Final, Red Sox 9-2: The Red Sox exploded for four runs in the first inning, and they kept tacking on late in the game to secure a 9-2 victory in the series finale.
Jacoby Ellsbury was the big story in this one. Ellsbury, who reached base five times via three singles and two walks, set a Red Sox single-game record with five stolen bases.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia also turned in a nice night at the plate, hammering a two-run double in the first inning and another RBI double in the ninth inning. Jose Iglesias, meanwhile, recorded his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
Franklin Morales earned the win for Boston after going five strong innings in his first start of 2013. The left-hander allowed two runs on four hits, while striking out two and walking two. He threw 79 pitches (49 strikes), and even looked like he wanted to continue pitching as John Farrell took him out. (Both runs that Morales surrendered came on Delmon Young’s first-inning home run.)
The Red Sox, who took two of their four games against the Phillies, will now head to the Bronx for a three-game series with the Yankees. Things should be intense from the get-go, as Jon Lester and CC Sabathia will square off in Game 1.
Friday’s game is scheduled to start up 7:05 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and check back with NESN.com throughout the day.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 9-2: The Red Sox now hold a commanding lead, as they pushed across three more runs in the ninth.
Jackie Bradley Jr., batting for the first time, singled into left field to pick up his first hit since being recalled on Wednesday. The hit also broke up an 0-for-21 slump that Bradley was in at the major league level.
Mike Napoli nearly added two runs by himself, but his drive to right field plunked off the wall. Bradley scampered to third base, setting up runners at the corners for Stephen Drew.
Drew grounded to second base, but Cesar Hernandez’s only play was to first. That plated Bradley with Boston’s seventh run and sent Napoli up to second.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia then missed a home run by inches, and ended up with an RBI double. Salty had a two-run double back in the first inning, so the ninth-inning RBI really slaps a bow on a nice effort by the Boston backstop.
Jose Iglesias added one more run with an RBI double to left field. He’s 2-for-5 in the game, and he now has six multi-hit games this season. That’s in limited big league action, too.
Andrew Bailey will pitch the ninth inning for the Sox.
End 8th, Red Sox 6-2: Junichi Tazawa yielded a two-out hit to Cesar Hernandez, but that was the only offense generated by Philadelphia in the eighth inning.
Tazawa struck out Laynce Nix and Ben Revere before Hernandez’s two-out knock. The right-hander showed some great downward movement on his pitches to both hitters.
It was somewhat surprising to see Tazawa enter the game after Clayton Mortensen batted for himself in the top of the eighth, but that was the case, and he got the job done.
Jimmy Rollins grounded out to the inning.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-2: Jacoby Ellsbury made history in the eighth inning.
Ellsbury, who reached base for the fifth time with a two-out single, picked up his fifth stolen base of the game. That’s a new Red Sox single-game stolen base record.
Ellsbury is 3-for-3 with three singles and two walks. His fifth stolen base came with Michael Stutes pitching. Erik Kratz’s throw from behind the plate actually traveled into center field, allowing Ellsbury to advance to third base, but the Red Sox didn’t do any more damage on the scoreboard.
Ellsbury now leads the American League with 21 thefts on the season.
Junichi Tazawa will pitch the bottom of the eighth for Boston.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-2: Clayton Mortensen hit Erik Kratz with two outs. It was an offspeed pitch and there was obviously no intent, though.
That was the only runner to reach against Mortensen in the seventh.
Mortensen struck out Domonic Brown, who has been a thorn in the Red Sox’ side, to begin the inning. The right-hander then wrapped two groundouts after the hit batsman.
Mortensen is scheduled to bat second in the top of the eighth, so we’ll see if John Farrell lets him hit in order to get another inning out of him.
The Red Sox have already made a few changes in this game. Jackie Bradley Jr. is now playing left field, and Mike Napoli is playing first base.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-2: David Ortiz just got under Jonathan Papelbon’s offering in the ninth inning of Wednesday’s game. He didn’t miss Jeremy Horst’s pitch in the seventh inning of this one.
Ortiz lifted a 1-1 fastball into the right-field seats to push the Red Sox’ lead back to four runs. The Sox, of course, grabbed a four-run lead in the first inning, but the Phillies cut into the deficit with a two-run inning of their own.
Ortiz’s night could be over, as Mike Napoli pinch-hit for Mike Carp. If it is, that’s a heck of a way to go out.
End 6th, Red Sox 5-2: Craig Breslow was the first Red Sox reliever called upon, and he made quick work of the Phillies in the sixth inning.
Breslow retired Cesar Hernandez, Jimmy Rollins and Delmon Young in order. Hernandez and Rollins both grounded out, and Young struck out.
Breslow got Young swinging on a 92-mph fastball.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-2: Who says Jonny Gomes can’t hit lefties?
John Farrell called upon Gomes with two outs in the sixth inning, even with left-hander Jeremy Horst pitching, and Gomes rewarded the skipper’s faith by launching a solo homer.
The decision actually wasn’t all that difficult for Farrell to make, with Franklin Morales due up and a desire to save Mike Napoli for the later innings. But Gomes’ home run off a lefty is a welcome surprise for the Red Sox, nonetheless.
