Final, Orioles 2-0: The shutout is complete.
Jim Johnson struck out Mike Carp to begin the ninth inning. He then plunked Daniel Nava, but any potential rally was snuffed out before it got off the ground. Jose Iglesias grounded a first-pitch fastball to short, where J.J. Hardy kicked off a game-ending double play.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman twirled six shutout innings to earn his seventh win of the season. He walked four batters and gave up three hits, but the Red Sox’ offense couldn’t generate any momentum against the right-hander, and Baltimore grabbed a 2-0 victory.
Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter and Johnson combined to finish off the Red Sox, who received a gritty pitching performance from Ryan Dempster.
Dempster nearly tossed a complete game, as he pitched into the eighth inning and recorded two outs before Koji Uehara entered to escape a bases-loaded jam. Dempster gave up two earned runs on five hits while walking five and striking out four. He threw 122 pitches (69 strikes) in the losing effort.
Baltimore’s first run came on a second-inning home run by Chris Davis. It was Davis’ major league-leading 22nd of the season, and he continues to solidify himself as one of the biggest power threats in baseball.
The O’s second run came on a little dribbler in the third inning. Dempster made a pretty good pitch to Adam Jones, but Jones hit a slow ground ball to third base that plated Nate McLouth.
The Red Sox will look to bounce back on Saturday after dropping the first two games of the four-game set. John Lackey will go up against Freddy Garcia in a game that’s scheduled to kick off at 4:05 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Orioles 2-0: Koji Uehara needed just three pitches to strike out J.J. Hardy with the bases loaded. We’ll head to the ninth inning with the score still 2-0.
Manny Machado led off the eighth inning with a double. It was his second double of the game and his league-leading 30th of the season.
Machado advanced to third when Nick Markakis grounded out to second base. At that point, the Red Sox pulled the infield in. It’s a move that benefited them, as Adam Jones grounded to second base, but Machado couldn’t score from third because of Boston’s defensive alignment.
Dempster walked Chris Davis intentionally to set up a showdown with Matt Wieters. The right-hander walked Wieters to end his night and load the bases, but Uehara took care of business upon entering the game.
Mike Carp, Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias are due up against Orioles closer Jim Johnson in the ninth inning.
9:41 p.m., Orioles 2-0: Ryan Dempster really battled. He’ll exit with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth inning.
Dempster was left in to face Matt Wieters, but he missed high with a 3-1 pitch, and his night will end after 122 pitches.
Koji Uehara will enter to try and keep Boston’s deficit at two runs.
Mid 8th, Orioles 2-0: Tommy Hunter was excellent on Thursday, and he was equally as impressive in this one.
Hunter took care of Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz in order in the eighth, and the Red Sox are now three outs away from being shut out by the Orioles.
Victorino popped out in the infield before Pedroia and Ortiz each flied out. Ortiz actually gave one a pretty good ride, but Adam Jones sized it up in center field right off the bat.
Mike Carp, Daniel Nava and Jose Iglesias are due up for Boston in the ninth inning. It’s important that the deficit doesn’t grow.
Ryan Dempster will start the bottom of the eighth, although with action in the bullpen and his pitch count climbing, he’ll likely be on a short leash.
End 7th, Orioles 2-0: Ryan Dempster has turned in a nice performance, and it’s much-needed.
Dempster has given the Red Sox seven solid innings a night after the bullpen was taxed during a 13-inning loss. When you also factor in Monday’s 14-inning game against the Rays, it was crucial for Dempster to work deep into this game, and he’s done just that.
Dempster retired the Orioles in order in the seventh inning. The highlight came on the inning’s final out.
Nate McLouth lifted a fly ball down the left-field line. Daniel Nava ranged over, went into a slide and made a great grab in foul territory.
Dempster’s solid pitching performance and the club’s good defense will go for naught, however, if the bats don’t wake up. Shane Victorino, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are due up in the eighth.
Mid 7th, Orioles 2-0: Chris Tillman has a chance to pick up the win.
Darren O’Day took over after Jose Iglesias’ good piece of hitting resulted in a leadoff double, and he retired the three hitters he faced.
