David Ortiz, Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes went deep in Boston’s 12-3 victory. Gomes and Dustin Pedroia had three hits, and the Red Sox finished with 16 total hits for the second straight game. Boston, of course, racked up 15 runs on 16 hits in Wednesday’s win in Colorado.
The Red Sox exploded for five runs in the first inning of this one. Nava’s three-run homer highlighted the big opening frame.
Ortiz’s thee-run blast in the eighth inning was the slugger’s 30th home run of 2013. Big Papi now has seven 30-homer seasons. His seven 30-homer/100-RBI campaigns have him tied with Ted Williams for the most such seasons in franchise history.
Clay Buchholz picked up his 12th win. The right-hander gave up three runs on seven hits in seven innings. He struck out four, didn’t walk anyone and threw 113 pitches (77 strikes). It’s clear that Buchholz is just fine physically as the Red Sox head toward the playoffs.
The Red Sox’ magic number to clinch the best record in the American League and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs is now one. Jon Lester will take the ball Saturday as Boston looks to lock up the top seed.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 12-3: Jonny Gomes tacked on one more run in the ninth inning.
Gomes launched a first-pitch homer down the left field line to lead off the ninth inning. It was the second home run surrendered by Mike Belfiore, as David Ortiz took the rookie deep in the eighth inning.
Ryan Lavarnway and Xander Bogaerts found their way into the game in the ninth. Lavarnway pinch hit for Jarrod Saltalamacchia and popped out. Bogaerts pinch hit for Stephen Drew and singled into left field.
Koji Uehara will be the new Red Sox pitcher in the ninth inning.
End 8th, Red Sox 11-3: Craig Breslow took over on the mound after seven innings by Clay Buchholz. He yielded a couple of baserunners, but ended up holding the O’s scoreless.
Breslow walked Steve Pearce, who pinch hit for Nick Markakis, with one out. Pearce saw eight pitches and laid off a 3-2 slider to work the free pass.
Breslow rebounded to strike out Adam Jones. The lefty blew a 92 mph fastball by Jones to pick up the K.
Danny Valencia pinch hit for Chris Davis — as the Orioles are getting some guys some playing time — and smacked a first-pitch single into left field. Breslow escaped the jam by getting Matt Wieters to ground to the right side.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 11-3: It’s been business as usual for David Ortiz this season.
Ortiz launched a three-run home run in the eighth inning to give him 30 homers on the season. It’s the seventh 30-homer season of Ortiz’s career. Ted Williams (eight) is the only player to rack up more 30-home run seasons in a Red Sox uniform.
Ortiz’s seventh-inning long ball followed back-to-back walks from Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia with two outs. It landed in the first few rows of seats in left field.
Mike Belfiore, who was making his major league debut, surrendered the blast. Ortiz was the first batter he faced in his major league career. Now there’s a story to tell the grandkids.
9:45 p.m., Red Sox 8-3: Steve Johnson got two quick outs in the eighth inning. He lost his control a bit, though, and the Orioles will now make a pitching change after back-to-back walks.
Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia worked the free passes. Mike Belfiore will be the new Orioles pitcher. It’ll be his major league debut.
End 7th, Red Sox 8-3: Clay Buchholz put the finishing touches on a pretty good effort in the seventh inning.
Buchholz tossed a 1-2-3 frame, and his night is likely over, as his pitch count is up to 113. The right-hander surrendered two long balls in his seven innings, but everything seemed fine physically, which is what matters most.
Buchholz took care of Nate McLouth, Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty in the seventh. McLouth struck out, Schoop grounded back to the mound and Flaherty flied out to right field.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 8-3: Steve Johnson took over on the mound in the seventh inning. He walked the first batter he faced before settling down.
Mike Napoli, who has struck out looking twice, walked on five pitches. Johnson then took care of Daniel Nava, Jonny Gomes and Jarrod Saltalamacchia in order.
Nava and Saltalamacchia both struck out. Nava went down swinging on a curveball, and Saltalamacchia was frozen by a fastball on the outside corner. Salty thought that the pitch was outside, but home plate umpire Adrian Johnson ruled that it caught the black.
Johnson relieved Zach Britton, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief of starter Scott Feldman. Britton gave up a two-run single upon entering in the third inning, but both runs were charged to Feldman. Britton gave up five hits, struck out two and threw 50 pitches (34 strikes).
Jackie Bradley Jr. will enter the game — as planned — for Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh inning.
End 6th, Red Sox 8-3: The Orioles aren’t going away quietly.
Adam Jones and Chris Davis are showing just how dangerous they can be. Jones drilled a two-run home run in the third inning, and Davis hammered a solo homer in the sixth inning.
Clay Buchholz started Davis off with a first-pitch changeup on the outer half of the plate, and the slugger crushed it. Davis sent the ball sailing over the center field fence for his major league-leading 53rd home run of the season.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 8-2: Zach Britton followed in Clay Buchholz’s footsteps.
Buchholz induced an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the fifth, and Britton accomplished the feat in the top of the sixth.
Jacoby Ellsbury started the sixth inning with a line drive right at J.J. Hardy at short. Ellsbury is 0-for-4, making him the only player in the Red Sox’ lineup without a hit. It was also likely his last at-bat, as John Farrell said before the game that Ellsbury would get four at-bats in his second contest since returning from a foot injury.
Dustin Pedroia reached on an infield single. He hit a chopper to the left side, and the ball deflected off Britton and over toward third base, where Ryan Flaherty was unable to make a barehanded pickup. The O’s really had no chance to throw out Pedroia in that situation.
Britton got the ground ball that he needed, though. David Ortiz hit a grounder to the right side, and Jonathan Schoop started up a double play.
End 5th, Red Sox 8-2: Clay Buchholz got the ground ball he needed.
Ryan Flaherty singled into center field to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning. The Orioles failed to turn it into anything on the scoreboard, though.
Brian Roberts flied out to left field, and Nick Markakis grounded to second base, where Dustin Pedroia started up an inning-ending double play.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 8-2: Jonny Gomes’ leadoff single went for naught in the fifth.
Gomes hit a sharp grounder right back up the middle to open up the fifth inning. It shot past pitcher Zach Britton and sneaked past Brian Roberts’ diving attempt.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out swinging for the first out of the inning. He struck out on three pitches and went down hacking at an offspeed offering.
Stephen Drew grounded to second base, resulting in a forceout, and Will Middlebrooks bounced down to third base to end the inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 8-2: Clay Buchholz worked his way through a scoreless fourth inning.
J.J. Hardy singled into center field with one out, but the Orioles didn’t build much from there.
Nate McLouth grounded in front of the plate, and Buchholz scooped it up. The right-hander tossed to second base in an effort to start up a double play, but McLouth beat out Stephen Drew’s throw to first. Buchholz took a little too long getting the ball to second base.
Jonathan Schoop grounded to second base, where Dustin Pedroia made the play to end the inning.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 8-2: Dustin Pedroia kicked off the fourth inning with a single, but Zach Britton settled down to keep the Red Sox in check.
David Ortiz grounded to the right side after Pedroia’s leadoff single. The O’s looked to turn a double play, but it was slow developing and Ortiz reached safely at first.
Mike Napoli struck out looking on a borderline pitch for the second out. Britton went upstairs with a 1-2 fastball, and it apparently caught the top of the strike zone. Napoli has struck out looking twice in this game.
Daniel Nava grounded to first base to end the inning.
End 3rd, Red Sox 8-2: Adam Jones put the Orioles in the runs column.
Brian Roberts sneaked a single between two strikeouts for Clay Buchholz. Buchholz struck out Ryan Flaherty on a fastball and Nick Markakis on a cutter.
Buchholz tried to paint the outside corner with a 1-1 fastball to Jones, and the O’s outfielder hammered it over the center field fence. The two-run blast was Jones’ 33rd home run of the season.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 8-0: Stephen Drew made sure that the Red Sox secured the two runs they lost on the overturned home run call.
Drew singled into center field after the umpires made Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jonny Gomes go back to second base and third base, respectively. Both runners scored, while Drew got tagged out between first and second base.
Saltalamacchia’s double in the third inning gave him 40 for the season. That’s the single-season Red Sox record for a catcher. Salty passed Carlton Fisk and Jason Varitek, who smacked 39 doubles in 1978 and 1999, respectively.
Scott Feldman exited after an awful outing. He was charged with eight earned runs on eight hits. Feldman struck out one, walked one and threw 57 pitches (33 strikes) before Buck Showalter turned to the bullpen.
8:09 p.m., Red Sox 6-0: The Orioles just benefited from video replay. The Red Sox have still added a run, though.
Daniel Nava and Jonny Gomes hit back-to-back singles with one out in the third inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then hit what he thought was his 15th home run of the season.
Saltalamacchia lifted a fly ball to right field that appeared to land on top of the wall. The ball bounced back onto the field, but the umpires originally ruled that it was a home run. The umps took another look, however, and they overturned their initial call.
Saltalamacchia was given a double. Nava scored, and Gomes was forced to go back to third base.
The Orioles are now making a pitching change. Zach Britton will replace Scott Feldman.
End 2nd, Red Sox 5-0: Clay Buchholz was sharp in the second inning.
Buchholz tossed a 1-2-3 frame after giving up a pair of hits in the first inning. He retired J.J. Hardy, Nate McLouth and Jonathan Schoop in order.
Buchholz struck out Hardy to begin the second. The right-hander went with a heavy dose of pitches in before getting Hardy to wave at an outside fastball.
McLouth grounded to first base and Schoop flied to right field.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 5-0: Scott Feldman settled down for a scoreless second inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz all put the ball in the air, but all three line drives found leather. The trio was retired in order.
Ortiz ended the inning with a fly ball to right field that forced Nick Markakis to charge in. Markakis was playing deep and needed to lay out to make the grab.
End 1st, Red Sox 5-0: Clay Buchholz scattered a couple of hits, but ultimately kept Baltimore off the scoreboard in the first inning.
Brian Roberts singled into center field to lead things off, and Chris Davis lifted a line drive over the shift and into right field with two outs. Buchholz avoided any damage by retiring Matt Wieters via a flyout.
Nick Markakis and Adam Jones also flied out in the first inning. Markakis lifted a fly ball to left field that ended with Jonny Gomes making a nice sliding grab.
Mid 1st, Red Sox 5-0: The Red Sox’ offense picked up right where it left off.
The Red Sox totaled 15 runs on 16 hits in Wednesday’s victory over the Rockies. Boston already has five runs on five hits through one inning of this game.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who is playing in just his second game since returning from a foot injury, grounded to second base for the first out. Scott Feldman then struggled, as five straight hitters reached safely.
Dustin Pedroia kicked things off with a line-drive single into left field, and David Ortiz followed with a liner down the right field line. Pedroia went from first to third on Ortiz’s knock, and the big man threw on the brakes after a wide turn around first base.
Mike Napoli put Boston in front with a double into the right-center field gap. Pedroia scored easily from third base, while Ortiz stopped at third on the one-out two-bagger.
Daniel Nava drove in both Ortiz and Napoli with one swing. Nava jumped all over a first-pitch curveball from Feldman and sent the ball sailing into the right field seats. The three-run blast was Nava’s 12th homer of the season.
The Red Sox added one more run when Stephen Drew drove in Jonny Gomes, who walked, with a triple down the right field line. Feldman had given up three runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts before this game.
Clay Buchholz will now start his night with the luxury of a five-run cushion.
7:09 p.m.: Scott Feldman chucks a first-pitch strike. We’re underway.
6:54 p.m.: Congratulations, Koji Uehara.
Uehara was voted the winner of the 2013 10th Player Award for going above and beyond expectations this season. It’s a well-deserved honor, and it further shows just how highly Red Sox fans think of Uehara.
Uehara definitely would have been my pick for the award. I think Daniel Nava, John Lackey and Mike Carp all deserved consideration, but Uehara’s overall importance made him the easy choice. In fact, you could make the case that Uehara has been the Red Sox’ MVP this season.
I was actually asked about Uehara’s 10th Player candidacy in the most recent Red Sox mailbag. Feel free to check that out at the link below.
6:09 p.m.: David Ortiz reached the 100-RBI mark in Wednesday’s win in Colorado. It’s the first time he has accomplished the feat since 2010, and it’s the seventh time he has reached the mark in his career. Ortiz trails only Ted Williams (nine) and Jim Rice (eight) in terms of 100-RBI seasons in Red Sox history.
Ortiz is also one home run shy of his seventh 30-homer season. If and when he reaches the mark, he’ll tie Ted Williams’ club record of seven 30-homer season.
For more on Ortiz and Williams, visit BostonFanFavorites.com.
5:33 p.m.: The Red Sox enter Friday’s game with 96 wins. It’s their most wins through 159 decisions since the schedule expanded to 162 games in 1961. The 1977, 1978, and 2004 teams were also 96-63. All three won Game No. 159, so that bodes well for tonight, I guess.
4:58 p.m.: Mike Napoli will return to the lineup Friday. Napoli, who has been dealing with a foot issue, will play first base and bat cleanup.
Shane Victorino, who has been banged up for much of the season, has been dealing with a thumb issue of late. He’ll be given the night off, with Daniel Nava playing right field and Jonny Gomes starting in left field.
Friday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (96-63)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Jonny Gomes, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Clay Buchholz, RHP (11-1, 1.60 ERA)
Brian Roberts, DH
Nick Markakis, RF
Adam Jones, CF
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C
J.J. Hardy, SS
Nate McLouth, LF
Jonathan Schoop, 2B
Ryan Flaherty, 3B
Scott Feldman, RHP (5-5, 3.57 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: We’ve officially arrived at the final series of the regular season.
The Red Sox open up a three-game set in Baltimore on Friday. Boston’s focus is still on securing the American League’s best record and home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Sox enter Friday’s contest with a two-game lead over the Athletics, who are opening up a three-game series in Seattle.
Clay Buchholz will toe the rubber Friday, and he’ll look to rebound after suffering his first loss of the season in his last start. The right-hander gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his losing effort against the Blue Jays on Saturday, although he pitched better than the box score indicates and further showed that he’s completely past the injury that sidelined him for three months.
Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Tune in on NESN, and stick around right here.