Gomes got a pitch down and in, and he drove it into the seats in left-center field.
Jacoby Ellsbury kept causing trouble in the sixth inning as well. He was hit by a pitch immediately after Gomes’ home run — which prompted warnings to be issued to both sides — and he proceeded to swipe two more bases. That gives Ellsbury four stolen bases in the game and an AL-leading 20 this season.
End 5th, Red Sox 4-2: Franklin Morales’ outing appears to be over, but the left-hander provided the Red Sox with exactly what they needed.
Morales, who gave up two runs in the first inning, settled down nicely. If this is the end of his night — and it looks that way with John Farrell giving Morales a congratulatory handshake in the dugout and Craig Breslow warming up in the bullpen — Morales ended the start with a solid frame.
Freddy Galvis popped out, and Michael Martinez and Ben Revere lined out. Martinez — pinch-hitting for Phillies starter Jonathan Pettibone — hit a rocket down to third base, but Jose Iglesias made a leaping catch for the second out of the inning.
Morales went five innings in his first start since being activated off the disabled list. He allowed two runs on four hits, striking out two and walking two. The only runs against Morales came on Delmon Young’s first-inning homer.
Morales tossed 79 pitches (48 strikes). It looks like he wants to stay in the game a little longer, but that isn’t going to happen, especially with him scheduled to bat third in the sixth inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-2: David Ortiz walked to lead off the fifth inning, but this time, the Phillies benefited from an inning-ending double play.
Mike Carp flied out to center field after Ortiz’s leadoff walk. Then, Stephen Drew bounced a four-seamer over to second baseman Cesar Hernandez. Hernandez tagged Ortiz between first and second, spun and tossed to first to complete the double play.
Hernandez is playing in just his second major league game. He already picked up a hit earlier. Toss in this nifty double play, and it’s already a good night for the rookie.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Nothing kills a rally quite like a double play.
Franklin Morales escaped a huge jam in the fourth inning via a 6-4-3 twin killing, and the Red Sox still own a 4-2 lead.
Morales, who began to pound the strike zone a lot more frequently in the third inning, struggled with his control in the fourth. Walks to Jimmy Rollins and Kevin Frandsen, along with a single by Domonic Brown, loaded the bases for Philadelphia with one out.
After Frandsen’s free pass loaded the bases, Red Sox pitching coach Juan Nieves went out to the mound for a chat, and it proved to be an important conversation. Morales, who almost threw a couple of wild pitches in the inning (credit Jarrod Saltalamacchia for saving the day), induced a ground ball with Erik Kratz at the plate to squash the rally.
Stephen Drew and Dustin Pedroia each chipped in nicely on the double play. Drew charged in and made a quick toss to Pedroia, who needed to dive to his right while firing a strong throw to first.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 4-2: Jacoby Ellsbury is really starting to elevate his game.
Ellsbury walked for the second time in the fourth inning, and he’s now been on base three times. Ellsbury then stole his second base of the contest, giving him an American League-leading 18 thefts on the season.
The Red Sox couldn’t cash in on Ellsbury’s magic, though. Franklin Morales struck out before Ellsbury went to work in the fourth inning, and Daniel Nava and Dustin Pedroia both flied out against Jonathan Pettibone to end the frame.
Pettbone — like Morales — is starting to settle in a bit.
End 3rd, Red Sox 4-2: Franklin Morales is starting to pound the strike zone, and that’s typically when he’s at the top of his game.
Morales struck out his counterpart, Jonathan Pettibone, to begin the inning, and then Mike Carp took part in what was essentially some fielding practice.
Ben Revere and Cesar Hernandez hit nearly identical line drives to Carp in left field, and Carp hauled in both of them.
Carp has been busy early on, and he’s handled the workload well. Carp had some trouble in the field on Wednesday, so he’s certainly making some adjustments.
Morales tossed 12 pitches in the inning, and seven of them came against Pettibone. The left-hander has thrown 44 pitches overall, and his pitch limit is expected to be around 80-85 pitches in his first start of the season.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-2: Stephen Drew walked with one down, but that was the only hiccup of the inning for Jonathan Pettibone, who labored through the first two innings.
Pettibone sandwiched Drew’s walk between strikeouts against Mike Carp and Jarrod Saltalamacchia — both of whom drove in runs as part of Boston’s four-run first inning. Both hitters went down swinging on a fastball.
The inning ended with Jose Iglesias lining out to second base. Cesar Hernandez made a good sliding grab to snag the liner in the air.
End 2nd, Red Sox 4-2: Franklin Morales settled down in the second inning after surrendering a two-run homer in the first.
Morales retired Kevin Frandsen, Erik Kratz and Freddy Galvis in order.
Jose Iglesias made a nice backhanded play down the line at third base and delivered a strong throw to first to end the inning. That’s encouraging, considering Iglesias is still settling in down at the hot corner since being recalled.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 4-2: The Red Sox stranded a pair of runners in the second inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who singled in his first at-bat, worked a one-out walk to start up a little rally. He then wreaked some havoc on the basepaths, swiping second base with two outs and Dustin Pedroia at the plate.
