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NYY@BOS: Doubront fans five, holds Yanks to two runs

The Red Sox remain in first place.

After allowing the Rays to sneak within a half-game of the American League East lead on Monday, the Red Sox struck back on Tuesday to keep a lead that was as large as 5 1/2 games earlier this month.

Many expect the division to remain in this sort of seesaw battle for the remainder of the season, but the final two games of this series present an opportunity for each team to do damage to the other.

"Any time we can add losses to their column and take our wins, it's killing those two birds with one stone," Rays manager Joe Maddon said after Monday's win.

Felix Doubront, winner of three consecutive games, will get the start on Wednesday for Boston. Doubront has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since May 8.

"I feel good. I've been throwing good," Doubront said. "I don't pay attention to my ERA because I know I've been doing a good job."

His best outing of the season came in his previous start against the Rays, on June 18, when he scattered three hits over eight innings.

Tampa Bay hits the top of its rotation on Wednesday with defending AL Cy Young Award winner David Price.

In his first three starts since returning from the disabled list (strained left triceps), Price was as pitch-efficient as he has been throughout his six-year career.

On Friday in Toronto, Price gave up seven hits, three of them home runs, but was fortunate enough to escape with a win thanks to his team's offense.

Price feels that his multiweek stay on the DL may have been a blessing in disguise.

"I probably have half the innings I would have had, because I missed eight starts," Price said. "That's probably 40 of 50 innings I've missed out on. I have to think I feel a little fresher."

Rays: Loney swings his way into record books
First baseman James Loney put barrel to bat for his 1,000th career hit on Tuesday, singling to right field in the top of the second.

With the hit, Loney is the fifth player in team history to reach the mark as a member of the Rays, following Carlos Pena, Carl Crawford, Fred McGriff and Wade Boggs.

Maddon admires Loney's laid-back approach as a hitter.

"He's so good with two strikes, and I think that calm attitude that he has helps him there and at the plate," Maddon said. "That's why he drives in runs with two outs and two strikes because he's never in a hurry. He's always calm."

Red Sox: Pedroia to stay in Boston until 2021
Chatter about second baseman Dustin Pedroia's contract situation has swirled around Major League Baseball's rumor mill in recent weeks.

The talk was put to rest on Tuesday, when it was announced that Pedroia and the Red Sox have agreed on a seven-year, $100 million contract extension.

Pedroia is grateful to Boston for taking a chance on a diminutive infielder out of Arizona State.

"That's why I want to make sure I work as hard as I can to make sure that they made the right choice in drafting me and me being here my whole career," Pedroia said.

Pedroia was the AL Rookie of the Year in 2007, when he helped spur Boston's run to the World Series title. He earned his first AL MVP Award a year later and has been named to four All-Star teams.

He went 0-for-2 with a sacrifice fly on Tuesday.

Worth noting
• Price enjoys the ballparks in his division. Over 32 career starts in AL East stadiums, he is 18-3 with a 3.33 ERA.

• Doubront is 2-1 with a 3.05 ERA in six career starts against Tampa Bay. Comments