Final (14 innings), Red Sox 10-8: It’s over!
A 6-4-3 double play ended the 14th inning and allowed the Red Sox to claim a 10-8 win in Monday night/Tuesday morning’s marathon affair.
The Sox coughed up a 6-0 lead early in the ballgame and an 8-6 lead in the 10th inning, but an RBI single by Daniel Nava in the top of the 14th allowed them to walk away victorious after nearly five and a half hours of action in Tampa Bay.
These two teams will get right back at it Tuesday night, with the second game of this three-game set scheduled to start at 7:10 p.m.
Props to everyone who stuck with this one until the end. Get some sleep. We’ll see you back here again later tonight.
End 14th, Red Sox 10-8: For the second time in extra innings, the Red Sox have taken the lead.
Shane Victorino singled to open the 14th and took second on Dustin Pedroia’s deep flyout.
The Rays then elected to intentionally walk David Ortiz to set up the three-way force. The walk would prove inconsequential, though, as Daniel Nava singled to center to score Victorino from second.
After Jonny Gomes flied to left for the second out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia drove in an insurance run, scoring pinch runner Jose Iglesias from second with a base hit.
Will Middlebrooks flied out to right fielder Matt Joyce to end the inning, and now it’s time to see if the Sox can hang on to this two-run lead — a feat they were unable to accomplish in the 10th.
End 13th, 8-8: Franklin Morales walks pinch hitter Ryan Roberts but is otherwise perfect, adding two strikeouts to shut down the Rays in the 13th.
Both the Red Sox and Rays have now exhausted their bullpens, which means we may get to see some position players on the mound if this game continues much longer.
Mid 13th, 8-8: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew both singled in the 13th, but they were sandwiched around a 6-4-3 double play that killed any chance for momentum.
Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to left field to end the inning.
Franklin Morales, who was scheduled to start Wednesday against these Rays, has come on in relief for the Red Sox. That means Boston will likely need to call up a pitcher from Pawtucket (likely either Alfredo Aceves or Allen Webster) to fill the void.
End 12th, 8-8: Matt Joyce almost left the yard for the second time tonight, but Jacoby Ellsbury was able to settle under his deep fly ball at the warning track for the second out of the 12th.
Koji Uehara completed his second perfect inning by striking out Ben Zobrist, and the scoreboard now reads lucky number 13.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who drove in what were thought to be the game-winning runs back in the 10th, will bat first for the Red Sox.
Mid 12th, 8-8: After four and a half hours, some of the hitters seem to be growing impatient.
Cesar Ramos retired David Ortiz and Daniel Nava on two total pitches (a popout to third and a bunt attempt popped out to the catcher, respectively).
It took a little longer to retire Jonny Gomes, who entered as a pinch hitter for Mike Carp, but Ramos struck out the former Ray looking to end the inning.
Gomes will move to left field in the home half of the inning, with Nava shifting into Carp’s spot at first.
End 11th, 8-8: That was quick.
Koji Uehara retired the side in order, inducing a groundout and two weak fly balls. Uehara needed just seven pitches to get through the 11th, six of which he threw for strikes.
Time for the 12th. Get excited, people.
Mid 11th, 8-8: Nothing doing for the Red Sox in their half of the 11th.
After Stephen Drew struck out to open the inning — his fourth K of the night — Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk.
A pair of stolen bases put him on third with two outs — Shane Victorino flied out for the second — but that’s as far as the leadoff man would get.
Home-plate umpire Tom Hallion rung up Dustin Pedroia looking on a pitch that the second baseman was none too pleased about. It could have been juuust a bit outside, and Hallion waited a split-second before launching into his enthusiastic strike-three call, but it stood nonetheless.
Time for the bottom of the 11th here at a rapidly emptying Tropicana Field.
End 10th, 8-8: This is not the closers’ night.
After Fernando Rodney allowed a pair of runs in the top of the 10th to give the Red Sox an 8-6 lead, Andrew Bailey did the same.
The Rays put their first five batters on base against the Boston closer (two hits, three walks), allowing a leadoff homer to Jose Lobaton and loading the bases with no outs.
But after walking in Tampa’s second run of the inning, Bailey managed to escape with the winning run 90 feet away.
With the bases still loaded and nobody out, Bailey got Evan Longoria — who homered back in the first — to ground into a 5-2-3 double play. Pinch hitter Sam Fuld then dropped down a two-out bunt, but it was too strong, allowing time for Dustin Pedroia to field the ball and fire to first for the final out.
After more than four hours of action, we head to the 11th.
Mid 10th, Red Sox 8-6: Fernando Rodney was lights-out in the ninth inning. Joe Maddon elected to send his closer back out for the 10th, but the results weren’t nearly as favorable for the Rays.