Pedroia ended up hitting a chopper down to third base. Freddy Galvis charged in and tried to make a barehanded play, but the ball shot past him. Ellsbury took a wide turn around third base, but Jimmy Rollins did a nice job of backing Galvis up and keeping Ellsbury at third.
David Ortiz then lifted a fly ball to center field. At first glance, it looked like it might carry, as that’s been the case at Citizens Bank Park thus far. However, Ben Revere had plenty of room to make the inning-ending grab with runners stranded at the corners.
End 1st, Red Sox 4-2: The ball is flying out of the park already.
The Phillies connected on three home runs in Wednesday’s game, and Delmon Young cut Philadelphia’s deficit in half with a long ball in the first inning of this game.
Cesar Hernandez, who made his major league debut on Wednesday, picked up his first career hit in the first inning. That helped pave the way for Young’s two-out dinger, which landed in the seats in right-center field.
Domonic Brown, who launched two homers on Wednesday, singled after Young went deep. He was caught stealing to end the inning, though.
Franklin Morales was a little shaky in his first inning of the season, but his pickoff move helped keep Brown close to the bag at first, ultimately setting up the inning-ending caught-stealing.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 4-0: The Red Sox’ offense has been treacherous for rookie starting pitchers this season. Jonathan Pettibone is looking like the next victim.
The Red Sox wasted no time in building a 4-0 lead in the first inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single into left field, and Daniel Nava followed with a base hit up the middle past the outstretched glove of Cesar Hernandez. Ellsbury threw on the jets, rounded second and cruised into third base to set up runners at the corners with no outs.
With Dustin Pedroia at the plate, Nava started, stopped and then started again toward second base. Pedroia bounced a ground ball to second, but because Nava was already motoring toward the bag, the Phillies were unable to turn a double play. Instead, Hernandez fired to first for the sure out while Ellsbury scored the game’s first run.
David Ortiz, who is getting the start at first base, walked on five pitches before Mike Carp extended the Red Sox’ lead with an RBI single into right field.
Stephen Drew struck out swinging for the second out, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled Boston’s offense by pulling a two-run double down into the right-field corner.
The Red Sox scored just four runs total over the last two games, but they’re already rolling in this one.
7:07 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury takes the first pitch of the game for a ball, and we’re underway.
6:56 p.m.: Lou Ferrigno to the Phillie Phanatic. If that’s not the best first pitch ever thrown, I don’t know what is.
5:45 p.m.: It’ll be nice to see Franklin Morales for the first time this season. Morales entered spring training with a lower back strain, and then developed an issue in his pectoral muscle during his 30-day rehab stint, but he’s ready to roll now.
If Morales can pitch like he did last season, he could become a valuable contributor. Morales is capable of serving as both a reliever and a spot starter, and he was actually one of Boston’s few bright spots during a disappointing 2012 season.
Morales went 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 37 games overall last season. He went 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in nine starts.
5:12 p.m.: The ideal scenario for the Red Sox, obviously, is to have David Ortiz serve as the designated hitter. Ortiz has actually hit well while playing first base in the past, though.
Ortiz has hit 19 home runs in 169 at-bats while playing first base since the start of 2005. His 8.89 at-bats per homer as a first baseman leads the majors among those with a minimum of 100 plate appearances.
4:14 p.m.: David Ortiz and Mike Napoli will flip-flop on Thursday. Napoli, who started Wednesday’s game, will get the night off, while Ortiz will play first base and hit cleanup.
Mike Carp will get another start in left field with a right-hander on the hill, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will be behind the dish for Franklin Morales’ first action of 2013.
The rest of Thursday’s lineups are below.
Red Sox (32-22)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Daniel Nava, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, 1B
Mike Carp, LF
Stephen Drew, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Franklin Morales, LHP (0-0 —)
Ben Revere, CF
Cesar Hernandez, 2B
Jimmy Rollins, SS
D. Young, RF
Domonic Brown, LF
Kevin Frandsen, 1B
Erik Kratz, C
Freddy Galvis, 3B
Jonathan Pettibone, RHP (3-0, 3.21 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox did their best to exact some revenge against Jonathan Papelbon on Wednesday, but the Phillies closer ultimately did his job and secured a second straight win for Philadelphia.
The Sox and Phils will close out their home-and-home series on Thursday with a clash in The City of Brotherly Love. On Wednesday, the Red Sox made a valiant effort to rally from two runs down in the ninth inning, but Papelbon got Daniel Nava to ground out to end the game with the potential tying run on third base and the potential winning run on second.
Franklin Morales, who was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, will now be under some increased pressure when making his season debut on Thursday. The Red Sox certainly want to avoid losing three straight, especially with three games coming up against the Yankees this weekend.
Morales will be opposed by rookie Jonathan Pettibone. It marks the sixth time this season that Boston will face a rookie starting pitcher. The previous five rookie starters who went up against the Red Sox put together a 11.65 ERA (22 earned runs in 17 innings). That certainly bodes well for Boston, but as Philadelphia has proven the last two nights, there’s no such thing as a gimme.
Thursday’s action is scheduled to kick off at 7:05 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN and follow along right here.