Final, Red Sox 7-1: The Red Sox have won six straight.
Rubby De La Rosa tossed seven shutout innings in his first start with the Red Sox. It was an excellent performance for the 25-year-old, who struck out eight without walking a single batter.
Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered in the victory. Holt’s home run was the first of his major league career, and Bradley’s blast was his first of 2014.
The Red Sox and Rays will close out their series with a Sunday afternoon showdown. Jon Lester and Erik Bedard will square off in a battle of southpaws.
End 8th, Red Sox 7-1: Nothing doing in the eighth inning for Boston.
Jonathan Herrera, Brock Holt and Xander Bogaerts were held in check.
Alex Wilson, who pitched the eighth inning, will look to put the finishing touches on Boston’s sixth straight win.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 7-1: Jackie Bradley Jr. showed some serious toughness in the eighth inning.
Kevin Kiermaier led off with a drive toward the wall in left-center field. Bradley raced back and jumped, but the ball was just beyond his reach.
That was just the beginning.
The ball smacked off the wall and drilled Bradley in the face. Bradley then banged that same face into the wall, sending him to the ground like a ton of bricks.
Kiermaier rounded the bases, but no one cared, really. It was all about Bradley’s status, as the young outfielder spent some time down on the warning track.
Jonny Gomes immediately tended to JBJ, and manager John Farrell and the trainer soon followed. After a few moments, they plugged up Bradley’s nose and he stayed in the game. What a warrior.
Xander Bogaerts also made an excellent diving play in the eighth inning on a line drive from Jose Molina.
End 7th, Red Sox 7-0: The Red Sox were held scoreless in the seventh inning.
Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. went down in order against Cesar Ramos. Gomes and Bradley both put the ball on the ground.
Alex Wilson will enter, meaning Rubby De La Rosa’s night is over. But what a performance for Rubby.
De La Rosa surrendered just four hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out eight and didn’t walk anyone.
De La Rosa, whose fastball reached the upper 90s, changed speeds well throughout the course of his outing. He threw 105 pitches (72 strikes).
Mid 7th, Red Sox 7-0: Rubby De La Rosa slapped a bow on an excellent first start with the Red Sox.
De La Rosa yielded a one-out single to James Loney, but a double play wiped away any potential threat.
Desmond Jennings hit a chopper to second base, where Jonathan Herrera tagged Loney and fired to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
End 6th, Red Sox 7-0: The Red Sox went down quickly in the sixth inning. It marked the first time they’ve been held scoreless since the second inning.
A.J. Pierzynski flied out, David Ortiz popped out and Mike Carp grounded out.
Rubby De La Rosa is coming back out for the seventh.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-0: It’s been a heck of a start for Rubby De La Rosa.
De La Rosa has retired 10 in a row and 13 of his last 14. The top of the Rays’ order — David DeJesus, Ben Zobrist and Matt Joyce — couldn’t muster up anything against the young right-hander in the sixth inning.
De La Rosa, who struck out Zobrist in the sixth, has eight strikeouts. He hasn’t walked anyone, and he only has surrendered three hits.
End 5th, Red Sox 7-0: Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first home run of 2014 in the fifth inning.
It looked like Cesar Ramos was on his way to a quick inning behind two nice defensive plays by the Rays’ infield. Shortstop Ben Zobrist and second baseman Sean Rodriguez made a couple of nice stops.
A hot shot from Grady Sizemore exploded on Zobrist with two outs, though. It found its way into center field for a single, and Bradley followed with a two-run blast into the Red Sox’s bullpen.
Bradley’s homer was the second to land in the Boston bullpen in this game, as Brock Holt also sent one in the direction of his teammates back in the third inning.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 5-0: Another excellent inning for Rubby De La Rosa, who has been impressive, to say the least.
De La Rosa struck out Kevin Kiermaier and Sean Rodriguez in the fifth inning. Kiermaier looked at a 95 mph fastball, and Rodriguez fanned on an 84 mph slider.
Jose Molina grounded to short to end the inning. De La Rosa has seven strikeouts through five innings. His pitch count sits at a reasonable 75.
End 4th, Red Sox 5-0: Jonathan Herrera executed another perfect safety squeeze to extend Boston’s lead in the fourth inning.
Herrera has dropped down several successful bunts this season. His run-scoring squeeze in the fourth inning plated Grady Sizemore.
Sizemore led off the fourth with a line drive into center field. He then swiped second base and took third base when Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded to the right side.
Herrera’s bunt was placed perfectly up the first base line. Pitcher Jake Odorizzi tried to go home with it, but Sizemore slid in ahead of the tag.
Cesar Ramos replaced Odorizzi and struck out Brock Holt. He then tossed a wild pitch that allowed Herrera to move up into scoring position.
Ramos fell behind the sizzling Xander Bogaerts, so the Rays opted to put the rookie on intentionally. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a single into center field that scored Herrera from second base.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 3-0: Rubby De La Rosa is dealing right now.
De La Rosa worked a perfect fourth inning. He induced two ground balls and struck out Desmond Jennings to end the inning.
Jennings saw eight pitches, but he couldn’t hold up on a changeup down and way off the plate.
De La Rosa has thrown 63 pitches (43 strikes). He has five strikeouts and hasn’t issued a walk.
End 3rd, Red Sox 3-0: Brock Holt isn’t going anywhere.
Holt is carving out a role on the big league squad with both solid glove work and a hot bat. The 25-year-old infielder hammered his first career home run into the Red Sox’s bullpen in the third inning.
