Final, Red Sox 6-3: David Ortiz wasted no time in sending everyone home happy.
Jonny Gomes ripped a double into the left-center field gap to lead off the ninth inning. The Rangers then decided to walk Dustin Pedroia with first base open, and it appears Ortiz took offense to the move.
Ortiz jumped all over the first pitch he saw from Michael Kirkman, and he sent it into the Rangers’ bullpen for a walk-off, three-run homer.
The Red Sox trailed 3-0 in the game, but they showed the fight that they’ve shown all season. Dustin Pedroia smacked a two-run double in the third inning, and Mike Napoli’s RBI forceout tied the game in the seventh inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury had four hits, including two doubles, in his first game back after missing the last five with a groin injury. Gomes also had four hits, and Jose Iglesias reached base four times via a single and three walks.
The Red Sox will open up a three-game series with the Angels on Friday. Felix Doubront will get the start, and the action is scheduled to kick off at 7:10 p.m.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, 3-3: Andrew Bailey scattered a hit, and the Rangers put a runner into scoring position. He escaped unscathed, though, and the Red Sox will come up in the bottom of the ninth inning needing just one run to walk away winners.
Jurickson Profar led off with a bloop single into center field, and he moved up when Elvis Andrus finally got down a sacrifice bunt.
Profar wouldn’t advance any further, though. David Murphy popped out in foul territory along the third base line, and Lance Berkman struck out to end the inning.
Jonny Gomes, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz are due up for Boston in the ninth.
End 8th, 3-3: Tanner Scheppers did something that no one else has been able to do all game — retire Jacoby Ellsbury.
Scheppers entered the game, and John Farrell immediately called upon a pinch hitter. Mike Carp batted for David Ross.
Scheppers took care of Carp for the first out of the inning. Carp laid off a 98-mph fastball, but he couldn’t lay off a curveball in the dirt, and Scheppers picked up the strikeout.
Jose Iglesias then walked with one down, but the free pass didn’t really materialize into a threat.
Stephen Drew pinch-hit for Pedro Ciriaco, and he, like Carp, chased a two-strike pitch out of the zone. Drew fanned on a curveball low and inside for the second out.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who was 4-for-4, strolled up, and Scheppers managed to retire him via a ground ball to short.
Andrew Bailey will pitch the ninth inning for Boston in the hopes of keeping the game tied. If the Red Sox win this one, it’ll be in walk-off fashion, so fasten the ol’ seatbelt.
Drew will remain in the game as the new shortstop as Iglesias shifts to third base. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will take over behind the plate.
Mid 8th, 3-3: Koji Uehara was excellent in the eighth inning.
Uehara struck out both A.J. Pierzynski and Jeff Baker to begin the inning, and Leonys Martin flied out harmlessly to center field for the final out.
Pierzynski went down waving at a splitter, while Baker struck out looking on a sneaky quick fastball. Uehara needed just three pitches to dispose of Baker.
End 7th, 3-3: The Red Sox were one step away from failing to cash in on another huge opportunity. Mike Napoli beat out the back end of a double play bid, though, and we’re all tied up.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the seventh inning with a double down the right field line. Ellsbury has four hits, including two doubles, in his first game back after missing five games because of a groin injury. It’s also worth noting that all four hits came against left-handers, which marks the first time in Ellsbury’s career that he’s done that.
Ellsbury’s seventh-inning double came against Robbie Ross, who replaced Derek Holland before the start of the inning. Ross stuck around for three more batters after Ellsbury.
Jonny Gomes ripped a line drive into left field. David Murphy charged in hoping to catch it on the fly, but it ended up dropping in front of him for a base hit. Ellsbury moved up to third base, giving the Red Sox runners at the corners with no outs — again.
Dustin Pedroia, who has had a strange night offensively, struck out for the first out, and David Ortiz walked to load the bases. That’s when the Rangers turned Jason Frasor.
Frasor came on and nearly got an inning-ending double play. Mike Napoli hit a ground ball to first base. Lance Berkman made the play despite a tough hop and fired to second for the first out. Napoli managed to beat out Elvis Andrus’ throw to first with Frasor covering, though, and Ellsbury scored with Boston’s third and tying run.
The Red Sox could have added more in the inning, but Daniel Nava struck out swinging on a pitch upstairs.