Will Middlebrooks, who is really struggling to drive the ball, popped out into shallow center field beyond the second base bag for the first out.
O’Day, who features a funky side-arm delivery, then struck out David Ross for the second out. Ross has struck out twice in this game, and he didn’t seem to stand much of a chance against the nasty O’Day.
Jacoby Ellsbury got a pretty good piece of a first-pitch sinker with two outs. His bid to pepper the left-center field gap came up short, though. Adam Jones coasted over and hauled the fly ball in for the third out.
9:04 p.m., Orioles 2-0: Chris Tillman, who had retired eight in a row, came back out to begin the seventh inning. He’ll depart after giving up a leadoff double to Jose Iglesias.
Tillman threw 106 pitches in the outing, and Buck Showalter will now turn to Darren O’Day and the Orioles’ bullpen.
End 6th, Orioles 2-0: Ryan Dempster breezed through the sixth inning.
Dempster made quick work of Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy.
Davis, who homered in the second inning, struck out swinging for the first out. Wieters and Hardy then grounded out to second base and third base, respectively.
Dempster is now up to 91 pitches after needing just eight to get through the sixth inning.
Mid 6th, Orioles 2-0: Chris Tillman is finding a rhythm. He has now retired eight in a row.
Tillman sat down David Ortiz, Mike Carp and Daniel Nava in the sixth inning. Ortiz and Carp both flied out, and Nava struck out.
Tillman actually fell behind Nava 3-1 after throwing a first-pitch strike. He regained his composure, though, and he fanned Nava on a fastball up in the zone.
Tillman has three strikeouts and four walks in this contest. He’s really settling in, and a big reason is his offspeed stuff. Tillman’s curveball has become very effective.
End 5th, Orioles 2-0: Baltimore’s third run was 90 feet away, but it never came across.
Nate McLouth, who is always dangerous once he gets on the basepaths, walked to begin the inning. McLouth has walked twice in this contest, and that’s one thing you most definitely want to avoid as a pitcher.
Ryan Dempster struck out Manny Machado for the first out. Then, the Red Sox called for a first-pitch pitchout with Nick Markakis batting. It was the right decision, as McLouth was indeed running, but David Ross delivered an uncharacteristically bad throw to second base.
McLouth moved to third base when Markakis grounded out to Mike Carp at first. Dempster stranded him there by getting Adam Jones to lift a fly ball to Jacoby Ellsbury in center.
Mid 5th, Orioles 2-0: Chris Tillman has given the Red Sox some chances throughout this game. He wasn’t so kind in the fifth inning.
Tillman took care of the top of the Red Sox’ order rather quickly during a 1-2-3 frame.
Jacoby Ellsbury struck out swinging to begin the fifth. Tillman went with five straight fastballs before dropping a filthy hook on Ellsbury to pick up the strikeout.
Shane Victorino then flied out to center field, and Dustin Pedroia grounded out to short.
End 4th, Orioles 2-0: The O’s didn’t cash in with a runner in scoring position.
Matt Wieters kicked off the bottom of the fourth inning with a ground ball back to the mound that Ryan Dempster took care of.
Dempster then put himself into trouble. He walked J.J. Hardy with one out, and he subsequently threw a wild pitch that enabled Hardy to move up to second base.
Fortunately for the Sox, Dempster found his control after the wild pitch. He struck out Chris Dickerson for the second time, and he got Ryan Flaherty to ground out to first.
Mid 4th, Orioles 2-0: Chris Tillman has given the Red Sox baserunners. The Sox just haven’t done anything with them.
Tillman issued a leadoff walk to Mike Carp, marking the right-hander’s fourth walk of the contest. It ended up going the same way Tillman’s other three walks went, as the Red Sox failed to score yet again.
This particular threat was Boston’s most substantial. After Carp advanced to second base on Daniel Nava’s groundout, Jose Iglesias dropped down a bunt. Iglesias failed on a bunt attempt in his first at-bat, but this bunt did the trick. Manny Machado made a nice barehanded play, but his throw to first wasn’t delivered in time.
