- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BALTIMORE (AP) - It’s already October for the Tampa Bay Rays. They’re in playoff mode in a late push to overtake the sagging Red Sox for the AL wild-card spot.

After losing four of five, Tampa Bay trailed Boston by nine games on Sept. 2. The Rays have since gone 8-1 and entered play Tuesday within three games of a Red Sox club staggering toward the finish.

The key was a three-game weekend sweep of the Red Sox, capped by a 9-1 rout Sunday. Rays designated hitter Johnny Damon says the sweep “definitely gets you going in the right direction.”

Tampa Bay kept the momentum going Monday night, beating last-place Baltimore 5-2. The atmosphere at near-empty Camden Yards was anything but electric, but the Rays treated the game as if it were the World Series.

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