Final, Cubs 9-3: Adrian Gonzalez singled to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, but Carlos Marmol was able to get Kevin Youkilis to ground into a double play, putting a stop to any thoughts of a late-game rally.
David Ortiz then flew out to Kosuke Fukudome in right to end the game.
Alfredo Aceves did a pretty good job in his first start since 2009, giving the Red Sox five solid innings and a chance to pull out a win. But the bullpen, particularly Matt Albers, imploded in the eighth inning as the Cubs scored eight runs. The defense was simply terrible that inning. At that point, it was the Cubs’ game to lose and they made sure they wrapped things up.
Tim Wakefield will take the ball for the Sox on Sunday, going up against whoever starts in place of the recently-scratched Matt Garza. Right now, it looks as though James Russell will be that guy.
It was a retro night at Fenway Park on Saturday, with the organization trying to give off some 1918 vibes. But let’s just say the Sox will likely be glad to get back to 2011 on Sunday night after letting this one slip away.
Mid 9th, Cubs 9-3: Red Sox newcomer Franklin Morales returned to the mound in the ninth, and things were much better this time around. He was able to sit the Cubs down 1-2-3.
Morales showed some good life on his fastball, hitting 95 mph when he struck out Carlos Pena swinging. Reed Johnson, who doubled in his last at-bat, flew out to J.D. Drew in right for the inning’s second out, and Alfonso Soriano grounded out to Youkilis at third to end the inning.
The Sox will send Adrian Gonzalez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz to the dish in the ninth as they try to pull off a miracle. The Cubs’ closer, Carlos Marmol, will come on in the ninth despite it not being a save situation.
End 8th, Cubs 9-3: The Red Sox needed to respond to the Cubs’ offensive assault in the bottom of the eighth, but they didn’t. Kerry Wood retired the side in order.
Jason Varitek began things in the eighth by lining out to Tony Campana, a rookie that came into the game to play left field before the inning started. Campana’s hat looks very big on him by the way.
Jacoby Ellsbury lined a ball down the right field line that looked fair at first glance, but it was ruled foul. He then popped out to catcher Koyie Hill in foul territory for the second out. Wood then got Pedroia to ground out to short to end the inning.
If the Sox are going to pull this one out, they’ll need a miraculous ninth inning.
Mid 8th, Cubs 9-3: Well the night changed drastically at Fenway in the eighth. Albers threw 31 pitches, and didn’t record an out, and Franklin Morales came on to make his Red Sox debut, which also wasn’t pretty.
Albers was charged with six earned runs on three hits and two walks. Morales gave up an RBI double to Jeff Baker, who pinch-hit for Blake DeWitt, on the first pitch he threw and things only got worse from there.
With the bases loaded, Darwin Barney hit a fly ball to right field. Drew made the fly and fired home, where it appeared as though the Sox had Alfonso Soriano tied up in a pickle. But Varitek’s throw to Youkilis at third ricocheted off his glove, which allowed Soriano and Jeff Baker to score. Starlin Castro followed up with an RBI double, which plated the ninth Cubs run of the night.
Eight runs scored in total, and the Cubs not only grabbed the lead, they have seized control of this one.
10:28 p.m.: Manager Terry Francona elected to go with Matt Albers in the eighth, and it proved to be the wrong move. Albers didn’t record an out and allowed three runs, giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
After Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro both collected opposite-field singles, Albers issued back-to-back walks to Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena, which brought home the second Cubs run of the game.
The next batter, Reed Johnson, who wasn’t even in the starting lineup, doubled to left field, bringing home Ramirez and Castro and giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead.
Jed Lowrie then dropped a routine pop up and fired the ball over the head of Jason Varitek, which brought home another Cubs run. The Red Sox are finally making a pitching change, but it hasn’t been pretty here in the eighth. There’s still nobody out.
End 7th, Red Sox 3-1: If I had told you before the season that a team would intentionally walk Jed Lowrie to face Carl Crawford, you probably would have told me I was crazy. I would called myself crazy. But that’s exactly what the Cubs did in the seventh inning, although it was mostly done to set up a lefty-lefty matchup.