Iglesias’ bunt single set up runners at the corners with one out. It was a golden opportunity for Boston to get on the board and establish some momentum. Tillman snuffed out the rally, though.
Tillman jammed Will Middlebrooks, who shattered his bat while flying out to shallow right field. The ball wasn’t hit deep enough to plate Carp from third base.
Tillman exited the inning by striking out David Ross, who just looked overmatched.
End 3rd, Orioles 2-0: The Orioles’ second run came in much different fashion than the first run.
Ryan Dempster started the inning off by retiring Ryan Flaherty on a ground ball to second base. Things got more difficult as the inning went on.
Nate McLouth, who ranks second in the American League in stolen bases behind Jacoby Ellsbury, walked with one out. Manny Machado then singled to put runners at first and second.
Dempster didn’t make a bad two-strike pitch to Machado, but the 20-year-old did an excellent job of protecting the plate. He went the other way with a fastball on the outside corner.
Nick Markakis flied out to center field for the second out, but the speedy McLouth tagged up and advanced to third. That was big, as McLouth scored on Dempster’s next pitch.
Dempster threw a pretty good slider low and away to Adam Jones, but Jones went up hacking and hit a little dribbler down the third base line. Will Middlebrooks charged in to make a barehanded play, but his throw to first wasn’t in time, and Markakis crossed the plate with Baltimore’s second run.
Chris Davis, who homered in the third inning, hit a ball right on the screws with two outs. Fortunately for the Red Sox, it was right at Dustin Pedroia, and Dempster avoided any additional damage.
Mid 3rd, Orioles 1-0: Chris Tillman isn’t letting his brief lapses in control get to him.
Tillman walked Shane Victorino with one out, giving him three walks for the game, but he again worked around it to keep the Red Sox off the scoreboard.
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to second base to begin the inning. After Victorino’s walk, Dustin Pedroia popped out into foul territory along the first base line and David Ortiz flied out lazily to left field.
End 2nd, Orioles 1-0: Man, is Chris Davis a powerful specimen or what?
The Red Sox played Davis to pull in the second inning, and what does the slugger do? He flips a little four-seam fastball on the outside corner into the left field seats to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
The home run was Davis’ 22nd of the season, and it continues what has been a special season for him. It’s amazing how much he’s improved his plate presence since his days in Texas.
Ryan Dempster, to his credit, settled down to retire the next three hitters in order. He struck out Chris Dickerson looking to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Chris Tillman issued a leadoff walk to Daniel Nava. It didn’t come back to haunt him.
Tillman got ahead of Nava 1-2. Nava showed the great discipline that’s been a hallmark of his game this year, though, and he ended up laying off a high, 3-2 fastball to earn the free pass.
Tillman retired the next three hitters — Jose Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and David Ross — in order.
Iglesias made solid contact, but Manny Machado used all of his 6-foot-3 frame to make a lunging grab down at third base.
David Ross then put a charge into one and sent Nick Markakis running toward the right field corner with two outs, but Markakis also took care of business.
End 1st, 0-0: The Orioles also threatened a bit in the first inning.
Manny Machado, who continues to develop into one of baseball’s best young players, doubled down the left field line with one out to get things going.
Machado advanced to third when Nick Markakis rolled a ground ball over to first base. Ryan Dempster made sure he didn’t cross the plate with the game’s first run, though. Dempster retired Adam Jones on a groundout to short.
Catcher David Ross deserves credit for his effort in the first inning. Ross, who missed time with a concussion this season, took another foul ball off the mask, and he made a great block on a pitch in the dirt with Jones batting to save a run.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Mike Carp, who is playing in place of the sick Mike Napoli, almost made it two straight games with a home run.
Jacoby Ellsbury grounded out to begin the game, and Shane Victorino followed with a sinking single into center field.
Orioles starter Chris Tillman then retired Dustin Pedroia on a flyout to right field before losing a battle with David Ortiz.
Tillman, whose velocity was below what it typically is in the first inning, jumped ahead of Ortiz with a first-pitch strike, but he threw four straight balls to award the slugger first base. Tillman’s fastball has been sitting around 88-90 mph, and he missed with three straight changeups to Ortiz.
