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Rays pounce on Dice-K to blitz Red Sox

BOSTON (Reuters) - The Tampa Bay Rays mauled Japanese starter Daisuke Matsuzaka in a 14-5 rout of the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday to move within a game and a half of the leading New York Yankees in the American League East.

The Rays scored four runs in the fourth and six in the fifth, chasing Matsuzaka after just 4 2/3 innings, having plundered eight runs from the right-hander.

Ben Zobrist, Jason Bartlett and Evan Longoria each finished with one home run and three RBIs for the Rays, who also got back-to-back homer from Dan Johnson and B.J. Upton in the sixth.

"I think we're all searching for that rhythm offensively coming down the stretch," Longoria told reporters.

"We need to have good at-bats and consistently push runs across, and when we get runners in scoring position, be able to score those guys. Tonight was a good start, and hopefully we can continue that."

Starter David Price tossed six innings to register his 17th victory of the season as Tampa Bay (84-54) snapped a run of three losses.

Price, a young left-hander, allowed two runs and four walks but earned his first win since August 9.

"That was a good win for us," said Price, who has put himself in contention for the AL Cy Young Award. "I rode (a stationary bicycle to stay loose during our at-bats). You've got to keep yourself loose so you don't get tight."

The loss saw the Red Sox (77-62) fall 7 games behind the Rays in the AL Wild Card Race.

Boston took a 2-0 lead in the first where Victor Martinez hit a two RBI double before Tampa Bay answered with an onslaught of 14 unanswered runs.

(Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)

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