Red Sox Live Blog: Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves Each Toss Three Scoreless Innings in Boston’s 5-0 Win Over Rays


Red Sox Live Blog: Daniel Bard, Alfredo Aceves Each Toss Three Scoreless Innings in Boston's 5-0 Win Over RaysFinal, Red Sox 5-0: The Rays refused to go quietly, loading the bases against Clayton Mortensen in the ninth inning. But two straight pop-outs ended the ballgame.

Five Red Sox pitchers combined for the shutout, including Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves, who each tossed three innings.

On the offensive side of things, nine different Boston hitters recorded a hit, as the Sox scored in each of the first three innings to grab momentum that they would never relinquish.

The Sox are back in action against the Orioles at 1 p.m. on Sunday. As always, has you covered, so continue to check back for updates.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to set your clocks. It's time to spring ahead!

End 8th, Red Sox 5-0: Ryan Lavarnway has had a tough night at the plate since coming on in place of Saltalamacchia in the fifth inning. He's struck out twice.

Will Middlebrooks made sure the same couldn't be said for him, as he lifted a double into the right-center field gap off Romulo Sanchez, who has just entered the game for the Rays.

After Jason Repko went down by way of the K, Josh Kroeger pulled a breaking ball down the right-field line for a ground-rule double. It scored Middlebrooks from second, and increased Boston's lead to 5-0.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 4-0: Junichi Tazawa, another intriguing storyline entering this season for the Red Sox, got into some trouble by walking the first two batters he faced in the eighth.

But Tazawa responded by forcing Will Rhymes to bounce one back to the mound, which the pitcher fielded cleanly to start a 1-6-3 double play.

Tazawa retired Hak-Ju Lee via a flyout to center to end the inning.

End 7th, Red Sox 4-0: After Oscar Tejeda flew out to begin the inning, Pedro Ciriaco hit a little dribbler down the third-base line. Will Rhymes elected to let the ball roll in the hopes that it would go foul, but it struck the bag, allowing Ciriaco to reach safely.

Ciriaco would stick around over at first, though, as Che Hsuan-Lin flew out to Jesus Feliciano in right for the second out, and Lars Anderson struck out swinging for the third and final out.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 4-0: It's seventh-inning stretch time at JetBlue after the Sox again shut down the Tampa Bay offense.

This time, it was Matt Albers who was dealing between the rain drops. Elliot Johnson led off the inning with a single, but he was subsequently gunned down by Ryan Lavarnway while trying to steal.

Albers then got the next two hitters in front of what has become a rather empty stadium in the wake of the precipitation picking up.

The books is officially closed on Aceves, who worked the fourth, fifth and sixth innings in this one. In those three scoreless innings, he allowed just two hits while striking out two.

Oh yeah, and Oscar Tejeda has come into the game at second base for Nick Punto, and will become the Sox' new leadoff hitter.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-0: The rain has started to pick up at JetBlue, the field is becoming more and more soggy and fans are starting to duck for cover. We could be in store for a delay, which Sox fans became all too familiar with last season.

Meanwhile, on the field, Alex Colome kept the Sox offense at bay in the sixth.

Jason Repko flew out to the warning track to begin the inning, and Josh Kroeger then walked. Alex Hassan grounded into a double play, though, wiping out any potential threat by the Boston offense.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-0: Alfredo Aceves' role might be unclear heading into this season, but the right-hander could end up being one of the team's most important pitchers, just as he was at the end of last season.

It's obviously early on in spring training, but Aceves has looked sharp this evening. He got Ben Zobrist to fly out to begin the inning, and then sandwiched a Jeff Keppinger single with strikeouts to Matt Joyce and Stephen Vogt.

That'll likely be it for Aceves, but it was a job well done in three innings of work.

End 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Lars Anderson hit a double into the left-center field gap with one out in the inning, but Dane De La Rosa rebounded and looked good after that.

De La Rosa struck out Ryan Lavarnway and Will Middlebrooks — each of whom came into the game for the Sox during the previous half inning — to get out of the frame unscathed.