Kevin Youkilis began the bottom of the seventh by hitting a sharp ground ball that seemed to hit something in the dirt, and then skipped past Aramis Ramirez into left field. David Ortiz then grounded out to second, which moved Youkilis to third.
After J.D. Drew grounded out, which didn’t plate Youkilis, the Cubs elected to walk Lowire. Crawford responded by grounding out to Darwin Barney on the fifth pitch of the at-bat. Barney made a great backhanded snag on the play, and Carlos Pena ensured the out by scooping the throw out of the dirt.
It looked like Crawford thought the ball got past Barney, as he looked as if he was ready to make a turn around first base rather than running through the bag.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 3-1: Dan Wheeler returned to the mound for the Sox to begin the seventh inning, and he got Soriano to ground out to third on a slider.
Former Cub Rich Hill then took over, and promptly struck out Blake DeWitt on four pitches.
In a Hill versus Hill matchup, Cubs catcher Koyie Hill won with a line drive single into center. Rich Hill responded by striking out the next batter, Kosuke Fukudome, though, which retired the side. Hill gave Fukudome a heavy dose of offspeed stuff, as all seven pitches of the at-bat were curveballs in the mid 70s.
End 6th, Red Sox 3-1: Carlos Zambrano’s velocity hasn’t been too impressive tonight, with many fastballs sitting around 90-92 mph, but he had been pretty effective for the most part. The Red Sox were able to get to him in the sixth, though, tacking on an insurance run.
Jed Lowrie struck out swinging on a slider from Zambrano to leadoff the inning, but the next three batters reached base safely. Carl Crawford lined a single into center and Jason Varitek worked a walk before Jacoby Ellsbury singled in the third Boston run of the game.
After Dustin Pedroia grounded into a 4-to-6 force out, Zambrano exited the game having thrown a season-high for pitches — 124.
Lefty Sean Marshall came on, meaning he won’t be the one starting in place of Matt Garza on Sunday. Pedroia swiped second, setting up two runners in scoring position for Adrian Gonzalez, but Gonzo grounded out to short on a curveball to end the inning.
The final lines on both starters are as follows:
Aceves- five innings, one earned run, three hits, two walks, two strikeouts, 86 pitches (56 strikes)
Zambrano- 5 2/3 innings, three earned runs, seven hits, three walks, two strikeouts, 124 pitches (73 strikes)
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-1: Dan Wheeler took over for Alfredo Aceves in the sixth, his first appearance since being activated from the disabled list on Friday.
Aramis Ramirez led off the inning with a towering fly ball that probably would have scraped the wall on most nights. But instead, it got caught up in the wind and Carl Crawford was able to haul it in.
Wheeler walked Carlos Pena on four pitches, and fell behind Reed Johnson 3-0, but he was able to retire the side on a strike him out, throw him out double play. Pena had been given the green light to run with the count full, but he was out by a mile — literally a mile I think.
The Sox will send Lowrie, Crawford and Varitek to the plate in the sixth.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Well, things are getting a little interesting here at Fenway.
After a Dustin Pedroia fly out and an Adrian Gonzalez single, Carlos Zambrano plunked Kevin Youkilis on the rear end, which prompted warnings to both dugouts from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. It certainly looked intentional on the part of Zambrano, perhaps payback for Aceves hitting Marlon Byrd in the head earlier in the game.
The next batter, Ortiz, popped out to short, which Zambrano thought was the third out of the inning. He began hustling off the field before throwing on the breaks. After returning to the mound, he got J.D. Drew to pop one up on the second pitch of the at-bat. Zambrano recorded the putout himself.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Aceves seems to have settled in a bit. His control is improving, and he retired the side in order.
He had to work a bit in the fifth, though, firing 19 pitches. Fukudome and Barney both put up good battles, but he was eventually able to retire both — Fukudome via a slow roller to Pedroia and Barney via a foul tip into Varitek’s mitt.
