Final, Orioles 3-2: Stephen Drew gave the Red Sox life in the ninth inning with a one-out single, but Boston was unable to stage a rally against Orioles closer Jim Johnson, and Baltimore leaves Fenway having taken two of three.
Adam Jones drove in two runs, while Chris Davis got the O’s offense going in the second inning with his sixth home run of the season. Jones’ RBI double in the seventh inning off Koji Uehara proved to be the difference.
Clayton Mortensen suffered the loss for Boston. He came on in relief of Alfredo Aceves and pitched 1 2/3 innings before being taken out after surrendering a two-out single to Manny Machado in the seventh. Andrew Miller walked the next batter, setting the stage for Jones’ big, go-ahead double against Uehara.
Aceves tossed 79 pitches (47 strikes) over five innings before departing. He allowed two earned runs on six hits while striking out four and walking three. Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game that Aceves is slated to pitch again in John Lackey’s place the next time through the rotation.
The Red Sox say goodbye to the Orioles, and they’ll now welcome in the Rays. The Sox will host the Rays for a four-game set beginning on Friday night. Felix Doubront will be matched up against Alex Cobb in the series opener, which is scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m. ET.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Orioles 3-2: Well, if the Red Sox needed an emotional boost for their at-bats in the ninth, that should help.
After Manny Machado walked to lead off the inning, the Sox spun a 6-4-3 double play, with Mike Napoli scooping the throw out of the dirt on the back end.
Alex Wilson — who, as mentioned, was making his big league debut — then struck out Adam Jones swinging on three pitches. Jones had been 2-for-4 with two RBIs up until that point.
Wilson’s K drew a loud ovation from the Fenway Faithful who have stuck around.
The Red Sox are scheduled to send up Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Stephen Drew and Jonny Gomes in the ninth.
End 8th, Orioles 3-2: The Red Sox will have to do it in the ninth, as sidearm-throwing Darren O’Day breezed through the Boston order in the eighth inning.
Mike Napoli, Daniel Nava and Jarrod Saltalamacchia were retired 1-2-3, and O’Day made it look easy.
Napoli popped out to short to lead off the inning. Will Middlebrooks then hit a soft liner to Alexi Casilla at second, and Daniel Nava skied a fly ball to right field that Chris Dickerson easily hauled in.
In the ninth inning, the recently called up Alex Wilson will take the mound for his big league debut. It’s an important inning for the 26-year-old — not just personally, but for the team as well.
Mid 8th, Orioles 3-2: Junichi Tazawa was forced to work around a runner, but he succeeded in keeping Baltimore’s lead at one run.
Tazawa started the inning off in impressive fashion, striking out J.J. Hardy looking on a 93-mph fastball. Chris Dickerson would win the next battle by lining a base hit into center field.
Alexi Casilla bounced to the right side with one out. Dustin Pedroia made the play while ranging to his left, and he turned and fired to second in the hopes of starting an inning-ending double play. The ball wasn’t nearly hit hard enough for the Red Sox to turn it, though.
Casilla, reaching on the fielder’s choice, would move up to second base on a wild pitch in the dirt with Nate McLouth batting. He wouldn’t advance beyond there, as McLouth grounded harmlessly to Pedroia to end the inning.
Darren O’Day will come on to face the Sox in the eighth inning.
The paid attendance for the game was just announced: 27,704.
End 7th, Orioles 3-2: After Jonny Gomes was announced as the pinch-hitter for Jackie Bradley Jr., Buck Showalter turned to Pedro Strop to pitch the seventh.
Strop retired Gomes on a blistering line drive down to third base, and he then disposed of Jacoby Ellsbury on a little comebacker to the mound.
Shane Victorino — whose “Buffalo Soldier” entrance music gets better with age — extended the inning on a ground ball to J.J. Hardy. Hardy charged the bouncer, but he had a hard time getting the ball out of his glove, and that enabled Victorino to reach. The play was ruled a hit, although Hardy might have been able to throw out Victorino with a clean transition to his throwing hand.
Victorino’s infield single went for naught, though. Dustin Pedroia grounded to his counterpart at second base to end the inning.
Junichi Tazawa will pitch the eighth inning for Boston.
Mid 7th, Orioles 3-2: Three pitchers took the hill for the Red Sox in the top of the seventh inning, and the Orioles came away with a run to grab the lead.
Clayton Mortensen came on to start the inning, and he got two quick outs. He struck out Alexi Casilla and got Nate McLouth to pop out to short, before then allowing a base hit to Manny Machado. Machado’s single ended Mortensen’s outing after 1 2/3 innings, as John Farrell opted to bring in Andrew Miller with the left-handed hitting Nick Markakis coming to the plate.
Miller couldn’t take care of business, though. He kept missing outside, and it led to a walk for Markakis to set up runners at first and second.
Miller’s night would end after one batter. Farrell turned to Koji Uehara, who had been perfect in his first three outings. Adam Jones greeted Uehara rather harshly, ripping a double into the left-field corner that plated Machado to give the O’s a 3-2 lead.
After Uehara intentionally walked the hottest hitter in baseball, Chris Davis, Matt Wieters flew out to left field to end the inning.
