The Red Sox managed to put another game in the standings between themselves and the Yankees last night, as they defeated the Devil Rays 8-6 while the Yankees got pounded by the Angels 18-9. This pushes the AL East lead back up to six games.

Jeff Horrigan has the Red Sox bats and bullpen picking up Jon Lester, who scuffled his way through 5.1 innings of work last night. Gordon Edes has the Rays once again proving to be accommodating to the Red Sox and their quest to win the AL East. Steven Krasner has Jonathan Papelbon putting the wraps on Tampa with his 30th save. Jeff Goldberg has more on Papelbon becoming the fourth pitching in major league history to record 30 saves in his first two seasons. Bill Ballou has the Red Sox playing the ace they held up their sleeve for the first half of the season…a second half full of Devil Rays games.

Rob Bradford looks at Jonathan Papelbon becoming the first Red Sox pitcher to record back-to-back seasons of 30 saves or more. He notes that a lot has changed for the closer since last season. Nick Cafardo is delighted over the name of Papelbon’s new pitch, which the closer has named the “slutter.” Alex Speier looks at the power outage that has impacted not just the Red Sox, but many teams around baseball.

Sarah Green urges the Red Sox to re-sign Mike Lowell. Bradford also has Curt Schilling mulling his possible free agent future this fall, which could include the Devil Rays. Cafardo has a longer piece on Matt Clement, who feels his great about his shoulder, and is excited at the prospect of being able to pitch again. Bradford has a short bit on the Red Sox bullpen calling themselves The Pirates of the Caribbean.

Horrigans notebook has Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan saying that Joel Pineiro struggled with the Red Sox because he was tipping his pitches, a notion that Sox pitching coach John Farrell disagrees with. Edes’s notebook more on Schilling saying that he might like to pitch for the Devil Rays next season. Krasner’s notebook has Lester getting the victory, but not feeling like a winner. Goldberg’s notebook looks at the fantasy football league that the Red Sox players participate in, which they say strengthens the team bonds. Ballou’s notebook has more on Papelbon’s achievement in joining the 30-30 club.

Laurence Maroney was the center of attention yesterday, as the Patriots second-year running back shed his red jersey, meaning he was ready to handle contract. Albert Breer has Maroney ready to test out his offseason work with some reps this Friday night against the Panthers. Steve Buckley loves that Maroney has the gift of gab, because he’s going to be filling up the airwaves (and writer’s notebooks) for years to come. Never mind if he can play or not, that’s not even mentioned. Dan Shaughnessy has a better article on Maroney, as he looks at the running back’s style on the field, and how he is getting ready to see live action this week. Robert Lee has Maroney just wanting to get on the field and play football. David Heuschkel has Maroney looking forward to the increased workload this season. Rich Garven notes that Maroney has embraced the educational part of the game. Dan Pires has Maroney’s return to contact one of many encouraging signs around the Patriots. Mark Farinella has Maroney feeling much more prepared for his second NFL season. Jeff Howe also looks at Maroney getting ready to shoulder the running load for the Patriots.

Mike Reiss examines the growth of safety James Sanders, who has made a place for himself on the team and has earned the praise of coach Bill Belichick. Buckley notes that Patriots players don’t have much to say about Michael Vick, and are probably under mandate from Bill Belichick not to talk about the situation.

Breer’s notebook has Chad Jackson feeling good, and appearing to be ahead of schedule in his recovery from knee surgery. The Globe notebook has Vince Wilfork working on his pass rush, and has a correction on Ty Warren’s new deal, which apparently runs through 2013, not 2011 as previously thought. The Projo notebook claims that “many Patriots fans started to lose confidence in Stephen Gostkowski” after a rough week of practice last week and a missed kick and poor kickoff in the Titans game. Really? I think that’s overstating things just a tad. Garven’s notebook has Junior Seau feeling lucky to still be able to play football again. Farinella’s notebook has the Patriots players remaining silent on the Michael Vick plea.

David Scott looks at an odd Dennis and Callahan ad in the Herald yesterday. Jessica Heslam offers a brief update on the lockout, now in its second week.