Final, Red Sox 3-0: Clay Buchholz ran into trouble the last time he carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth inning. The Boston right-hander had no such issues this time.
Buchholz put the finishing touches on a gem with a 1-2-3 ninth inning. He allowed just three hits in a complete-game shutout.
Buchholz struck out six and didn’t walk anyone while completely dominating the Rays. He threw 98 pitches (69 strikes) in a performance that was as efficient as it was effective.
The Red Sox produced a run each in the third, fifth and eighth innings. Christian Vazquez, Mookie Betts and David Ortiz each delivered an RBI single, with Vazquez’s knock following Rays starter Alex Cobb’s two-base throwing error on a pickoff attempt.
Betts played very well, posting two hits to go along with an RBI and a run scored. He hit the ball hard four times.
Xander Bogaerts struck out twice but also supplied two hits and scored a run.
The Red Sox have guaranteed at least a split in their four-game series at Tropicana Field. The Sox and Rays will battle Monday afternoon in a Labor Day clash. Rubby De La Rosa and Drew Smyly are the scheduled starters.
Mid 9th, Red Sox 3-0: Kirby Yates worked a scoreless ninth inning for the Rays.
Yates struck out Xander Bogaerts and Christian Vazquez in the inning. Bogaerts has struck out twice, but he also has two hits.
Clay Buchholz will look to finish what he started. Sean Rodriguez, Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Guyer are due up for Tampa Bay.
End 8th, Red Sox 3-0: Clay Buchholz has retired nine in a row. He’s three outs away from a complete-game shutout.
Buchholz took care of Logan Forsythe, Yunel Escobar and Jose Molina in the eighth inning.
Buchholz almost certainly will come back out to begin the ninth, though it appears Koji Uehara is getting up in Boston’s bullpen. Buchholz has thrown just 90 pitches to this point.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 3-0: The Red Sox upped their lead in the eighth.
Mookie Betts has hit the ball hard four times in this game. He has two hits, an RBI and a run scored to show for it.
Betts drilled a line drive to center field in the eighth inning. Kevin Kiermaier laid out, but the ball landed beyond his reach. Betts raced into second base with a leadoff double.
David Ortiz knocked in Betts with a single to the left of the second base bag. It was an instance in which the shift did not work.
End 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz is dealing.
Buchholz has allowed just three hits through seven shutout innings. He has struck out six, including one batter in the seventh.
Matt Joyce battled his way back into the count after falling behind 0-2. Buchholz ended up putting him away with a 3-2 fastball framed beautifully by Christian Vazquez.
Evan Longoria and James Loney both grounded out.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 2-0: Rays manager Joe Maddon made a call to the bullpen.
Alex Cobb started the seventh but departed after a one-out double from Xander Bogaerts. Joel Peralta hopped behind the wheel and steered the Rays to a scoreless inning.
Christian Vazquez grounded out, and Brock Holt flied out.
Cobb allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits over 6 1/3 innings. He struck out six, walked one and threw 105 pitches (68 strikes).
While only one of the two runs was earned, the unearned run was the result of Cobb’s own throwing error. It raises an age-old official scoring debate, but we’ll save that for another day.
End 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Jose Molina led off the inning with a single into left field.
That’s where the threat ended.
Clay Buchholz struck out the side following the leadoff single. He set down Sean Rodriguez, Kevin Kiermaier and Brandon Guyer in order.
Rodriguez and Guyer went down looking. Kiermaier fanned on a cutter.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 2-0: Kevin Kiermaier flashed some leather in the sixth inning.
Kiermaier first tracked down Mike Napoli’s line drive to center field for the second out of the inning.
Daniel Nava then jolted one toward center field that Kiermaier initially misplayed before recovering to make a nice sliding catch. Kiermaier was forced to bend his body awkwardly to make an over-the-shoulder grab before hitting the outfield turf.
End 5th, Red Sox 2-0: Clay Buchholz has been good.
Really, this is a continuation of Buchholz’s last start, which was exceptional until he ran into trouble in the ninth inning.
James Loney and Logan Forsythe both grounded out in the fifth. Yunel Escobar flied out to center field.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-0: A big stolen base paved the way for Mookie Betts to deliver an RBI single.
Holt lined a single into center field with two outs in the fifth. He swiped second base as Alex Cobb’s 1-1 pitch shot past catcher Jose Molina, though Holt had an excellent jump and would have made it regardless.
Betts plated Holt with a single into right-center field. He put a good swing on an inside fastball.
End 4th, Red Sox 1-0: A two-out double interrupted a string of ground-ball outs for Clay Buchholz.
Buchholz retired Kevin Kiermaier on a comebacker and Brandon Guyer on a grounder to short for the first two outs.
Matt Joyce hooked a double down the right field line, but Buchholz bounced back to handle Evan Longoria on a ground ball to short.
Mid 4th, Red Sox 1-0: Yoenis Cespedes shot a base hit right back through the box to begin the fourth inning.
Cespedes has made some hard contact in his first two at-bats, though his fourth-inning single wouldn’t materialize into anything on the board.
Cespedes took second base when Mike Napoli drilled a comebacker that deflected off pitcher Alex Cobb. Cobb made an excellent play to chase down the ricochet and flip to first base for the out.
Daniel Nava popped out and Will Middlebrooks struck out, leaving Cespedes in scoring position.
End 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: Clay Buchholz has retired eight in a row.
