Final, Orioles 8-5: Jim Johnson retires the Red Sox in order and what looked to be a certain win ends in a crushing defeat.
The Orioles plated five runs off closer Joel Hanrahan in the ninth, marking the closer’s first blown save in a Red Sox uniform.
We’ll be back at it again tomorrow night, when these two teams face off in the rubber match of their three-game series.
Mid 9th, Orioles 8-5: Manny Machado must be reading the blog.
Ten minutes after we bemoan his early-season struggles, the third baseman jacks a Joel Hanrahan pitch over the Green Monster for a three-run homer, giving the O’s an 8-5 lead.
Needless to say, closer Joel Hanrahan did not have his best stuff in this inning.
The big closer surrendered a leadoff homer to Chris Davis and a two-out single to light-hitting second baseman Ryan Flaherty (light-hitting as in he was 0-for-17 on the season entering this inning and had already struck out three times tonight).
A walk by No. 9 hitter Nolan Reimold and another by Nate McLouth loaded the bases, and a wild pitch allowed pinch runner Alexi Casilla to come home with the tying run. Machado took care of the rest, clearing the bases on the second pitch he saw and sending Hanrahan to the dugout amid a cacophony of boos.
Andrew Miller struck out Nick Markakis to end the inning, but the Sox now have a three-run hole to dig themselves out of in the ninth.
End 8th, Red Sox 5-3: The Sox get nothing against O’Day and we go to the ninth.
Joel “The Hammer” Hanrahan will look to close this one out against Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-3: Manny Machado is mired in a sophomore slump, and the Fenway crowd is letting him hear it.
The young third baseman — who was greeted with “Maaa-nny” chants in his latest at-bat — popped out in foul territory in the eighth, likely ending an 0-for-4 night.
After taking the AL East by storm as a 19-year-old rookie last summer, Machado is currently suffering through a dismal second season, lowering his average to .176 (6-for-34) with his latest pop out.
Bailey ended the scoreless eighth with a pair of strikeouts, and submarine right-hander Darren O’Day will come on for the Birds.
End 7th, Red Sox 5-3: Nothing doing for Boston in the seventh, as the Sox go down in order.
Andrew Bailey enters for the Red Sox, and he will attempt to extend his scoreless streak to start the season against the top of the Orioles order.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-3: Tazawa strikes out Nolan Reimold swinging, completing a 1-2-3 seventh inning and drawing the greatest cheer yet from the Fenway faithful.
Boston pitchers have retired 11 consecutive Orioles, six of them by way of the K.
The bottom third of the O’s lineup has been especially unproductive as J.J. Hardy, Ryan Flaherty and Reimbold have combined to go 0-for-8 with a walk tonight.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-3: How about the season Daniel Nava is having so far.
Starting as the designated hitter tonight, Nava went yard for the third time in three games, sending Tommy Hunter’s offering into the Monster seats to give the Red Sox a 4-3 lead.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia followed suit the very next at-bat, taking Hunter deep for his first home run of the season and marking the second time Boston batters have hit back-to-back homers in the last three games.
But not to be overlooked was Will Middlebrooks’ at-bat before Daniel Nava came to the plate. The third baseman fouled off eight pitches in the strike zone before finally going down swinging, earning him a standing ovation from the fans near the Red Sox dugout.
Junichi Tazawa takes the mound for the Sox in the seventh.
Mid 6th, 3-3: Koji Uehara makes quick work of the meat of the Orioles lineup, sitting down Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters in order.
A greatly improved bullpen has been one of Boston’s strong suits in the young season, and Uehara has been at the forefront of that resurgence. He is in the midst of the most dominant stretch of his career, and this most recent 1-2-3 frame improves his scoreless streak to a career-best 14 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
Right-hander Tommy Hunter takes the mound for the O’s in the bottom of the sixth.
9:14 p.m.: It appears that Dempster is indeed done for the night, as right-hander Koji Uehara is now warming up in the bullpen. Uehara has not allowed a baserunner this season, striking out a pair through two perfect innings of work.
9:00 p.m.: And here we go. The tarp is off and the field crew is beginning the process of preparing the field for action. Fenway Park officials expect the game to resume around 9:20 p.m.
Adam Jones, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters will be due up for the O’s in the top of the sixth inning.