Rodney walked Dustin Pedroia to open the inning. David Ortiz then grounded into what should have been a double play, but the “Papi shift” prevented the Rays from turning two. Ben Zobrist elected to throw out Ortiz at first base, allowing Pedroia to advance to second.
Pedroia then stole third as Daniel Nava walked. Nava was allowed to reach second on defensive indifference, and — after Mike Carp struck out for the second out– both runners came home on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s line drive to center.
That did it for Rodney, who was lifted in favor of Jamey Wright. Wright struck out Will Middlebrooks looking to end the inning.
Tampa Bay now finds itself staring at a two-run deficit in the bottom of the 10th.
End 9th, 6-6: Free baseball in Tampa Bay!
Clayton Mortensen allowed a one-out single to James Loney but otherwise worked a flawless ninth, and we head to extra innings with the Sox and Rays tied up at 6-6.
Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Daniel Nava are due up first for Boston in the 10th.
Mid 9th, 6-6: Fernando Rodney slams the door shut in the ninth, and the Rays will have a chance for the walk-off.
The Tampa closer, operating in a non-save situation, struck out Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury before getting Shane Victorino to ground out to second.
Drew has especially struggled tonight, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
End 8th, 6-6: Yep, we’re tied.
Junichi Tazawa’s wild pitch allowed Yunel Escobar — who had doubled with one out — to score from third, knotting this game up at six runs apiece.
After Matt Joyce grounded out to Dustin Pedroia, Ben Zobrist also doubled, his fourth hit of the game.
With two outs, what appeared to be a routine popup almost proved disastrous, as every Red Sox infielder converged on Kelly Johnson’s weak fly just behind the mound.
Pedroia came up with the sliding grab, though, and this game will stay tied heading into the ninth inning.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-5: Jake McGee sits the Sox down in order, including a pair of strikeouts, and we enter the bottom of the eighth with Boston clinging to a one-run lead.
Jose Lobaton, Yunel Escobar and the top of the order are due up first against Junichi Tazawa.
End 7th, Red Sox 6-5: Remember that six-run lead? Well, it’s now down to one.
James Loney homered off Andrew Miller with one out in the seventh to bring the Rays to within one run after trailing 6-0 earlier tonight.
Tampa Bay could not put the potential tying run on base — thanks in part to Shane Victorino’s running catch at the warning track of a Luke Scott fly ball — but momentum is now clearly on the side of the home team as we head to the eighth.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-4: In the first inning, the Red Sox clubbed seven hits, batted around and scored six runs. Since then? Two hits, two walks, zero runs and no innings with more that four batters.
The Sox went down scoreless again in the seventh, with Dustin Pedroia drawing a leadoff walk but having it wiped away when David Ortiz grounded into a 6-3 double play.
Daniel Nava flied out to center for the third out.
Craig Breslow’s night is done after just one batter, as Andrew Miller comes on to work the home half of the seventh.
End 6th, Red Sox 6-4: Things just got very interesting here in the sixth.
John Lackey retired Jose Lobaton and Yunel Escobar on consecutive groundouts before plunking Matt Joyce right between the numbers, which the leadoff man did not take kindly too.
Joyce had some choice words for Lackey as he strolled to first, prompting Jarrod Saltalamacchia to get between batter and pitcher.
The confrontation escalated to some minor shoving, and both benches emptied out onto the field. It ended up being little more than a “baseball fight,” though, with no punches thrown and a lot of guys standing around.
For teams with a surprisingly violent history together, including this classic Pedro Martinez-Gerald Williams brawl, tonight’s will barely register.
No players were ejected, but John Lackey lasted just one more pitch. Ben Zobrist ripped a double to right field on the first pitch he saw, sending Joyce to third and Lackey to the showers. Tampa was again unable to capitalize with men in scoring position, though, as Craig Breslow struck out Kelly Johnson swinging to end the inning.
Joel Peralta will come on to pitch the seventh for the Rays.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-4: The Red Sox have put a runner on in five of six innings tonight, but they have been unable to update the scoreboard since their six-run opening frame.
Jacoby Ellsbury reached on a two-out single, but Alex Torres retired Jarrod Saltalamacchia via groundout, Stephen Drew via strikeout and Shane Victorino via flyout to complete a second scoreless inning of relief.
End 5th, Red Sox 6-4: John Lackey finally enjoys a stress-free inning, retiring the side in order for the first time tonight.
James Loney grounded out to Mike Napoli, who flipped to Lackey for the first out.
Luke Scott then flied out to left field and Desmond Jennings grounded to Dustin Pedroia, sitting the Rays down in 1-2-3 fashion.
The fifth inning marked the first time all game that Tampa Bay did not either score or put a runner in scoring position.
Alex Torres returns for a second inning on the mound for the Rays.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-4: Impressive inning by Alex Torres, as the 25-year-old southpaw strikes out the side.
