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What you need to know for 01/24/2017

Red Sox retain lead in AL East

Red Sox retain lead in AL East

Jon Lester matched his season high with eight strikeouts, and overcame homers by Wil Myers and Evan

Jon Lester matched his season high with eight strikeouts, and overcame homers by Wil Myers and Evan Longoria as the Boston Red Sox remained in first place with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Tuesday night.

The Red Sox moved 1 1⁄2 games ahead of the Rays in the AL East, and stayed atop the division for the 58th consecutive day.

The loss ended the Rays’ six-game winning streak and was just their third in 21 games, a surge that began when they were in fourth place, trailing the Red Sox by seven games.

Boston is 3-4 since its four-game winning streak.

Lester (9-6) gave up two runs and seven hits with no walks in 61⁄3 innings. He is 3-6 with a 5.97 ERA since starting the season 6-0 with a 2.72 ERA. Four Red Sox pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts.

Roberto Hernandez (5-11) allowed three runs in five innings and tied R.A. Dickey for the second-most losses in the AL. But it was the 28th time in Tampa Bay’s last 31 games that its starter gave up three runs or fewer.

Boston led, 3-2, then scored three runs in the eighth on an RBI single by Stephen Drew and a two-run single by Jose Iglesias.

Myers’ fifth homer of the season on the first pitch of the second inning gave the Rays a 1-0 lead. The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half on a run-scoring single by Mike Carp.

They went ahead, 2-1, in the third on a double steal. Shane Victorino led off with a double and went to third on a flyout by Daniel Nava. Dustin Pedroia was hit by a pitch, then stole second as catcher Jose Molina threw down and Victorino scored.

The Red Sox had left runners at third base in three straight innings before Pedroia gave them a 3-1 lead with a sacrifice fly in the fifth.

The Rays got another leadoff homer off Lester in the sixth when Longoria hit his 21st on the second pitch, cutting the lead to 3-2.

Pedroia is close to a contract that could keep him with the Red Sox for his entire big league career.

A person with knowledge of the talks said that Pedroia is in the process of agreeing to a deal adding $100 million over seven seasons through 2021.

The new deal was first reported by WEEI.

Pedroia is making $10 million this year, and is guaranteed the same amount in 2014 as part of a $40.5 million, six-year contract that started in 2009. That deal includes an $11 million club option for 2015 with a $500,000 buyout.

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