Mid 7th, Rangers 3-2: Junichi Tazawa didn’t make it easy on himself, but the reliever managed to escape a jam with the one-run deficit intact.
Tazawa got leadoff man Elvis Andus to fly out to the warning track in right to open the frame.
David Murphy then picked up his first hit of the night — a double into the left field corner — to put a runner in scoring position with one out.
Lance Berkman was retired on a soft liner to Pedro Ciriaco, and Ciriaco then had a shot to end the inning but had Adrian Beltre’s sharp line drove deflect off his glove.
Murphy advanced to third, but that’s where he would stay. Nelson Cruz flied out to center field to end the inning. — ZC
End 6th, Rangers 3-2: The Red Sox put a pair of runners in scoring position but could not push one across against Derek Holland, whose pitch count is climbing dangerously high.
Mike Napoli flied out to center to begin things in the sixth, and after Daniel Nava worked a one-out walk, David Ross popped out harmlessly to first baseman Lance Berkman.
Jose Iglesias then reached on a base hit to left field, and both runners advanced on Holland’s wild pitch.
The righty settled down, though, striking out Pedro Ciriaco with a high fastball to retire the side. That may do it for Holland, who has thrown 115 pitches tonight.
Jon Lester’s night is done, as Junichi Tazawa comes out to work the seventh for Boston. — ZC
Mid 6th, Rangers 3-2: A.J. Pierzynski led off the sixth inning with his second double of the game, but Jon Lester made sure he didn’t advance any further.
Lester got some help in the inning via a diving play by Pedro Ciriaco. The southpaw also struck out two, though.
Jeff Baker went down looking at a sinker, which capped off an eight-pitch battle, and Jurickson Profar was victimized by one of Lester’s trademark cutters.
End 5th, Rangers 3-2: The Red Sox just watched a huge opportunity go by the board.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning by hitting a ball toward the triangle. It kicked up off the dirt of the warning track and into the Red Sox’ bullpen for a ground-rule double.
Even though Ellsbury is coming off a groin injury, the ball bouncing into the bullpen was still a huge break for the Rangers. If that ball rolled into the triangle, Ellsbury would have been running for a while, and he likely would have ended up with a triple.
Jonny Gomes added to Boston’s threat by ripping a base hit into left field. At that point, with runners at first and third and no outs, it looked as if the Red Sox were destined to at least tie the game. But a big play at the plate changed everything.
Dustin Pedroia chopped a ball down to first base. Ellsbury immediately broke for home, and Lance Berkman, who was playing in, came up firing to the plate. Ellsbury almost slid under A.J. Pierzynski’s tag, but home plate umpire Joe West made the out call.
That was crushing for the Red Sox, but they still had runners at first and second with one out. The threat didn’t last much longer, though, because David Ortiz grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Ortiz’s ground ball traveled over the mound, and Elvis Andrus — who was positioned differently because of the shift — gobbled it up, stepped on the second base bag and chucked to first.
Mid 5th, Rangers 3-2: You’ve got to crawl before you can walk.
Jon Lester enjoyed his first 1-2-3 inning of the game in the fifth inning. He retired Lance Berkman, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz in order.
Berkman popped out to first, Beltre struck out and Nelson Cruz grounded out to short.
Beltre, of course, homered back in the third inning and had been 2-for-2. He found himself in a good hitter’s count at 2-0, but Lester battled back and ultimately fanned him with a pitch down in the zone.
End 4th, Rangers 3-2: The bottom of the Red Sox’ order made a little bit of noise, but it quickly fizzled out.
Derek Holland retired Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava on a couple of fly balls to Nelson Cruz in right field to kick off the fourth.
David Ross then singled, and Jose Iglesias, who just keeps doing his thing at the big league level, walked for the second time.
Unfortunately for Boston, Pedro Ciriaco couldn’t cash in. He grounded out lazily to shortstop for the final out of the inning.
Mid 4th, Rangers 3-2: The Rangers hit some balls hard in the fourth inning, but the score remained the same.
The highlight of the inning came when Jurickson Profar scorched a ball toward the left-center field gap. Jonny Gomes raced back toward the wall and made an excellent lunging grab before falling down and crashing into the Monster.