Torres got both David Ortiz and Daniel Nava looking to open the inning. Mike Carp then singled, making him the first Red Sox batter to tally two hits tonight, but Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging to close out the frame.
James Loney will come to the plate first against John Lackey in the home half.
End 4th, Red Sox 6-4: The Red Sox have seen their six-run lead dwindle down to four runs, then to three, and now to just two.
Jose Lobaton singled to open the inning, advanced to second on Yunel Escobar’s base hit and — after Matt Joyce popped out in foul territory — scurried home on Ben Zobrist’s single to left field.
Escobar and Zobrist tagged up into scoring position on a deep flyout by Kelly Johnson, but Evan Longoria was unable to bring them home, lining out to Daniel Nava to end things in the fourth.
Alex Cobb’s night is over, as left-hander Alex Torres takes over for Tampa Bay. Torres has made just five appearances for the Rays this season, allowing only one hit and zero runs over 11 2/3 innings. He faced one batter during a May 16 loss to Boston, inducing a groundout.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 6-3: This looks a lot more like the Alex Cobb that brought a 2.39 ERA into tonight.
After striking out both Stephen Drew and Jacoby Ellsbury, Cobb walked Shane Victorino, marking the third time this season the righty has walked three batters in a game.
An error by first baseman James Loney on a pick-off attempt allowed Victorino to advance to second and a wild pitch sent him to third, but Cobb struck out Dustin Pedroia looking to strand the runner.
The Red Sox have recorded seven hits tonight, but all came in the first inning. Only two batters have reached since, both via base on balls.
End 3rd, Red Sox 6-3: The Rays continued to chip away at Boston’s early advantage.
The inning’s first three batters — Ben Zobrist, Kelly Johnson and Evan Longoria — all singled to load the bases with no outs.
Longoria, who homered in the first, reached on a broken-bat fly ball that fell in front of left fielder Daniel Nava, who had been positioned near the warning track.
James Loney lined out to Mike Carp, but the first baseman narrowly missed tagging out Longoria for the second out.
Dustin Pedroia was similarly unable to turn two, as Luke Scott’s fielder’s choice allowed Zobrist to score from third for the Rays’ third run of the night.
John Lackey struck out Desmond Jennings to end the frame. Both starters have racked up high pitch counts early on tonight. Lackey sits at 53 after the third inning while Alex Cobb has thrown 73.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 6-2: Alex Cobb is looking to put that six-run first inning behind him, and he’s not doing a bad job of it so far.
Cobb retired Mike Carp, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks in order for his first 1-2-3 inning of the game, striking out Salty for his first K.
These next few games will be pivotal for Middlebrooks. John Farrell has already said that Jose Iglesias — who remained with the big league club after Middlebrooks’ return but is not in the lineup tonight — will start at least three games a week, and that number could increase if Middlebrooks cannot break out of the slump that has plagued him for much of the season.
He got off to a good start tonight, though, singling and driving in a run in his first plate appearance since returning from the disabled list.
End 2nd, Red Sox 6-2: John Lackey looked a bit shaky again in the second, but the Rays were unable to touch him for any more runs.
After Luke Scott flied out to open the inning, Desmond Jennings singled up the middle and swiped second base.
Jose Lobaton grounded out weakly to the pitcher, but Lackey needed seven pitches to record the out, and the soft ground ball allowed Jennings to reach third.
No. 9 hitter Yunel Escobar walked to put runners on the corners, but Matt Joyce — who homered to open the Rays’ half of the first — couldn’t push them across. Joyce absolutely demolished a 3-0 pitch from Lackey, but it sailed foul, and he dribbled the next pitch to second baseman Dustin Pedroia for the inning’s final out.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 6-2: Alex Cobb issued a walk to David Ortiz, his second of the night, but the second inning was otherwise much smoother for the young right-hander.
Cobb got both Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia to ground out to second baseman Ben Zobrist to open the frame. He then walked Big Papi but induced a center-field popup from Daniel Nava to retire the side.
Noted Red Sox enthusiast Luke Scott will be the first to come to the plate against John Lackey in the bottom of the second.
End 1st, Red Sox 6-2: Tampa Bay needed just two pitches to take a bite out of the Red Sox’ early lead, as Matt Joyce sent John Lackey’s second offering into the right-field seats for a solo homer.
Lackey then struck out Ben Zobrist looking and got Kelly Johnson to fly out to Jacoby Ellsbury in center, but he was again victimized by the long ball.
Evan Longoria saw just one pitch from Lackey (a 92-mph fastball) and sent it over the wall for Tampa’s second solo shot of the inning.
James Loney flew out to center before the Rays could do any further damage. It looks like we could be in store for an old-fashioned slugfest between these two division rivals.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 6-0: As ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian pointed out via Twitter prior to first pitch, the Red Sox have been a dangerous team in the first inning this season. But even by their standards, this first inning was something else.