It will be interesting to see if Ryan Dempster returns to the mound after this delay with 93 pitches under his belt. The veteran has been somewhat inconsistent tonight, retiring the side in order in three innings but failing to find a rhythm in his other two. That, coupled with a lengthy layoff, may prompt John Farrell to dip into his bullpen when play resumes.
8:54 p.m.: I’m knocking on wood, but this delay seems to be winding down.
The rain has died down to a faint drizzle, and fans are beginning to flow back into the lower levels of the ballpark. The weather forecast shows less than a 10 percent chance of precipitation from now until 10 p.m., so hopefully the tarp will be off the field shortly.
End 5th, 3-3: The top of the Red Sox order fared no better than its Baltimore counterpart.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia went down in order in the fifth, and the field crew wasted no time rolling out the tarp.
That’s right folks, welcome to your first rain delay of the 2013 season. Hopefully these will just be some passing showers, but we’ll be here to keep you entertained while you wait. Stay tuned.
This Red Sox rain delay is presented by LL Bean.
Mid 5th, 3-3: That was just the inning Ryan Dempster needed.
After facing seven Baltimore batters in the fourth, the right-hander faced the minimum in the fifth, sitting down the top of the O’s order on a pair of strikeouts and a weak grounder.
The pair of K’s — by Nate McLouth and Manny Machado — brings Dempster’s strikeout total to six on the night to go along with just two walks.
End 4th, 3-3: Jarrod Saltalamacchia gave the ball a ride again, but the Red Sox were unable to capitalize.
Right fielder Nick Markakis misjudged the catcher’s line drive, resulting in a one-out double — Salty’s second of the night.
But the men behind him were unable to get the ball out of the infield, as Stephen Drew grounded out to first, sending Saltalamacchia to third, and Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his offering straight into the dirt, creating an easy play for pitcher Jake Arrieta.
The rain continues to come down here at Fenway, and it’s expected to throughout the night. We’ll see how long the umpires wait before pulling the plug.
Mid 4th, 3-3: So much for that two-run lead.
The Orioles struck back immediately in the fourth, with Nick Markakis getting the action started with his first home run of the season.
A single then put Adam Jones on base and a wild pitch sent him to second. After Chris Davis struck out, Jones came in to score when Jackie Bradley Jr. couldn’t handle a sharply hit single by Matt Wieters.
That would do it for the damage in the inning, but Dempster’s pitch count has already climbed to 81. He could be done for the night before the game’s halfway point if he doesn’t settle down.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: Jacoby Ellsbury has given the Sox their first lead of the night.
Jackie Bradley Jr. — who was not in the lineup on Monday after struggling in Toronto — drew Boston’s second walk of the game to open the inning, and Ellsbury wasted no time bringing him home.
The speedy center fielder ripped a low line drive into shallow left field and Nate McLouth timed his leap poorly, allowing the ball to roll to the warning track and Ellsbury to sprint to third base.
Though Bradley has struggled with the bat so far in his rookie season (3-for-21 through six games), he’s shown great patience at the plate and is tied with Dustin Pedroia for the team lead with six walks.
Ellsbury came home for the Sox’ third run on a fly out by Shane Victorino. Jake Arrieta then walked both Pedroia and Mike Napoli before getting Will Middlebrooks to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Mid 3rd, 1-1: Ryan Dempster has found his groove since that shaky first inning and has now retired six straight Orioles.
The ball didn’t leave the infield in the top of the third.
No. 9 hitter Nolan Reimold skied a high pop up that was settled under by Saltalamacchia for the first out, Nate McLouth grounded to Dustin Pedroia for the second and Manny Machado shattered his bat on a weak dribbler that was easily fielded by Dempster to end the frame.
End 2nd, 1-1: The Red Sox lifted four deep fly balls in second inning, and while three of them were easily caught, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s found the middle of the Green Monster in left-center field, bringing home Daniel Nava to tie the score.
After Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks flew out to center fielder Adam Jones, Nava — who has reached safely in every plate appearance this season — drew a four-pitch walk and came home on Salty’s wall-ball double.
Stephen Drew gave the ball a ride, as well, but Nate McLouth settled under it at the warning track to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Orioles 1-0: One thing Dempster did do well in his debut was strike batters out, and that trend is also continuing tonight.
After Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy grounded out to start the inning, Dempster sat down Ryan Flaherty with a high fastball for his third K of the night to retire the side in order.
Stephen Drew saw his first action in a Red Sox uniform in the inning, as well, fielding Hardy’s grounder and throwing to first for the out.