Keeping track of substitutions is often like doing so during an All-Star Game, only with fewer recognizable names. But here's a quick rundown of the subs made by skipper Bobby Valentine in the top of the fifth: Pedro Ciriaco replaced Iglesias at shortstop, Anderson replaced Gonzalez at first base, Lavarnway replaced Saltalamacchia behind the dish, Middlebrooks replaced Youkilis at third, Jason Repko replaced Darnell McDonald in left field, and Josh Kroeger replaced Linares in right.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-0: Jacoby Ellsbury is just shagging fly balls right now. The center fielder recorded all three put-outs in the fifth, and has recorded five of the last six outs overall. Busy man.

I'll take this time to give you the final line on tonight's starters.

Bard tossed three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and two walks while striking out one.

For the Rays, Wade Davis gave up four runs — two earned — on three hits, while walking four and striking out two.

End 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Juan Carlos Linares lifted a fly ball to the warning track in left, but Desmond Jennings was able to haul it in at the base of the JetBlue Green Monster.

Alex Hassan then struck out looking, paving the way for what looked to be an easy inning for Badenhop. Nick Punto tried to complicate matters with a single to left, but Jose Iglesias grounded into a force out to end the inning.

It looks like we'll have some new faces coming into the game for the Red Sox next half inning.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-0: Alfredo Aceves, a candidate for the No. 5 spot in the rotation, relieved Bard in the fourth.

And I can't watch Aceves pitch without thinking of this gem from last season.

I'm not sure what's better; him confidently stating, "If I wake up tomorrow, I'm good," after tossing 3 2/3 innings, or him responding with, "of course," when asked if he expected to wake up tomorrow.

Anyway, back to 2012. And Keppinger greeted Aceves in this one with a base hit to center. Aceves then induced three straight fly-ball outs.

End 3rd, Red Sox 4-0: Jacoby Ellsbury, who was left standing at the plate following the failed steal attempt of home in the bottom half of the second, began things for Boston in the third. He grounded out to the right side.

Adrian Gonzalez would fare much better against Davis, ripping a breaking ball down the right-field line for double. It's the second time tonight that A-Gon has reached base, as the first baseman walked to load the bases in his first plate appearance back in the first inning.

Saltalamacchia followed up the double with a flyout to center, and it also happened to be Wade Davis' last batter of the night.

Burke Badenhop took over on the hill for the Rays, and he was greeted rather unpleasantly by Kevin Youkilis. Youk placed a double into the right-center field gap, bringing around Gonzalez from second to extend Boston's lead to four.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Daniel Bard faced the top of the order in his third inning of work.

Desmond Jennings began things with a routine grounder to Iglesias at short. Adrian Gonzalez's put-out for the second out of the inning was anything but routine, though.

Gonzalez, a former Gold Glove winner, drifted over near the tarp area before leaning into the seats to make a play.

Ben Zobrist — who's a ballplayer, plain and simple — lined a base hit back up the middle to ensure Bard had to work a little bit longer, but the righty came back and got Matt Joyce to fly out to Linares in right.

End 2nd, Red Sox 3-0: It remains to be seen how Bobby Valentine will approach in-game situations with the Sox when the games start counting, but he's showing a willingness to experiment early on this spring.

Darnell McDonald ripped a double down the left-field line (making another case for ample playing time early in the season in Carl Crawford's absence), and he then advanced to third on a flyout by Juan Carlos Linares. That's when things got interesting.

The Sox skipper called for the suicide squeeze, with Alex Hassan dropping down a bunt that eventually rolled foul. Hassan ended up drawing a walk, and he moved up to second via a stolen base.

Jose Iglesias came up following a Nick Punto strikeout, and he hit what should have been an inning-ending flyout to B.J. Upton in center. Instead, Upton put forth a very nonchalant effort, and the ball ricocheted off his glove and into JetBlue's triangle. Two runs scored, and Iglesias ended up on third base.

The inning wrapped up when Iglesias was thrown out trying to steal home — seriously. It's unclear whether the young shortstop just missed a sign or if the Sox were trying to capitalize on Davis working from the windup. It resulted in an out, nevertheless.

Mid 2nd, Red Sox 1-0: Bard enjoyed a nice start to the second inning before running into a little bit of trouble later on in the frame — a bit similar to his first inning of work.

