Final, Rays 6-5: With Matt Garza struggling, the Red Sox had a fine opportunity to sneak away with a win at the Trop tonight, but they couldn't stave off the resilient Rays and fall to third place in the AL East.
Rays closer Rafael Soriano, who has allowed just two runs in his last 22 appearances, retires the first two batters he faces on six pitches. He allows a broken-bat single to David Ortiz — his first hit of the night — but Kevin Youkilis flies out to center to end this one.
End 8th, Rays 6-5: For the first time since the fourth, Red Sox pitching gets a quick 1-2-3 inning.
Daniel Bard hasn't allowed a run in his last eight outings, spanning seven full innings. He boasts a .133 average in that span, and in this frame, he retires the top of the Tampa order and tallies two K's.
Middle 8th, Rays 6-5: The pitching parade continues for Tampa Bay, and this time, Joaquin Benoit is called upon.
Benoit boasts a 0.75 ERA in 24 innings with a .177 opponents' batting average. The 32-year-old, who missed last season due to injury, was called up from Triple-A Durham on April 29 and has been lights out ever since.
Daniel Nava pinch-hits for Kevin Cash, but there's no rookie magic for him tonight, as he fans to end the frame.
End 7th, Rays 6-5: You could feel the momentum shift toward the Rays some time around the fifth inning, and now, the shift has completed.
Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez promptly lead off with two consecutive singles, and though Carlos Pena sends a grounder to Bill Hall, no one's covering second. As a result, there's no double play, and the runners advance.
A Jason Bartlett fly ball to right is good enough to bring home Upton, giving the Rays the lead.
Middle 7th, 5-5: The Red Sox are 5-4 when tied after six innings, and that mark falls to 5-7 when tied after seven. They fall to 4-6 when tied after eight, so the sooner they can score a run, the better.
The Rays bring on yet another new pitcher, Grant Balfour. With one out, he faces Eric Patterson, who continues to rake, doubling to right.
This is the first time Patterson has had three extra-base hits in the same game.
With first base open, David Ortiz is intentionally walked, and then Kevin Youkilis walks, unintentionally, to load the bases.
Then, the Rays' bullpen goes into shut-down mode.
Adrian Beltre strikes out, chasing one up and out of the strike zone, and that's it for Balfour — even though J.D. Drew is 0-for-6 against him, while he's 3-for-5 against southpaw Randy Choate, who comes on to face the lefty.
It appears to be the right move, as Drew fans and the Rays escape the jam.
End 6th, 5-5: For the first time tonight, Carl Crawford is retired, and this brings a string of good fortune to Boston.
Dustin Richardson (six games, 0-0, 3.00 ERA) is on to replace Daisuke Matsuzaka, and Ben Zobrist drops the bunt right in front of the plate. Kevin Youkilis rushes in, flips it to Cash and Cash tags Jason Bartlett as he slides in for the first out.
Then, Carl Crawford flies out to right — and good thing Bartlett tried to score on the sacrifice, or else that would've been the go-ahead run for Tampa.
Ramon Ramirez comes on to face Evan Longoria. Longoria, who was 0-for-6 with two K's against Ramirez, walks to reload the bases, but Willy Aybar grounds out to Kevin Youkilis to end the epic inning.
None out, 6th Inning, Red Sox 5-3: After Sean Rodriguez leads off the inning with a double, you know Dice-K's time on the mound is limited.
Rodriguez came into the game with one hit in three at-bats against the hurler, and after striking out twice, he finally is able to get something going.
Carlos Pena walks, so with two on and none out, Jason Bartlett bunts — and Dice-K immediately looks to third to get the lead runner, but no one's at third because Adrian Beltre is charging as well.
With the bases loaded, No. 9 hitter John Jaso singles up the middle right past Dice-K and Bill Hall, tying the game at five. And as expected, that's the end of the evening for Dice.
Middle 6th, Red Sox 5-3: Andy Sonnanstine's night is over after he allowed one run over two innings. Dan Wheeler becomes the third Rays pitcher of the night.
Mike Cameron is the second batter to face Wheeler, and although he's played sparingly, the outfielder has been productive when he's played. He has hit in six straight games, going 6-for-23 with four runs, two doubles, a home run and six RBIs.
Now, he's having a rough night, going 0-for-3 with two K's and a double play, putting that streak in jeopardy.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-3: Ben Zobrist and Carl Crawford remain a nuisance to Daisuke Matsuzaka, and along with Evan Longoria, they get something going for Tampa Bay in the fifth.
Zobrist begins by singling with one out in the frame to get on base for the third time tonight. That brings up the dangerous Carl Crawford, who tallies his third hit of the night, putting men at first and third with one out.
Evan Longoria brings in Zobrist with a sacrifice fly, and after striking out twice tonight, Willy Aybar bloops a double inside the left-field line.
Things threaten to fall apart a little after that. Dice-K throws a strike to Matt Joyce but it gets by Kevin Cash, and the speedy Crawford comes home with the third run. But Dice-K retires Matt Joyce for the final out.
Middle 5th, Red Sox 5-1: Earlier tonight, outfielder Mike Cameron issued his personal plea for Red Sox fans to help Kevin Youkilis get into the All-Star Game, telling "anyone with a computer or internet to get on, vote 25 times, get it done."
According to him — and many in Boston — Youk deserves to be there. You can vote here.
The first baseman is the first out in a 1-2-3 frame for Andy Sonnanstine.
Youk concluded a 4-for-19 homestand with a bang, homering against the Orioles on both Saturday and Sunday.