Yunel Escobar led off the bottom of the third inning with a routine fly ball to Yoenis Cespedes in left field.
Jose Molina followed with a pop-up down the right field line. Daniel Nava, Brock Holt and Mike Napoli all converged on it. Napoli ended up making the catch with Holt tumbling down around the first baseman’s legs.
Sean Rodriguez ended the inning with a pop-up to Xander Bogaerts in shallow left field. It was hit up near the catwalks.
Mid 3rd, Red Sox 1-0: An errant pickoff throw by Alex Cobb helped give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the third inning.
Xander Bogaerts, playing in his second game since returning from the seven-day concussion disabled list, singled to begin the inning. He soon found himself standing on third base when Cobb’s pickoff attempt sailed wide of first baseman Sean Rodriguez.
One pitch later, Christian Vazquez put Boston on top with a single into right-center field.
Brock Holt struck out for the second time. Holt chased a changeup in his first at-bat. Cobb went with a fastball this time.
Mookie Betts grounded into a forceout and David Ortiz grounded into the shift to end the inning.
End 2nd, 0-0: Clay Buchholz struck out two in the second inning.
Buchholz set down James Loney and Logan Forsythe — both looking — after an inning-opening groundout from Evan Longoria.
Both Loney and Forsythe looked at fastballs. The one to Forsythe tied him up near the top of the strike zone, though it looked a bit high.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: A double play stymied any potential threat for the Red Sox.
Mike Napoli led off with a ground ball handled by third baseman Evan Longoria. It wasn’t before Napoli launched a deep fly ball that sailed just foul down the left field line. Yoenis Cespedes just missed a home run in the first inning, too.
Daniel Nava followed with a single, but his stay on the bases was short-lived. Will Middlebrooks grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
End 1st, 0-0: Clay Buchholz induced a double play en route to a scoreless first inning.
Kevin Kiermaier led off with a single into right field. Buchholz paid a lot of attention to Kiermaier while facing Brandon Guyer. Guyer eventually flied out to right field.
Matt Joyce put an 0-2 pitch on the ground. Will Middlebrooks, who was shifted over to the right side, started an inning-ending double play.
Mid 1st, 0-0: David Ortiz has reached safely in 25 of his last 40 plate appearances after walking in the first inning.
Ortiz has been sizzling since the beginning of August, something that could be a product of Yoenis Cespedes joining the Red Sox’s offense. He worked a two-out, six-pitch walk against Alex Cobb in the first.
Cobb started his outing by retiring Brock Holt and Mookie Betts before issuing a free pass to Ortiz. Holt chased a nasty 0-2 changeup out of the zone and Betts lined out to right field.
Yoenis Cespedes lined to center fielder Kevin Kiermaier to end the inning.
1:41 p.m.: Alex Cobb wheels and deals for Tampa Bay.
11:45 a.m.: Dustin Pedroia, as you probably expected, is not in the Red Sox’s starting lineup.
Pedroia had his bell rung in the second inning of Saturday night’s loss. He looked wobbly while walking off the field and, according to Red Sox manager John Farrell, experienced concussion-like symptoms.
Brock Holt will play second base in Pedroia’s absence. Mookie Betts, who continues to make strides at the plate, will slide up into the No. 2 hole. It’s the first time in Betts’ young career that he has cracked the top half of the order.
Mike Napoli will return to the lineup after receiving the night off Saturday. Christian Vazquez will be back behind the dish.
Sunday’s complete lineups are below.
Boston Red Sox (59-76)
Brock Holt, 2B
Mookie Betts, CF
David Ortiz, DH
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Daniel Nava, RF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Christian Vazquez, C
Clay Buchholz, RHP (5-8, 5.77 ERA)
Tampa Bay Rays (66-70)
Kevin Kiermaier, CF
Brandon Guyer, LF
Matt Joyce, RF
Evan Longoria, 3B
James Loney, DH
Logan Forsythe, 2B
Yunel Escobar, SS
Jose Molina, C
Sean Rodriguez, 1B
Alex Cobb, RHP (9-6, 3.06 ERA)
11:15 a.m. ET: Another game, another one-hit output by the Boston Red Sox’s offense.
The Red Sox were held to one hit for the third time this season in Saturday’s 7-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. It was Boston’s 13th time being shut out in 2014, the club’s highest such total since being blanked 16 times in 1990.
Injury was added to insult, too. Dustin Pedroia left the game in the second inning after being elbowed in the head by Logan Forsythe on a play at second base. Red Sox manager John Farrell said after the game that Pedroia was experiencing concussion-like symptoms and was considered day to day for the time being.
The incident occurred on a day when shortstop Xander Bogaerts returned from the seven-day concussion disabled list. Bogaerts, of course, was struck in the head by a pitch Aug. 22.
Clay Buchholz will take the bump for Boston on Sunday. It’s been a roller-coaster season for the veteran right-hander, and his last start marked one of the club’s strangest games of the season.
Buchholz carried a shutout into the ninth inning Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. He then loaded the bases, exited and watched as Koji Uehara allowed all three inherited runners to score. Buchholz didn’t factor into the decision, as the Red Sox needed 10 innings to pull out a win.
Buchholz will face Alex Cobb, who hasn’t lost since June 23 and has been brilliant for the last two months. He’s 6-0 with a 1.88 ERA in 10 starts since the beginning of August.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:40 p.m. ET. Tune in on NESN and keep it right here with NESN.com’s live blog.