Not only was it a nice play, but it was also important. Craig Gentry, who has good speed, was on first base because of a walk, but he couldn’t advance.
Elvis Andrus tried to escalate the rally with a single into center field, but Gomes made another nice — albeit much easier — play in left field to end the inning.
8:20 p.m., Rangers 3-2: Just a quick note for all of you interested in the MLB draft. The Red Sox have selected left-hander Trey Ball will the seventh overall pick.
Ball is both a pitcher and an outfielder, and he’s considered by many to be the best two-way player in this year’s draft.
The Red Sox drafted Ball out of New Castle High School.
For more information on Ball, and to see a video of him in action, check out the link below. I recommend it. After all, the kid is now a big part of Boston’s future.
End 3rd, Rangers 3-2: Dustin Pedroia extended his hit streak to 10 games in the third inning, and, more importantly, the Red Sox are now nipping at the Rangers’ heels.
Jose Iglesias, who has reached base safely in 17 of his 18 games this season, walked to lead off the inning. He entered the game with the best average of all major leaguers with at least 50 plate appearances (.426, 26-for-61).
Jacoby Ellsbury, who missed the last five games, further proved he’s healthy and ready to roll. Ellsbury hit a line drive single into right-center field with one out, giving him two hits on the night.
Jonny Gomes made solid contact with runners at first and second and one out, but his line drive to right field was hauled in by Nelson Cruz. It did, however, allow Iglesias to tag up and move to third.
Pedroia then did his damage. He absolutely tattooed a ball off the center field wall. Both Iglesias and Ellsbury scored, and Pedroia coasted into second base with a two-run double.
David Ortiz grounded out to first base to end the inning, but the Red Sox will take an inning like that. Now, it’s up to Jon Lester to settle into a groove and allow the offense to get back up there.
Mid 3rd, Rangers 3-0: Adrian Beltre has really squared some balls up in this series. And he’s gone deep for the second straight night.
Beltre smoked a home run into the Monster seats with one out in the third inning to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead.
Beltre’s homer would have been of the two-run variety, but Lance Berkman was thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double the hitter before. Berkman hit a ball high off the Monster, and Jonny Gomes dropped the bounce, but Gomes still had time to throw out Berkman because he’s, well, slow and old.
Jon Lester got Nelson Cruz to ground back to the mound and A.J. Pierzynksi to ground out to first to end the inning. The damage was done for the second straight inning, though.
End 2nd, Rangers 2-0: The Red Sox thought they were off to a hot start in the second inning. Instead, it was just the start of a quick, 1-2-3 frame.
Mike Napoli drilled a ball toward the gap in right-center field. Most hitters probably would have ended up with a double, but Napoli, who doesn’t run too well, was thrown out by a mile at second base.
That meant any potential inning-starting momentum was out the window, and Derek Holland then retired Daniel Nava and David Ross.
Ross fanned on a pitch in the dirt, and catcher A.J. Pierzynski blocked it before completing the out.
Mid 2nd, Rangers 2-0: Jon Lester’s last three starts haven’t gone too smoothly, and he’s off to a shaky start in this one.
Lester escaped a first-inning jam in which he allowed two runners to reach, but he was touched for two runs in the second inning.
A.J. Pierzynski led off by ripping a ball over Daniel Nava’s head in right field. It landed on the edge of the warning track and kicked up into the seats for a ground-rule double.
Jeff Baker, who has had a very good season at the plate, then opened up the scoring with a home run to left field. Lester bounced back after falling behind 3-0 to Baker, but he left a 3-2 fastball out over the plate and paid for it. Baker pounced on the offering and drilled it over everything.
Craig Gentry flied out to center field for the first out of the inning, but Lester struggled with his control again while facing talented rookie Jurickson Profar. Profar walked on four pitches.
David Ross went out and had a chat with Lester, and the left-hander eventually settled down to escape the inning with just the two runs coming across. This isn’t the type of start Lester wanted to get off to while trying to break out of his current skid, though.
End 1st, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury wasted no time getting back into the swing of things. He singled in his first at-bat.
Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes connected on back-to-back singles against Derek Holland to immediately get the Red Sox’ offense moving in the right direction. Holland then benefited from a pitcher’s best friend, though, and the entire complexion of the inning changed.