The inning's leadoff batter, Jeff Keppinger, flew out for out No. 1, but the next two batters reached base. Stephen Vogt worked a four-pitch walk, and Elliot Johnson hit a little dribbler that Kevin Youkilis wasn't able to shoot over to Gonzalez in time.

Tim Beckham then hit one sharply to the right side, which Nick Punto made a nice play on. The second baseman corralled it and turned and fired to Iglesias for the out at second, but Beckham was able to beat out the double play at first.

Chris Gimenez also put Punto to work, grounding out to second to end the inning, stranding a runner just 90 feet away.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Not sure what's more awesome; the fact that Nick Punto's alter ego is a shirt-ripping maniac called "The Shredder," or the hit-and-run that Bobby Valentine just put on with Punto on first and Jose Iglesias at the plate.

After Punto — who I will likely refer to as "The Shredder" nine times out of 10 going forward — drew a walk to lead off the frame, Valentine called for the hit-and-run on two straight pitches with Iglesias at the plate. The defensive-minded shortstop shot a base hit through the right side on the second pitch, sending Punto all the way over to third base.

The next batter, Jacoby Ellsbury (who's hitting out of the three hole), struck out before Wade Davis started struggling with his control. Adrian Gonzalez drew a walk to load the bases, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia worked a free pass to force in the game's first run.

The Sox had a chance to do even more damage, with just one out in the inning, but Kevin Youkilis grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases still packed.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Bard made quick work of Desmond Jennings to start the game, retiring him on three pitches.

The big righty then got ahead 0-2 on B.J. Upton — who Red Sox fans surely still can't forgive for his 2008 ALCS performance. Upton eventually made contact, but it was right at Punto at second for the inning's second out.

Bard briefly lost control, walking Ben Zobrist on four pitches and falling behind Matt Joyce. After a visit from Salty, Bard and Joyce engaged in a lengthy battle before Bard induced the ground-ball out.

Bard threw 20 pitches in the inning, showing a good mix and topping out around 97-98 mph.

7:05 p.m.: Bard wheels and deals…

7 p.m.: The first pitch at JetBlue Park is just minutes away. It'll be Daniel Bard on the bump for the Red Sox.

Bard projects to be the team's No. 4 starter when it breaks camp this season, and it's safe to say he won't be the team's Opening Day starter. But who will be? We posed that question in today's NESN Daily poll, so be sure to cast your vote.

This evening's game is televised on NESN, so if you've got a TV nearby, be sure to tune in. Don't abandon yours truly, though, as I'll try to supplement Don and Jerry's humor and intellect the best I can.

5:45 p.m.: The lineup cards are in for Saturday's spring training showdown between last season's wild-card winner and winner-card runner-up.

Darnell McDonald will get the start after swinging a hot bat in Friday night's loss. We'll also get to see the defensive prowess of Jose Iglesias, as he's plugged in at shortstop.

Here's a look at Saturday's complete lineups.

Red Sox
Nick Punto, 2B
Jose Iglesias, SS
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Darnell McDonald, LF
Juan Carlos Linares, RF
Alex Hassan, DH

Daniel Bard, P

Desmond Jennings, LF
B.J. Upton, CF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Matt Joyce, RF
Jeff Keppinger, 3B
Stephen Vogt, DH
Elliot Johnson, 1B
Tim Beckham, SS
Chris Gimenez, C

Wade Davis, P

8 a.m. ET: Daniel Bard will take the ball for his second start of spring training on Saturday. Digging in against the hard-throwing righty are the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bard threw two no-hit innings against the Orioles in his first spring start, a game the Sox eventually went on to win, 5-4. The reliever-turned-starter threw 31 pitches in that contest, 21 of which were strikes, but he did have a hard time in one area; figuring out a pregame routine.

Bard will eventually figure it all out, though. And while the Sox might still be in spring training mode, I'll do my best to give you all playoff-quality commentary the whole step of the way.

Wade Davis will be on the bump to start for the Rays. For the Sox, Alfredo Aceves, Clay Mortensen, Brandon Duckworth, Matt Albers and Junichi Tazawa are scheduled to pitch in addition to Bard during Saturday's contest.

The game's first pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m., and all of the action can be seen on NESN, but why not follow along on here as well for some added fun?

Be sure to check back with throughout the day for updates, including the teams' starting lineups.

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