Aceves has now thrown 86 pitches — 56 for strikes. Zambrano heads out to face Pedroia, Gonzalez and Youkilis in the fifth.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: David Ortiz’s Boston legacy continues to grow, as he sent one into the Monster seats in left to put the Sox on top 2-1. It’s the 300th home run for Ortiz as a member of the Red Sox, and his ninth of the season. Ortiz is the fifth player in team history to hit 300 home runs with the club — joining Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice and Dwight Evans.
Kevin Youkilis reached ahead of Big Papi on a base hit to left. Ortiz’s home run came on a 2-2 fastball. It was a line drive that got out in a hurry.
J.D. Drew grounded out to second for the first out of the inning, and Jed Lowrie followed with a walk, the second time he’s reached safely tonight. Carl Crawford then bounced into what looked like an inning-ending double play, but Carlos Pena couldn’t handle Darwin Barney’s throw to first.
Varitek followed up the miscue by shooting a base hit into right field. Crawford thought about going first-to-third, but he threw on the breaks after a wide turn around second base.
With two on and two out, Zambrano fell behind Jacoby Ellsbury 2-0 before the center fielder lined out to Castro at short.
Mid 4th, Cubs 1-0: Cubs center fielder Marlon Byrd, who was removed from the game in the second inning after getting hit in the head with a pitch, has reportedly been taken to a local hospital. He never lost consciousness, which is certainly an encouraging sign. I’ll continue to pass along any information as I hear it.
As for the action on the field, it was a busy inning for right fielder J.D. Drew. Reed Johnson, Byrd’s replacement, flew out to begin the fourth. Alfonso Soriano, who’s returned to his power-hitting form this season, then lined a base hit to right. Drew collected the next two putouts, as both Blake DeWitt and Koyie Hill flew out.
End 3rd, Cubs 1-0: Carlos Zambrano made things look easy in the third, retiring all three Red Sox hitters he faced.
Zambrano retired Jacoby Ellsbury on a groundout to first baseman Carlos Pena, who won a gold glove in 2008. He then pulled the string with a changeup to strike out Pedroia swinging, and got Gonzalez to ground out to shortstop to end the inning.
Mid 3rd, Cubs 1-0: Koyie Hill grounded out to Pedroia to begin things in the third, and Fukudome followed up with a walk.
Fukudome then swiped second base, a rare sight for Cubs fans. The Cubbies have now stolen 10 bases this season — the second lowest total in the majors.
Aceves then issued another walk to Darwin Barney. Starlin Castro bounced one back up the middle that Pedroia was able to handle and shovel to Lowrie at second for the force out.
With runners at the corners and two outs, Aceves threw over to first twice, perhaps thinking the Cubs might try to run again and set up two in scoring position. On the next pitch, Aramis Ramirez looped a double into left-center field. With Crawford’s and Ellsbury’s speed, it’s tough to drop one in between them, but Ramirez was able to do just that. Castro, who had been at first, advanced to third.
Carlos Pena ended the inning by grounding out to Gonzalez at first. The Cubs get one in, but leave two in scoring position.
8:05: It truly is a retro night at Fenway Park. No public address announcer can be heard, as the only announcing of batters is via a guy with an old-school megaphone. The scoreboard also has a different look to it, as the Sox try to set a 1918 mood.
Unfortunately, stamps are no longer three cents, though.
End 2nd, 0-0: Aramis Ramirez made a fantastic diving play to rob J.D. Drew of a hit to begin the bottom of the second. It was a close play at first, but there was no argument from the always-quiet Drew.
Lowrie then followed up with a base hit into right field.
Carl Crawford battled for nine pitches, as Zambrano challenged him with fastball after fastball. Crawford is hitting .214 against fastballs this season, so the decision to challenge him shouldn’t come as surprise. He eventually flew out to Fukudome in right, who tried to catch Lowrie off guard by firing the ball back into first.