End 1st, Orioles 1-0: Jake Arrieta makes quick work of the Sox, retiring the side on just nine pitches.
The 6-foot-4 right-hander showed some serious zip on his fastball — which hovered around 95-96 miles per hour — and induced a pair of weak groundouts before striking out Dustin Pedroia looking to complete the 1-2-3.
Mid 1st, Orioles 1-0: Pitch efficiency was a problem point for Ryan Dempster in his first start, and it’s looking to be an issue again tonight.
An error by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury on a Manny Machado fly ball led to the only run in the inning, but Dempster’s pitch count is already up to 29.
He walked Nate McLouth to open the game before Machado’s fly ball fell between Ellsbury and right fielder Shane Victorino, allowing McLouth to advance to third. He come home on Nick Markakis’ groundout to first baseman Mike Napoli, and Dempster struck out both Adam Jones and Chris Davis to end the frame.
Ellsbury, Victorino and Dustin Pedroia are due up for the Sox against Jake Arrieta.
7:09 p.m.: Ryan Dempster’s first pitch to Nate McLouth is taken for strike one and we are under way as a light drizzle falls at Fenway.
6:45 p.m.: Tonight will be the first time in nearly a decade that the Red Sox will not be playing in front of a capacity home crowd.
The team announced minutes ago that tonight’s game has not sold out, breaking a streak of 794 regular-season sellouts (820 including playoffs) that marks the longest in American professional sports.
A crowd of 30,000+ is still expected to be on hand for tonight’s contest, which will get under way in just a few minutes.
5:45 p.m.: What were once clear blue skies have turned awfully threatening here at Fenway, and the temperature has dropped to 50 degrees just about 90 minutes before first pitch.
Forecasts still show less than a 20 percent chance of rain this evening, though, so let’s hope those showers hold off.
5 p.m.: Manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington addressed the Stephen Drew-Jose Iglesias situation in their pregame press conferences, and both stated that the team has never wavered from the original plan to start Drew when he was healthy.
Farrell said that Iglesias took his reassignment very professionally, and Drew assured the assembled media that he is finally feeling 100 percent after battling concussion symptoms for a full month.
While Ryan Dempster will make his regularly scheduled start tonight, the Sox rotation will take on a bit of a different look in the games to come. With John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list, Farrell will start Alfredo Aceves tomorrow night — citing the desire to use another right-hander against the Orioles at Fenway and take advantage of Aceves’ success against O’s catcher Matt Wieters — and shift usual No. 4 starter Felix Doubront to Saturday against the Rays.
3:45 p.m.: Here’s who’s starting for the Orioles:
Nate McLouth, LF
Manny Machado, 3B
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Ryan Flaherty, 2B
Nolan Reimold, DH
Jake Arrieta, P
3 p.m.: Today has been a busy day for the Red Sox already.
Earlier this afternoon, the team announced that Stephen Drew will make his first start of the season at shortstop. For those of you debating whether the team would stay with the hot bat of Jose Iglesias when Drew was healthy enough to return from his concussion, well, you have your answer. Iglesias was sent down to Pawtucket.
The Sox also placed right-hander John Lackey on the 15-day disabled list and announced that Alfredo Aceves will make his first start of the year Thursday night in the series finale.
Here is the Sox’ starting lineup for tonight:
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
Ryan Dempster, P
8 a.m. ET: We’re only seven games into a 162-game season, but Red Sox fans have to be pleased with their team’s performance so far.
The 5-2 start is Boston’s best since 2006, and the Sox have already taken two out of three games against division rivals in New York and Toronto. They’ll try to add a third team to that list Wednesday night when the Orioles visit Fenway Park for the second tilt of a three-game series.
Boston got the best of the O’s on Monday, with Clay Buchholz tossing seven scoreless innings and Daniel Nava launching a three-run home run onto Lansdowne Street in a 3-1 win in the home opener.
Ryan Dempster and Jake Arrieta will take the mound Wednesday for the Sox and Orioles, respectively, and both are searching for more favorable results than they found in their first outings. Dempster was serviceable last Thursday at Yankee Stadium (three runs, five hits, four walks, eight strikeouts), but his teammates couldn’t solve Andy Pettitte in a 4-2 loss. He’ll be looking for his first win in a Red Sox uniform in his first home start at Fenway.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., with coverage beginning on NESN at 6 p.m. Be sure to check back throughout the day for a breakdown of the starting lineups and all your pregame analysis from the ballpark.