Holt’s two-run blast followed Jonathan Herrera’s leadoff single. In other words, Boston’s two utilitymen came up big.
Xander Bogaerts walked on six pitches after Holt’s milestone homer. A.J. Pierzynski then yanked a single through the right side.
Jake Odorizzi struck out David Ortiz, though it took 10 pitches to do so. Big Papi nearly hooked one right around Pesky’s Pole in the at-bat, but he ultimately failed to check his swing on a slider.
Odorizzi let go of a wild pitch with Mike Carp batting and it cost him. Carp lifted a sacrifice fly into left-center field to make it 3-0.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: There was a painful moment for Rays catcher Ali Solis in the third inning. He was forced to leave the game.
Solis led off the inning against Rubby De La Rosa. De La Rosa fired a pitch in the dirt that bounced up and struck Solis square in the face. Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski immediately motioned toward the Rays dugout for the trainers, and Solis ended up exiting the game.
Jose Molina took over for Solis. He promptly struck out looking.
Ben Zobrist reached on a fly ball to left-center field. Jonny Gomes leaped as part of a strange effort and the ball dropped, allowing Zobrist to cruise into second base with a double.
The inning ended when Jonathan Herrera ranged out onto the outfield grass to make a backhanded play. Mike Carp completed the out with a nice pick at first base.
End 2nd, 0-0: Mike Carp got plunked in the second inning.
(Cue the Rocky music.)
Don’t worry, though. It was a 72 mph curveball. No intent there.
The Red Sox couldn’t do anything with the leadoff baserunner. Jonny Gomes, Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. went down in order.
Sizemore and Bradley struck out. Sizemore chased a splitter in the dirt, and Bradley looked at a 92 mph fastball.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: This game is still scoreless because of Brock Holt.
Rubby De La Rosa ran into some trouble in the second inning, as Desmond Jennings and Kevin Keirmaier delivered back-to-back singles with two outs, putting runners at the corners.
Sean Rodriguez, who got real mouthy in Friday’s scrum, smoked a hot shot down to third base. Holt dived and picked it on the back hand before firing a dart across the diamond to record the out.
End 1st, 0-0: It’s funny to think the Green Monster seemingly messed with Xander Bogaerts’ head a bit at the beginning of the season. Now, the 21-year-old is peppering the wall.
Bogaerts continued his torrid streak with a line-drive double in the first inning. He needed to hustle to turn the hit into two bases, but Matt Joyce’s throw was off the mark.
Bogaerts took third base on a wild pitch with A.J. Pierzynski batting. Pierzynski, who also has been red-hot, struck out.
David Ortiz struck out swinging to strand Bogaerts at third. He chased a pitch that dropped out of the zone.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Rubby De La Rosa did a good job of changing speeds while working a 1-2-3 first inning.
De La Rosa picked up two strikeouts, both on changeups. David DeJesus went down looking for the first out, and Matt Joyce went down swinging to end the frame.
Ben Zobrist lifted a routine fly ball to left field in-between the two K’s.
De La Rosa topped out at 97 mph in the inning.
7:15 p.m.: Rubby De La Rosa misses with his first pitch of the night.
Rubby didn’t plunk David DeJesus, though, so everyone’s got that going for them at this point.
6:45 p.m.: The Red Sox’s lineup certainly has a unique look because of injuries and what not. Check out the starting nine for each team below.
Boston Red Sox (25-29)
Brock Holt, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Carp, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Grady Sizemore, RF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jonathan Herrera, 2B
Rubby De La Rosa, RHP (0-0, — )
Tampa Bay Rays (23-32)
David DeJesus, DH
Ben Zobrist, SS
Matt Joyce, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
James Loney, 1B
Desmond Jennings, CF
Kevin Kiermaier, RF
Sean Rodriguez, 2B
Ali Solis, C
Jake Odorizzi, RHP (2-4, 4.56 ERA)
6:15 p.m. ET: Will we see a cage match, a baseball game or a combination of both?
The possibilities are endless as the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays prepare for the middle game of a three-game set at Fenway Park. Friday’s series opener featured plenty of fireworks, and it’s quite obvious these teams don’t like each other very much.
The Red Sox eventually walked off with a 3-2 win in 10 innings Friday, giving them five straight victories in the wake of Sunday’s bench-clearing altercation at Tropicana Field. But A.J. Pierzynski’s game-winning gap shot seemed like a mere footnote in a heated contest that included four ejections, three hit batters and another bench-clearing incident between the division rivals.
The Red Sox will turn to Rubby De La Rosa in Saturday’s game. De La Rosa, who was acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of the nine-player megadeal in August 2012, made 11 appearances with Boston last season but he’s yet to start a major league game in a Red Sox uniform. The 25-year-old posted a 3-5 record with a 3.88 ERA in 10 big league starts with the Dodgers.
De La Rosa will go up against Jake Odorizzi, who, like De La Rosa, joined his current team by way of a blockbuster. Odorizzi was acquired by the Rays from the Kansas City Royals in December 2012 as part of the James Shields trade. Tampa Bay also landed outfielder Wil Myers, left-hander Mike Montgomery and third baseman Patrick Leonard in that deal.
The Red Sox are riding high after enduring a 10-game losing streak. Can they make it six straight victories? Follow along with NESN.com’s live blog for what should be another exciting showdown. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:15 p.m.
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