End 4th, Red Sox 5-1: Dice-K has walked four in each of his last two starts, and thus far tonight, he's issued free passes to three.
For the second time tonight, he has a walk-free inning, easily retiring the side and getting his third strikeout.
Middle 4th, Red Sox 5-1: While the Trop is traditionally a house of horrors for the Red Sox, it's Eric Patterson's new favorite place. He goes deep with two out for the second time tonight.
Just like the first homer, the second came on a breaking ball, but this one was courtesy of Andy Sonnanstine.
It's the ninth multi-homer game for a member of the Red Sox in 2010. It's the first time Patterson has homered more than once in a game.
Matt Garza's evening is over, but this wasn't his shortest outing of the season. That came in June against the Marlins, when he went 1 1/3 innings.
The final line on Garza is three innings, seven hits, four earned runs, two walks and a strikeout.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: It was a 30-minute wait in between innings for Daisuke Matsuzaka, and unfortunately, and it takes him a little while to regain his bearings.
He walks leadoff man Ben Zobrist, then Carl Crawford victimizes him again, singling to right. Crawford came into this game batting .176 (3-for-17) against Dice, but he's 2-for-2 tonight.
After putting two on with none out, though, Dice-K retires the side, striking out Willy Aybar for the second time tonight in the process.
Middle 3rd, Red Sox 4-1: Matt Garza can't get that fastball to stay down, and it leads to a disastrous third inning for the hurler.
Eric Patterson starts the trouble, tallying his fifth home run of the season and knotting the score at 1.
The two-out bomb twists down the right field line and around the foul
pole, concluding a 10-pitch at-bat.
That opens the floodgates for Matt Garza. He walks David Ortiz for the second time tonight, and after Kevin Youkilis triples deep to right, Ortiz comes around and just barely skids in, avoiding the tag.
Adrian Beltre brings in Youkilis with a single to left. Then, J.D. Drew gets on with a slow dribbler toward the mound, and Bill Hall brings in the fourth run with a single right up the middle. All four runs came with two outs.
Garza, meanwhile, has thrown over 70 pitches tonight.
End 2nd, Rays 1-0: The first inning troubles are nothing new for Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's given up 32 runs this year, and 16 of them have come in the first.
Fortunately, it's the second, so that means a quick, easy 1-2-3 frame for the hurler.
Middle 2nd, Rays 1-0: J.D. Drew had quite a series against Baltimore, going 5-for-10 with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs. He begins this one, however, with a flyout.
Bill Hall tallies a one-out single for his first-ever hit against Matt Garza, but Mike Cameron erases him on a double play (and he doesn't look awesome making his way to first).
In case you haven't heard, Clay Buchholz has officially been added to the disabled list, and as expected, Felix Doubront has been called up to make Tuesday's start at Tampa Bay.
End 1st, Rays 1-0: Daisuke Matsuzaka faces the Rays for the second time in the last week, and much like last week, the first frame is a bit of a disaster.
A walk to Ben Zobrist, a stolen base and a deep double to right by Carl Crawford, and the Rays are up 1-0.
Then, in a strange play, Evan Longoria hits a little dribbler right in front of the plate. Everyone thinks it's foul, but it's not — so Crawford doesn't advance and Longoria is out.
Two strikeouts and another walk later, Dice-K is out of the inning. For anyone who's counting, he's thrown 31 through one.
The red-hot Crawford is now 21 for his last 46.
Middle 1st: Matt Garza escapes a couple speed bumps to get out of the first.
He runs into some leadoff trouble, allowing a bunt to Marco Scutaro and then walking David Ortiz with one out. After inducing Kevin Youkilis into a flyout, both runners advance on a passed ball that sails over John Jaso's head — then Adrian Beltre flies out to right to end the frame.
Garza's last win came against the Red Sox (and Daisuke Matsuzaka) last Wednesday at Fenway Park, a 9-4 affair. Tonight, though, he's having some trouble locating his fastball.
6:36 p.m.: Lineups are in at the Trop.
For the first time since Saturday against Baltimore, injury-addled center fielder Mike Cameron returns to the lineup, hitting eighth against Matt Garza.
Cameron has been afflicted by abdominal issues since a stint on the DL in May but, according to manager Terry Francona, is doing as much as humanly possible to make himself available.
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Eric Patterson, LF
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
5. Adrian Beltre, 3B
6. J.D. Drew, RF
7. Bill Hall, 2B
8. Mike Cameron, CF
9. Kevin Cash, C
1. Ben Zobrist, CF
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Willy Aybar, DH
5. Matt Joyce, RF
6. Sean Rodriguez, 2B
7. Carlos Pena, 1B
8. Jason Bartlett, SS
9. John Jaso, C
3:44 p.m.: Now comes the real test.
A three-game set against the Orioles was no big deal, but in the final week leading up to the All-Star break, the beaten-up Red Sox face some of the best the AL East has to offer, beginning with the first of three at Tampa Bay on Monday.
Earlier this week, manager Terry Francona said he’d only start Clay Buchholz if he was extremely close to "100 percent" recovered from a hamstring injury, and it appears that he’s not close enough. In his stead, Daisuke Matsuzaka will face Matt Garza, while Buchholz will most likely head to the disabled list.
Though Dice-K hasn’t pitched at Tampa Bay since 2008, he faced the Rays at Fenway Park on Wednesday, going six innings and allowing three runs on four hits. He took the loss; at 7:10 p.m., we’ll see if he can redeem himself.