Ben Zobrist(notes) #18 of the Tampa Bay Rays, who earlier hit a two-run home run, celebrates with Evan Longoria(notes) #3 of the Tampa Bay Rays after a 4-3 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park September 17, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Just when the confidence of Red Sox Nation was back at a comfortable level, it went right back down after the Boston Red Sox lost 4-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday at Historic Fenway Park.

Now the lead in the AL Wild Card is back down to three games over the Rays. The Los Angeles Angels lost so they remain five games back. And with the New York Yankees winning, their lead is 4.5 games over the local nine for the division title.

Once again, it was a bad 1st inning from the starting pitcher. This time around it was Jon Lester. He has been the same Lester we’ve seen in the past in his last few starts. He was partially done in by tight strike zone but also lacked some fastball command early on.

He left a fastball out over the plate to Ben Zobrist who hit a carbon copy of Evan Longoria‘s home run on Friday night, sans the review. His own wildness cost him in the 3rd inning when his wild pitch allowed Desmond Jennings to score from third base.

In his two starts against the Red Sox this season, Jeff Niemann had allowed a grand total of five hits. They did manage four of them this time around.

Although it did take three innings to get them when former Ray, now Sox leftfielder Carl Crawford led off the bottom of the 3rd with a single. Mike Aviles brought him in with a double. After a Marco Scutaro sacrifice bunt, Jacoby Ellsbury cut the lead to 3-2 with a sacrifice fly.

Longoria added the fourth run of the day for the Rays in the 5th. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, they would only manage to get one run back.

That run came in the 7th when Ellsbury singled in Crawford off Rays rookie phenom Matt Moore. But with Scutaro on third, Moore struck out Dustin Pedroia. They wouldn’t mount a threat in the 8th and 9th putting themselves back in the predicament they had before the start of Friday’s game.

Now that the pressure of getting the 200th win is off his back, there will be the same if not more pressure for Tim Wakefield to pitch well and help his team to a win. That’s because a four-game lead in the wild card standings sounds a heck of a lot better than a two-gamer.

We’ll be back in a while with this afternoon’s lineups, batter/pitcher matchups and links from the day. But for now, enjoy the overnight links below by clicking on the read more button below if you’re on the home page.

To open the links up in a new tab or window, use Control+click

Stinging loss [Boston Globe]

Progress for Buchholz [Boston Globe]

Gonzalez preaches patience [Boston Globe]

Jenks hopes to return in spring [Boston Globe]

Rays pitching too much [Boston Herald]

Running on empty mind [Boston Herald]

Amid painful year, Jenks tries to keep healthy outlook [Boston Herald]

Moore bad news [Boston Herald]

Time not on Clay’s side [Boston Herald]

Rays top Sox, trail Wild Card by three [CSN New England]

Papelbon makes history in closer’s role [CSN New England]

Jenks looking for a bit of luck [CSN New England]

Early trouble complicates things for Lester [CSN New England]

Gonzalez declines comment on right shoulder fatigue [CSN New England]

Notes: Rays capitalize on Red Sox’ mistakes [CSN New England]

Jenks: ‘Been through the absolute wringer’ [ESPN Boston]

Rapid reaction: Rays 4, Red Sox 3 [ESPN Boston]

Sox feeling the heat [ESPN Boston]

Closing Time: Red Sox bats stifled by Tampa Bay pitching [Full Count]

With Matt Moore, the merrier for the Rays [Full Count]

Rock n’ Roll with Joe Maddon: The Rays are following his lead [Full Count]

Red Sox Showing Signs of Pressure by Taking Unneccessary Risks []

Tampa Bay Rays Have Golden Opportunity to Accomplish Weekend Goal After Downing Red Sox 4-3 []

Hottovy reflects on “incredible” year [Projo Sox Blog]

Tampa turns up the heat again [Providence Journal]

Aviles thrust into important role [Providence Journal]

Red Sox journal: Buchholz takes another step on road to recovery [Providence Journal]

Monday start for Bedard not ruled out []

For more slices of Red Sox goodness, head over to the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, CSN New EnglandESPN Boston, NESN, Providence Journal, and WEEI websites.

And if you must check out the enemy news, head over the to St. Petersburg Times and Tampa Tribune websites.

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Photo credit: Getty Images