The Sox caught fire early again tonight, putting the first eight batters of the game on base to rack up a 6-0 lead against Tampa Bay’s Alex Cobb.
Jacoby Ellsbury got things started with an excellent at-bat, fouling off four pitches before singling up the middle.
Shane Victorino then doubled down the first-base line, and Dustin Pedroia brought them both home on a base hit up the middle of his own.
Cobb, who was actually born in Boston but grew up as a Red Sox fan in Florida, employs a bit of an unorthodox windup, pausing slightly with his left knee raised before delivering to the plate.
Still with nobody out, Cobb walked David Ortiz on four pitches. Daniel Nava then doubled off the wall, missing a home run by mere feet, to score Pedroia and Papi and increase Boston’s cushion to 4-0.
Mike Carp — starting at first in place of Mike Napoli, who struggled this past weekend against the Angels — promptly brought Nava home with a single to left field. Carp advanced to third on Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double into the left-field corner, and then came home with the Sox’ sixth run of the inning when Will Middlebrooks singled to left in his first at-bat since returning from the disabled list.
Cobb finally got a break when Stephen Drew — the ninth batter of the frame — popped out to shortstop, and Ellsbury grounded into a 6-3 double play to mercifully end the inning.
It looks like the Sox have decided to give starter John Lackey some run support tonight. He’ll face Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and Kelly Johnson in the bottom of the first.
7:12 p.m.: Sick of Tebow talk already? Good, me too. Let’s play some baseball.
Jacoby Ellsbury takes strike one right down the middle from Alex Cobb and we are underway from Tampa Bay.
5 p.m.: John Lackey endured his worst outing of the season the last time he pitched at Tropicana Field, but the loss he took on May 14 was more a result of the Trop’s “quirks” than a poor performance on the mound.
Lackey was yanked after 4 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk in a 5-3 Tampa Bay win. All five of those runs came in the fifth inning, though, with the final two coming home when Mike Napoli lost sight of a Matt Joyce popup amid the catwalks and speakers hanging high above the infield.
Lackey also had the misfortune of opposing Rays ace Matt Moore in that contest, against whom Boston managed just three hits. Poor run support has plagued the right-hander throughout this season. In Lackey’s three wins, the Red Sox have scored a combined 19 runs, but in his other six starts (five losses and a no-decision), they have totaled just 12.
Here is the lineup Tampa Bay will be fielding tonight, with Joyce leading things off:
Matt Joyce, RF
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Kelly Johnson, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Luke Scott, DH
Desmond Jennings, CF
Jose Lobaton, C
Yunel Escobar, SS
Alex Cobb, RHP
2:50 p.m.: Here’s who the Red Sox are starting tonight:
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Daniel Nava, LF
Mike Carp, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
John Lackey, P
2:45 p.m.: Will Middlebrooks is back, and the odd man out, as has been speculated, is Pedro Ciriaco.
Ciriaco had his shining moments last season on a team that had little else to offer, but he hasn’t been anything but an average fill-in on the big league roster this year. With Jose Iglesias playing some truly inspired baseball in Middlebrooks’ absence, it only made sense to keep Iglesias around as the utility infielder.
Ciriaco has been designated for assignment, and he is out of options, meaning any team can scoop him up. Peter Abraham of The Boston Globe and others, though, think there’s a good chance he could clear waivers and stay with the team.
Middlebrooks, meanwhile, returns to the lineup and will start tonight at third base. The Red Sox have said the corner bag is his spot going forward, although he was in quite a slump when he hit the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.
2:30 p.m.: John Lackey has put up quality numbers in the Red Sox rotation this season, but he hasn’t always had the wins to show for them. That could change Monday night.
The Red Sox (39-25) are hitting the road for a seven-game stretch against American League East opponents. The first three games will be in Tampa Bay against the Rays (34-28), with the final four coming in Baltimore against the Orioles (35-28). The Red Sox lead the AL East going into Monday, but the Yankees are just a game and a half back, with the Rays and O’s close behind.
Lackey (3-5, 2.79 ERA) has put up some stellar starts this season, but he hasn’t always had the run support he’s needed to get the W, including last Wednesday’s six-inning, one-earned-run effort against the Rangers. One team that has gotten to Lackey this season, though, was the Rays. Tampa tagged him for five earned runs the last time they met, on May 14 — the highest run total allowed and least amount of innings pitched (4 1/3) by Lackey this year. Since then, though, Lackey has been stellar, giving up just four earned runs in four games.
The Red Sox will face a pitcher they’ve beat before this season in Alex Cobb (6-2, 2.39 ERA). In their two meetings this year, the Sox have come up winners both times, 5-0 on April 14 and 4-3 on May 16. Cobb is 2-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 17 strikeouts in his last three starts, though.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m., with more news to come here in the meanwhile.