The next batter, Jason Varitek, ended the inning by grounding out Barney at second on a 92-mph cutter.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: A scary moment with one out in the second. Marlon Byrd was hit in the head/face area with a 1-2 fastball from Aceves. He looked to be in some pain as he rolled around on the ground. Byrd was quickly escorted off the field, so hopefully everything will be alright with him.
Reed Johnson took Byrd’s place at first base, but he wouldn’t move. Aceves got Soriano to fly out to Jacoby Ellsbury in left-center field, and then threw two pitches to Blake DeWitt before he popped out to Jed Lowrie at short.
The Sox will send J.D. Drew, Lowrie and Carl Crawford to the plate in the home half of the second.
7:44 p.m.: The more I look at these Red Sox throwback uniforms, the more I think they opened up a catalog and just ordered the first generic jerseys they saw. They might as well have “Player 1” on the back or something.
End 1st, 0-0: Bizarre start to thhe Red Sox’ first time through the order, as Jacoby Ellsbury reaches on a catcher’s interference call.
The next batter, Dustin Pedroia, popped out to the shortstop, Starlin Castro. Prior to popping out, though, Carlos Zambrano nearly plunked Pedroia, and then proceeded to stare in towards home plate a bit. It probably isn’t anything major, but we’ll see if anything surfaces from it.
Adrian Gonzalez, fresh off a four-hit, four RBI night on Friday, got a pretty good piece of one but Marlon Byrd was able to track it down in left-center.
Jacoby Ellsbury swiped second base, his 15th steal of the season, which springs him into third in the majors in that category. Kevin Youkilis then worked a four-pitch walk, but Zambrano was able to retire David Ortiz on a lazy fly ball to the left fielder, Blake DeWitt.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Aceves looked like he was going to get into a bit of a jam early, with runners at first and second an no outs. But he settled down and was able to navigate his way out of any further trouble.
Kosuke Fukudome not only returns to the leadoff spot tonight, but he got drilled on the second pitch of the game. Fukudome then moved up to second as Darwin Barney scorched a base hit past Dustin Pedroia.
Barney has been pleasant surprise for the Cubs this season, hitting at a .318 clip entering Saturday.
Aramis Ramirez was batting .299 entering Saturday, but he grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Ramirez has a reputation of a guy with some pop in his bat, but the 32-year-old third baseman has only hit one long ball so far this season.
7:15 p.m.: Kosuke Fukudome will return to his usual leadoff spot in the Cubs lineup tonight. Here is how the complete lineup looks:
Kosuke Fukudome, RF
Darwin Barney, 2B
Starlin Castro, SS
Aramis Ramirez, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Marlon Byrd, CF
Alfonso Soriano, DH
Blake DeWitt, LF
Koyie Hill, C
7:06 p.m.: Jason Varitek will start behind the dish tonight and catch Aceves with Saltalamacchia slated to catch Tim Wakefield on Sunday.
On a side note, these throwback uniforms are pretty unique. Although, “Cubs” looks more like “ubs.”
Here is what the Red Sox lineup looks like on Saturday:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Jason Varitek, C
5:50 p.m.: The Cubs have reportedly scratched pitcher Matt Garza from his start Sunday night because of a sore elbow.
A replacement starter hasn’t yet been named, but the decision should be somewhat welcomed by the Red Sox. Garza is 7-4 with a 3.83 ERA in his career against the Sox, with five of those wins coming at Fenway Park.
8 a.m.: Following their 19-hit outburst on Friday, the Red Sox now have a chance to reach a position that felt impossibly far away just one month ago — the very top of the AL East.
With a win and a Rays loss, Boston will be alone atop the division. To that end, Terry Francona will send Alfredo Aceves to the mound for the second Sox home game against the Cubs since 1918. Aceves, who is filling in for the ailing Daisuke Matsuzaka, has yet to make a start this season, though he has compiled a 2.60 ERA in 11 relief appearances thus far.
His last start, in fact, came for the Yankees in 2009.
The Cubs will counter with ace Carlos Zambrano, who is off to a relatively slow start in 2011 with a 4.89 ERA to this point.
First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.