Dustin Pedroia pounded a sinker into the ground, and the Rangers turned a big 6-4-3 double play. That left a runner at third base with two outs for David Ortiz.
Ortiz put good wood on the baseball, but the Rangers had the shift on, and second baseman Jurickson Profar took care of it in shallow right field to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 11 games by planting a ball off the Green Monster. But Jon Lester succeeded in keeping the Rangers off the scoreboard.
Elvis Andrus, who hit a big two-run double in the seventh inning on Wednesday, grounded out to short, and David Murphy lined out to center. Things got a little more complicated for Lester, though, as Lance Berkman walked with two down.
Beltre then yanked a sinker off the standings portion of the left field wall. Jonny Gomes got it back in quickly, however, so Beltre was held to a single and Berkman only advanced to second base.
Nelson Cruz struck out hacking to end the inning.
7:10 p.m.: Jon Lester wheels, deals, and we’re underway.
7:02 p.m.: Former Boston Celtics big man Jason Collins, who recently became the first active athlete to come out as openly gay, just threw out the first pitch at Fenway.
6:46 p.m.: Thursday marks a big day for the Red Sox.
Not only are the Sox battling the Rangers for American League supremacy, but the MLB draft is taking place. The first two rounds kick off at 7 p.m., and this season is much different, because the Red Sox own the seventh overall pick.
There are no guarantees, but the Sox should be able to add an impactful player with that pick, if history is any indication. Matt Harvey (2010), Clayton Kershaw (2006) and Prince Fielder (2002) are among those picked seventh overall in previous years.
This is the earliest the Red Sox have picked since 1993, when they selected Trot Nixon No. 7 overall.
Boston will also have the No. 45 selection on Thursday.
6:34 p.m.: As mentioned, Daniel Nava will bat sixth, which really speaks to how versatile he is within the Red Sox’ lineup. He was obviously out of place a bit while batting leadoff, but he handled the situation pretty well overall.
Nava enters Thursday’s game leading all American League outfielders in on-base percentage (.395) and at-bat per RBI ratio (4.76). He ranks second in OPS with an .882 mark.
5:29 p.m.: Jacoby Ellsbury missed five straight games with a groin injury. But fortunately for the Red Sox, he has avoided a DL stint. Ellsbury will be back in the lineup on Thursday.
Jackie Bradley Jr. will assume a bench role now that Ellsbury is back. He’ll likely remain in that capacity until Shane Victorino returns, at which point Triple-A seems like a likely destination for Bradley.
Ellsbury will bat in his customary leadoff spot on Thursday, which means that Daniel Nava, who filled in quite admirably in Ellsbury’s absence, will drop down. Nava will bat sixth while Jonny Gomes bats second with a left-hander on the mound.
Pedro Ciriaco will also get a rare start. He’ll bat ninth and play third base, while Jose Iglesias shifts over to his natural position at shortstop.
Thursday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (36-24)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
David Ross, C
Jose Iglesias, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
Jon Lester (6-2, 3.53 ERA)
Elvis Andrus, SS
David Murphy, LF
Lance Berkman, 1B
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Nelson Cruz, RF
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Jeff Baker, DH
Craig Gentry, CF
Jurickson Profar, 2B
Derek Holland (5-2, 2.81 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox’ offense has been excellent this season. It does have a tendency to come and go from time to time, though.
The latest example came in the last two games. The Red Sox scored 17 runs on 19 hits against the Rangers on Tuesday night, but they were limited to just two runs on five hits on Wednesday.
The Sox failed to cash in on some chances on Wednesday, and that spoiled another solid outing from John Lackey, who is really becoming a consistent contributor at the back end of Boston’s rotation. We’re now set up for a rubber match on Friday, with Jon Lester and Derek Holland squaring off in a battle of southpaws.
Lester will be looking to end a brief skid. He has allowed at least four runs in each of his last three starts, going 0-2 in that span, which includes last Friday’s game in New York, when he was outpitched by Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
Overall, Lester has had a very good season, but he’ll need to get back on track for the Red Sox to keep rolling. He’ll have his work cut out for him on Thursday. Not only will Lester face a tough Texas lineup, but Holland is having a solid season on the hill.
Thursday’s action is slated to get going at 7:10 p.m. Be sure to tune in on NESN, and keep it right here with the live blog for some extracurricular activities.