Jones is 2-for-4 with two RBIs in this one.
End 6th, 2-2: Stephen Drew had a chance to make his first big contribution in the sixth inning, but he was punched out with two runners on.
Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava each singled in the inning to set up first and second with one out. That spelled the end of Chris Tillman’s night, as O’s manager Buck Showalter turned to Brian Matusz as the first pitcher out of the Baltimore ‘pen.
Matusz came in and got the Orioles out of trouble. He struck out both Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia to keep the game 2-2.
Salty was the first to be victimized. He gave a halfhearted swing at a slider in the dirt.
Drew then started off his at-bat by falling behind 0-2, but he eventually worked the count full. Drew went down looking at a pitch on the inside corner.
Mid 6th, 2-2: Matt Wieters began the inning with a loud out, but Clayton Mortensen got the job done in the sixth.
Wieters lifted a 1-1 changeup to the warning track in right field, where Shane Victorino made the play for the first out.
J.J. Hardy and Chris Dickerson were then retired on a ground out to third and a pop out to third, respectively.
End 5th, 2-2: The Red Sox were unable to regain the lead in the fifth, as the top of the Boston order went down in order.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia were retired consecutively by O’s starter Chris Tillman.
Ellsbury flew out to left field, Victorino popped out to shortstop J.J. Hardy in shallow left and Pedroia flew out to right.
Clayton Mortensen will take over for the Red Sox in the sixth inning after Alfredo Aceves went the first five.
Aceves exits having thrown 79 pitches (47 strikes). He allowed two runs (both earned) on six hits in five innings. He struck out four and walked three.
Aceves won’t factor into the decision in this one, but the Sox couldn’t have asked for much more overall.
Mid 5th, 2-2: A couple of singles have tied this game up.
Manny Machado, who hit the big home run on Wednesday night, surprised the Red Sox by dropping down a one-out bunt. Jarrod Saltalamacchia charged out from behind the plate to make the play, but his throw down to first was too late.
Two batters later, after Nick Markakis grounded out, Adam Jones smacked a single into center field that easily scored Machado from second base with Baltimore’s second run.
The final out came in rather strange fashion. With the shift on, a ball off the bat of Chris Davis ate up Mike Napoli at first base. Will Middlebrooks, pulled over to the right side of the infield for the at-bat, made the play off the ricochet. Middlebrooks then delivered the ball back to Napoli to get the sluggish Davis.
In the end, the third out was scored 3-5-3. Yes, very strange.
End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Stephen Drew’s second game with the Red Sox is going a little bit better than his first.
After going 0-for-4 in his Boston debut, Drew has reached base safely twice in this game. Both times have come via a free pass.
Drew walked with two outs in the fourth. Daniel Nava led off the inning by flying out to left field, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for the second out.
After Drew’s walk, Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded into a 5-4 force out to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: The Orioles threatened to get the runs back in the fourth, but Alfredo Aceves made a big pitch when it counted.
After Adam Jones struck out swinging to begin the inning, Chris Davis, who homered earlier in the game, worked a walk.
Matt Wieters flew out for the second out, but the inning got a lot more difficult for Aceves from there. J.J. Hardy ripped a single into the left-field corner, which sent Davis all the way to third base, and Chris Dickerson walked to load the bases.
Aceves bounced back with the bases jammed to strike out Alex Casilla. Aceves froze Casilla with a 91-mph fastball.
End 3rd, Red Sox 2-1: Chris Tillman looked to be on his way to keeping the game 1-0, but some two-out magic from the Red Sox gave them their first lead.
Stephen Drew walked to begin the third inning, marking the first time he’s been on base in a Red Sox uniform. Tillman bounced back to strike out both Jackie Bradley Jr. and Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Sox wouldn’t go down easy with two outs, though.
Shane Victorino lined a hard single into right-center field, which allowed Drew to go from first to third. Dustin Pedroia then drove Drew in by shooting a base hit the other way.
Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox the lead after a very hard-fought at-bat. Napoli ripped the ninth pitch he saw into left field. Nate McLouth dove in an effort to make the grab, but he couldn’t make the play. Instead, McLouth trapped the ball, which led to an RBI single. A hustling Pedroia went from first to third.
Will Middlebrooks failed to add to the lead. He grounded out to third for the final out.
Mid 3rd, Orioles 1-0: The pitchers have been busy in the field.
Alexi Casilla dropped a bunt down the first-base line to lead off the inning. Alfredo Aceves came off the mound, and he made a nice play to scoop it up and shovel to Mike Napoli at first for the out.
Nate McLouth aimed at Aceves as well, although his hit was much more well-struck. McLouth hit a line drive that deflected off Aceves and rolled toward second base. McLouth ended up reaching with an infield single.
Manny Machado grounded to Will Middlebrooks with one out. Middlebrooks was initially thinking double play, but he bobbled the ball momentarily, and the Red Sox were thus unable to execute the twin killing.
Nick Markakis grounded out back to the mound to end things.
End 2nd, Orioles 1-0: The Red Sox went down easily in the second inning.
Will Middlebrooks led off with a line drive into right field. Chris Dickerson came on and made a nice, sliding grab for out No. 1.
