a strong connection with players, an ability to incorporate data and analytics; and someone who can handle the market.

"I knew Alex for a couple of years before getting a chance to work with him and had tried to recruit him to work a few years ago and he had other options," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said Monday in New York, before Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Yankees. "To watch him develop relationships with the players, he's all about baseball. He's all about the competition and small advantages within the game, one of the brightest baseball intellects that I've been around. And to see him pass some of that on and transition from player to TV personality to coach, he's had a ton of impact.

"He challenges people. He challenges me. He's someone who's all about winning. And I think to watch our players respond to him, he's got a lot of respect in that clubhouse because of the work he puts in and the attention to detail that he brings. That's why he's the hottest managerial candidate on the planet and deservedly so."

Cora joined the Astros before this season.

Ausmus, whom Dombrowski hired in Detroit ahead of the 2014 season, grew up in Connecticut and went to Dartmouth. The 48-year-old spent 18 seasons as a big-league catcher, the last in 2010. He was working for the Padres before Dombrowski gave him his first shot at managing the Tigers. 

Ausmus went 314-332 in four years managing the Tigers, a more veteran team than might have been ideal for him as a first-time manager.

Ausmus pulled out of the running to interview with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag while Cora was expected to interview with the Mets on Monday or Tuesday, per the New York Post's Mike Puma.

What could change from here? One baseball source indicated a second interview with Cora was expected. Asked if he plans a second round of interviews generally, Dombrowski did not say.

"We have started the interview process," Dombrowski wrote via email. "I do not have any specific time frames at this point. Will wait and evaluate as we go through the process."

The Boston Herald's Chad Jennings first reported Ausmus' interview.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE