Final, Red Sox 9-2: Mariano Rivera never got a chance to pitch in his final visit to Fenway Park.
Allen Webster gave up a run in the ninth inning, but then closed out a 9-2 win for the Red Sox. Boston took all three games in the weekend series.
Clay Buchholz earned his 11th victory of the season Sunday while giving the Red Sox another encouraging outing. Buchholz, who tossed five shutout innings in his first start off the disabled list Tuesday, surrendered one unearned run in six innings Sunday. He gave up two hits, struck out three and walked four while throwing 91 pitches (53 strikes).
Daniel Nava led the way offensively with four hits. He went 4-for-5 with two doubles, two singles, an RBI and a run scored. David Ortiz and Xander Bogaerts had two hits apiece. Mike Napoli crushed a first-inning home run, but was later ejected after slamming his helmet following a called third strike. Napoli struck out twice Sunday and now holds the Red Sox’ single-season strikeout record with 178.
The Red Sox’ magic number now sits at four, as the Rays lost to the Twins on Sunday.
Good night, everyone.
End 8th, Red Sox 9-1: Dellin Betances kept the Red Sox off the scoreboard in the eighth inning.
Betances struck out David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes before Brendan Ryan made a fantastic diving play to end the inning.
It looked like Brandon Snyder was going to single into center field, but Ryan ranged out onto the edge of the grass to make a great play. He then fired a one-hop throw to first base to complete the out.
Allen Webster will come on to pitch the ninth inning for Boston.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-1: Xander Bogaerts is having a great game.
Bogaerts is 2-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored, and he has made some fine defensive plays, including one to cap the top of the eighth.
Bogaerts snagged a line drive off the bat of Robinson Cano. The rookie had to lunge to make the play.
Before Bogaerts’ nifty glove work, Craig Breslow struck out Curtis Granderson and Vernon Wells.
End 7th, Red Sox 9-1: Dustin Pedroia extended Boston’s lead to 9-1 with a two-run double in the seventh inning.
Mike Zagurski replaced Joba Chamberlain after Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out. Xander Bogaerts singled with one out, and Zagurski plunked Jackie Bradley Jr. in the back to put runners at first and second.
David Phelps replaced Zagurski and was greeted by Pedroia. Pedey scorched a line drive into left field that got past Alfonso Soriano and rolled all the way to the wall. Both Bogaerts and Bradley scored.
Daniel Nava struck out to end the inning, marking the first time in this game that he’s been retired.
Craig Breslow will be the new Boston pitcher in the eighth inning. John McDonald will come on as a defensive replacement at second base, as John Farrell will use the big lead as an opportunity to get Pedroia some rest.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 7-1: Matt Thornton surrendered back-to-back singles with one out in the seventh inning. He then induced a big ground ball.
Ichiro Suzuki and Brendan Ryan singled before Thornton got Chris Stewart to ground into an inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. Dustin Pedroia made a very quick turn despite Ichiro closing in on him fast.
Thornton showed good velocity in the seventh inning, which is an encouraging sign.
End 6th, Red Sox 7-1: Mike Napoli now holds the Red Sox’ single-season strikeout record.
Napoli struck out to end the sixth inning, giving him 178 K’s for the season. That breaks Mark Bellhorn’s 2004 mark of 177.
Napoli celebrated the occasion by getting ejected. The slugger slammed his helmet to the ground after a called third strike, and home plate umpire Ron Kulpa gave him the hook as he walked away. The ejection is the first of Napoli’s career.
The Red Sox did strike for two runs in the sixth inning, as Daniel Nava and David Ortiz collected RBI singles.
Brandon Snyder will enter the game as the new first baseman in the seventh inning. Jonny Gomes will remain in the game and play left field. Matt Thornton will take over on the mound after six solid innings from Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz gave up just one run in his six innings of work and it was unearned. He struck out three, walked four and threw 91 pitches (53 strikes). It was another very encouraging outing by the right-hander, who hasn’t skipped a beat in his first two starts back.
10:30 p.m., Red Sox 7-1: David Ortiz drove in Boston’s seventh run with a line-drive single into left-center field.
Jonny Gomes was announced as a pinch hitter for Mike Carp. The Yankees will now turn to right-hander Joba Chamberlain with runners at the corners and one out.
10:22 p.m., Red Sox 6-1: Daniel Nava is having a big game.
Nava knocked in Xander Bogaerts with an RBI single back up the middle. He’s now 4-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and a run scored.
The Yankees will turn to left-hander Cesar Cabral with David Ortiz coming up.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-1: John Farrell said before the game that if Clay Buchholz made it into the sixth inning, it would be an encouraging start. This certainly qualifies as an encouraging start.
Buchholz tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning. He took care of Robinson Cano, Alfonso Soriano and Lyle Overbay. Soriano struck out swinging, giving Buchholz three strikeouts for the game.
Buchholz has thrown 91 pitches (53 strikes).
10:14 p.m., Red Sox 5-1: It was just announced that Alex Rodriguez left the game because of calf tightness.
End 5th, Red Sox 5-1: Adam Warren did a fantastic job of minimizing the damage after being thrown into the fire.
Warren entered with the bases loaded and no outs. He retired Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Stephen Drew in order to keep it a 5-1 game.
Napoli struck out, which means that he is now tied with Mark Bellhorn for the Red Sox’ single-season strikeout record. Napoli has whiffed 177 times this season, matching Bellhorn’s mark from 2004.
Saltalamacchia also struck out for the second out. Warren got him to fan on a 2-2 changeup.
Drew threatened to send a ball into the left-center field gap with two outs, but Curtis Granderson ranged over to make the inning-ending grab.
The Red Sox knocked Ivan Nova from the game and had a chance to put things out of reach. Warren saved the Yankees’ behind.
10:02 p.m., Red Sox 5-1: The Red Sox have knocked Ivan Nova from this game. They also have a chance to deliver a knockout blow to the Yankees.
Daniel Nava followed Dustin Pedroia’s leadoff walk with a bullet down the right field line. It bounced on the warning track and kicked up into the seats for a ground-rule double.
The Yankees opted to intentionally walk David Ortiz with first base open to load the bases.
Nova jumped ahead of Mike Carp, 0-2. Not only did Nova not put him away, but he also fired an awful pitch that hit Carp in the leg.
A run scored and Adam Warren will take over. Mike Napoli, who has three grand slams this season, will face Warren with the bases loaded.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 4-1: John Farrell lauded Xander Bogaerts before the game. The rookie showed some nice glove work to close out the top of the fifth.
Brendan Ryan led off with a walk. Clay Buchholz rebounded for three straight outs, although he delivered a wild pitch with Curtis Granderson batting.
Chris Stewart flied out for the first out and Granderson struck out swinging. The Yankees then brought up Vernon Wells to pinch hit for Alex Rodriguez. A-Rod has been dealing with a hamstring issue, so perhaps the move is related to that. We’ll see.
Wells hit a chopper down to third base that took a tough, in-between hop. Bogaerts fielded it deep at third before delivering a strong throw to first base to end the inning.
End 4th, Red Sox 4-1: Xander Bogaerts enjoyed another first in what should be a promising career for the 20-year-old: his first stolen base.
It wasn’t just any run-of-the-mill stolen base, though. Bogaerts’ first theft came as part of a run-producing double steal. And it was eventful.
Mike Napoli led off with a walk. The Yankees nearly turned yet another double play in this game when Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded to second base. Brendan Ryan’s relay throw struck Napoli in the hand as he slid into second base, though, and Saltalamacchia reached safely at first as a result.
Salty moved up to third base when Stephen Drew hit a chopper up the middle for the second out. That proved to be big.
After Bogaerts walked on a breaking ball that nearly hit him in the head, the rookie took off for second base with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the dish. Catcher Chris Stewart fired to second base and Brendan Ryan couldn’t handle the throw. Saltalamacchia scored while Bogaerts stopped short of the bag. Once the ball got away from Ryan, Bogaerts started back up and dived in safely just ahead of Ryan’s tag.
The funny part about the whole thing is that Saltalamacchia technically stole home. A real modern day Jackie Robinson.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-1: If you blink, you’ll miss a double play.
A double play has been turned in three consecutive half innings, as the Red Sox turned another one in the top of the fourth.
Clay Buchholz walked Alfonso Soriano to begin the fourth, but quickly wiped him off the bases by inducing a ground ball to short. Stephen Drew handled it and tossed to Dustin Pedroia to kick off the double play.
Buchholz walked Mark Reynolds with two outs, but then got another ground-ball out off the bat of Ichiro Suzuki.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: The Yankees also turned a double play in the third inning. Theirs was even flashier.
Daniel Nava singled into center field to start things off. He is now 2-for-2, as he doubled back in the first inning.
David Ortiz then smoked a hot shot to the right side. Brendan Ryan, who was moved over to the right side of second base as part of the shift, made a fantastic diving stop to start up a twin killing.
Mike Carp lined out to end the inning.
8:12 p.m., Red Sox 3-1: Missed Mariano Rivera’s pregame ceremony? No sweat. We’ve got you covered.
The Red Sox played a video featuring Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts and Bill Mueller before the game. They jokingly thanked Rivera for blowing Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS. Check it out at the link below.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 3-1: The Yankees put a couple of baserunners aboard in the third inning before Clay Buchholz induced a much-needed ground ball.
Buchholz hit Chris Stewart to begin the inning and then gave up a one-out single to Alex Rodriguez. In between, Buchholz struck out Curtis Granderson.
Robinson Cano, who collected four hits in Saturday’s game, had a chance to do some damage with runners at first and second. He hit a ground ball to second base that Dustin Pedroia used to start a 4-6-3, inning-ending double play.
End 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Ivan Nova also settled down in the second inning.
Nova tossed a 1-2-3 inning after a very shaky first inning in which he gave up three runs on four hits.
Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. both struck out swinging in the second. Bogaerts and Bradley both went fishing after curveballs.
Dustin Pedroia flied out to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, Red Sox 3-1: Clay Buchholz settled in for a 1-2-3 second inning.
Mark Reynolds and Ichiro Suzuki both put the ball on the ground, and Brendan Ryan flied out to right field to end the inning.
It was a nice inning for Buchholz, who didn’t let his errant first-inning pickoff attempt get to him.
End 1st, Red Sox 3-1: The Red Sox answered in a big way in the first inning.
David Ortiz tied things up with an RBI single into left field, and Mike Napoli gave the Red Sox a 3-1 lead with a two-run bomb to center.
Daniel Nava got Boston’s offense rolling with a double off the base of the right field wall. Ichiro Suzuki started running back, but it looked like he thought that the ball might clear the fence. He pulled up short, turned around and played it off the base of the wall rather than continuing to run after it.
Ortiz plated Nava by shooting a line-drive single through the left side. Alfonso Soriano didn’t even bother making a throw.
Napoli delivered the inning’s big blow with two down, though. He absolutely crushed a 2-0 fastball to dead center. The ball was hit a mile into the air and landed behind the cameras above the center field wall for a two-run homer.
Mid 1st, Yankees 1-0: Clay Buchholz tossed five scoreless innings his last time out. He gave up a run in the first inning of this one.
Buchholz walked Curtis Granderson to begin his second start since returning from the disabled list. Granderson fouled off a couple of 2-2 pitches before laying of a cutter and a changeup.
Buchholz fired an errant throw to first base after Granderson reached. He tried to keep Granderson honest with a throw over, and it got past Mike Napoli and rolled up the right field line. Granderson moved all the way across the diamond to third base.
Alex Rodriguez, who once again received a whole bunch of boos, grounded to short with the infield back to plate the game’s first run.
Robinson Cano flied out, and Alfonso Soriano, who was scratched from Saturday’s game with a thumb issue, singled into left field with two outs. Lyle Overbay ended the inning with a line drive to short.
8:13 p.m.: Jon Lester delivers a first-pitch ball, and we’re underway.
8:12 p.m.: Mariano Rivera’s ceremony has concluded. David Ortiz didn’t swear. We’re ready for baseball.
It was a definitely a pretty cool ceremony, though. Simply put, Rivera is one of the best — both on and off the field.
8:10 p.m.: Mariano Rivera came out to a standing ovation and then received some pretty sweet gifts.
Rivera received a Fenway Park seat with the No. 42, the No. 42 from the Fenway scoreboard, a portrait of himself laughing during the 2005 Opening Day ceremony at Fenway and the pitching rubber from the visitors’ bullpen.
Christmas came early.
8:02 p.m.: In the video, Dave Roberts thanked Mariano Rivera for blowing Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS.
Bill Mueller joked, “Mariano? Is he still playing?”
7:59 p.m.: There is a video playing on the Fenway Park big screen that features Kevin Millar, Dave Roberts and Bill Mueller discussing the 2004 ALCS.
Millar joked that Rivera feared him, which is why the Yankees closer walked Millar to spark the Red Sox’ Game 4 rally.
7:56 p.m.: The entire Red Sox team has come onto the infield for Mariano Rivera’s ceremony.
7:52 p.m.: They’re getting set to honor Mariano Rivera at Fenway Park.
7:26 p.m.: The Red Sox are the only American League team whose record has been above .500 all season. The only other MLB team to accomplish the feat is the Atlanta Braves.
This season marks the sixth time in Red Sox history that the club has remained over .500 all year. They also accomplished the feat in 1912, 1917, 1918, 1940 and 1946.
For more on the 1946 squad, check out BostonFanFavorites.com.
7:16 p.m.: The Red Sox’ roster will expand even further in the coming days. John Farrell said Sunday that the Red Sox will add a couple of guys Tuesday, as Pawtucket’s season came to an end Saturday.
7:04 p.m.: Shane Victorino has been banged up all season, but John Farrell noted that the outfielder was simply given a day off Sunday.
Farrell said that he’s going to try to get some guys off their feet over the final couple of weeks when the opportunity presents itself.
6:20 p.m.: The Red Sox will honor Mariano Rivera with a pregame ceremony Sunday.
John Farrell had nothing but good things to say about Rivera before Sunday’s game. Then again, has anyone really ever said a bad thing about the Yankees closer?
Farrell said that Rivera has set the standard throughout his illustrious career. However, Farrell also noted that he hopes Rivera doesn’t pitch Sunday, as the Red Sox would like to take care of business.
5:45 p.m.: Mike Carp will get the start in left field Sunday. He’ll also bat cleanup — in between David Ortiz and Mike Napoli.
A couple of rookies will round out the Red Sox’ lineup. Xander Bogaerts will start at third base and bat eighth, while Jackie Bradley Jr. will play center field and bat ninth. Will Middlebrooks is battling a little flu bug that’s going around the Red Sox’ clubhouse, according to John Farrell.
Sunday’s complete lineups are below.
Red Sox (91-59)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Daniel Nava, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Stephen Drew, SS
Xander Bogaerts, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Curtis Granderson, CF
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Alfonso Soriano, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Mark Reynolds, 3B
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Brendan Ryan, SS
Chris Stewart, C
Ivan Nova, RHP (8-4, 3.17 ERA)
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox clinched their MLB-best 32nd series victory with a win Saturday. They’ve got their eyes on a sweep, though.
Clay Buchholz will take the ball Sunday as the Red Sox look to break out the brooms against the Yankees. Buchholz, who was sharp in his first start off the disabled list Tuesday, will go up against Ivan Nova on the national stage.
Buchholz tossed five shutouts innings against the Rays on Tuesday. He threw 74 pitches in that outing, and he’ll be expected to take another step forward Sunday. John Farrell said that there will not be a specific pitch count for Buchholz.
The Red Sox enter Sunday’s action a season-high 32 games over .500. They haven’t been as many as 32 games over .500 since ending the 2004 season at 98-64. I heard that something special happened that season.
Sunday’s first pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. Feel free to stick around.