Daniel Nava then struck out swinging on three pitches. He fanned on a 91-mph cutter from Chris Tillman to cap off the at-bat.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia capped off the inning with a little roller that Tillman fielded easily.
Mid 2nd, Orioles 1-0: I’m not sure if Chris Davis’ home run landed yet.
Davis absolutely smoked his sixth home run of the season in the second inning. He sent it out near the NESN.com sign above the triangle in right-center, and it’s clear he’s still very much in the midst of his early-season hot streak.
Prior to Davis’ home run, Adam Jones grounded back to the mound. After the bomb, Matt Wieters walked, but Alfredo Aceves bounced back to strike out J.J. Hardy and Chris Dickerson to limit the second-inning damage.
End 1st, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury kicked off the inning with a hit, but the Red Sox were unable to do anything with it.
Ellsbury reached after bouncing a ball behind the second-base bag. Shortstop J.J. Hardy made the play going up the middle, but Ellsbury was just too quick for Hardy to record the out.
Shane Victorino followed up by hitting a ground ball right at second baseman Alexi Casilla. Casilla tried to start a double play, but again speed played a factor, as Victorino beat Hardy’s throw on the back end.
After Dustin Pedroia struck out on a foul tip into the catcher’s mitt, Mike Napoli grounded down to third. Manny Machado made the easy play and fired across the diamond to record the final out of the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Alfredo Aceves retired the side in order in the first, but it was a rather eventful half inning.
Nate McLouth led off the game by flying out Jacoby Ellsbury in center, and Manny Machado, who was Wednesday night’s hero, followed by ripping a ball into the right-center field gap. Machado tried to stretch the extra-base hit into a triple, but Dustin Pedroia received the relay throw and delivered a strike to third base to nab Machado.
Nick Markakis then threatened to bloop a base hit into left field, but Jackie Bradley Jr. made a nice running play while charging in to end the frame.
7:10 p.m.: Aceves’ first pitch results in a fly ball to center. Jacoby Ellsbury made the grab, and we’re under way.
7:08 p.m.: The Red Sox have taken the field, and we’re almost ready for baseball at Fenway Park. Let’s hope the rain holds up, as it’s expected to.
6:45 p.m.: It’ll be interesting to see how Alfredo Aceves fares in his first start of 2013. As much heat as the right-hander has taken during the offseason and early on this season, his ability to start is exactly why he still holds a valuable role on the Red Sox.
Aceves didn’t start any games last season, but he started four with the Sox in 2011. Manager John Farrell said before Thursday’s game that there will be no hard pitch count for the righty. The hope instead is that he can get into the sixth inning — and perhaps beyond.
It’s also worth noting at this time that NESN will have coverage of both the Red Sox and Bruins on Thursday night. The Sox will air on NESN, while the B’s will air on NESNplus. If you’re unsure of your NESNplus channel, check out the listings at the link below.
4:57 p.m.: Daniel Nava has made the most of his opportunities thus far, and he’s making it nearly impossible for manager John Farrell to take him out of the starting lineup.
Nava will serve as the DH and bat sixth on Thursday night. He’ll look to continue his streak of three straight games with a home run. Nava is the first Red Sox player to homer in three straight games since David Ortiz (June 17-June 20, 2012), and he’s the first Red Sox switch-hitter to go deep in three straight since Jose Offerman (May 5-May 8, 2001).
Nava has reached base in 12 of his 21 plate appearances this season. He’s hitting .467 (7-for-15) with the three blasts and seven RBIs.
Stephen Drew will get his second start of the season on Thursday. He went 0-for-4 in his season debut on Wednesday.
The rest of Thursday’s lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Daniel Nava, DH
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Jackie Bradley Jr., LF
Alfredo Aceves, RHP
Nate McLouth, LF
Manny Machado, 3B
Nick Markakis, DH
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Chris Dickerson, RF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Chris Tillman, RHP
10 a.m. ET: The Red Sox have won each of their series so far this season. To continue that streak, they’ll need to come through in the third and final matchup with the Orioles tonight after Baltimore stole one on a wet and wild Wednesday night.
Starting for the Red Sox (5-3) will be Alfredo Aceves, one of the more interesting holdovers from last year’s team. While Aceves has become known best for his antics around the team, the righty has also shown he can pitch. Used mostly as a long reliever, Aceves has pined for a starting opportunity, and he’ll get just that — even if it’s a spot appearance — as he takes the hill in place of John Lackey, who is out with an injured bicep.
Aceves has not been great so far this year, coming on in relief appearances against the Yankees and Blue Jays and allowing five earned runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings over two games. He’ll need to bring his best stuff to help the Sox spell their bullpen, which was used early and often in Wednesday night’s rain-altered game.
Chris Tillman takes the starting duties for the Orioles (4-4). The right-hander posted his best season in the bigs last year, going 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 15 starts, but he’s had a rough beginning to this year. He lasted just 3 2/3 innings against the Twins in his first start, giving up five earned runs and walking four.
The action starts here on NESN at 6 p.m., with first pitch ready to go at 7:10. Stay here for updates and analysis leading up to the game.