Mike Carp, who homered on Thursday after replacing Napoli in the third inning, nearly got the Red Sox off to a big start. He hammered a fly ball to deep right field, but Nick Markakis retreated and made the play right before the wall.
7:07 p.m.: Chris Tillman’s first pitch is a ball, and we’re underway.
6:50 p.m.: Before we go any further, I’d like to wish a happy birthday to the U.S. Army and the American Flag. Happy Flag Day, everyone.
Since words don’t really do my enthusiasm any justice, I’ll let Hacksaw Jim Duggan take it away.
6:42 p.m.: John Farrell certainly has his hands full nowadays.
Managing the bullpen, which continues to receive a heavy workload, is a challenge, as is managing the left side of Boston’s infield.
Jose Iglesias just keeps producing, and by doing so, it’s difficult to take him out of the lineup. The result is some major — albeit friendly — competition among Iglesias, Will Middlebrooks and Stephen Drew.
Iglesias enters Friday’s game with a hit in 14 straight games in which he’s had an at-bat. He’s batting .440 (22-for-50) and has eight multi-hit games during that stretch.
6:12 p.m.: Anyone else excited to see Rubby De La Rosa in action? The kid has tremendous stuff.
5:46 p.m.: Friday’s lineups have been posted.
Jose Iglesias will get the start at shortstop, while Will Middlebrooks will stay in the lineup down at third base. That means Stephen Drew is the odd man out for this one.
Mike Carp will get the start at first base. Mike Napoli left Thursday’s game in the third inning because of illness, so Carp will take his place and bat fifth on Friday.
The rest of Friday’s lineups are below.
Red Sox (41-27)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
David Ross, C
Ryan Dempster, RHP (4-6, 4.40 ERA)
Nate McLouth, LF
Manny Machado, 3B
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Chris Dickerson, DH
Ryan Flaherty, 2B
Chris Tillman, RHP (6-2, 3.89 ERA)
5:03 p.m.: There’s some Red Sox news to report before game time. The club made a couple of transactions.
The Red Sox announced that they have traded infielder Pedro Ciriaco to the Padres in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Ciriaco played well during the 2012 season, but he struggled out of the gate this year. With Jose Iglesias’ emergence, Ciriaco, who was designated for assignment on Monday, became expendable. The versatile 27-year-old hit .216 (11-for-51) in 28 games for the Sox this season.
The Red Sox also announced that they have called up hard-throwing right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. De La Rosa will take the place of reliever Alex Wilson, who was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket following Thursday’s game.
De La Rosa, who has tremendous potential, will bring some nasty stuff to the Red Sox’ pitching staff. He was being stretched out as a starter down at Triple-A, but he’ll likely be available out of the bullpen.
Wilson, who has pitched well for the Red Sox this season, was shipped back to the minors out of necessity. The Red Sox really need a fresh arm, and Wilson became the roster casualty because he has options available.
8 a.m. ET: Thursday’s loss stings, if you’re the Red Sox.
Not only did the Sox miss out on an opportunity to extend their lead in the American League East, but they battled for 13 innings in the defeat. That’s grueling for a team that also had a 14-inning contest on Monday.
The Red Sox’ bullpen has been worked, to say the least. The combination of extra innings and questions in the rotation has John Farrell in a difficult situation when it comes to managing the pitching staff. His life will become a whole lot easier, though, if the starters can give the Red Sox solid innings throughout the rest of this weekend series against the Orioles.
It starts with Ryan Dempster on Friday. Dempster, who enters with a 4-6 record and 4.40 ERA, has had an up-and-down season. He’s had some shaky outings, but he’s also put together some solid efforts. The right-hander went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits while striking out six in his last start against the Angels on Sunday. Boston won that game, 10-5.
On Friday, Dempster will go up against Chris Tillman, who has been Baltimore’s best starter this season. Tillman enters with a 6-2 record and 3.89 ERA for a pitching staff that has been unimpressive thus far.
Friday’s first pitch at Camden Yards is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and follow along right here with NESN.com’s live blog. It should be a blast.