Live Blog: A’s at Red Sox


Jul 28, 2009

Live Blog: A's at Red SoxAthletics 9-8 (11), FINAL: The Red Sox nearly pulled it off, putting the tying run on second with one out, but Jacoby Ellsbury, the team’s hottest hitter on the homestand, could only manage a groundout to first and Dustin Pedroia came about 15 feet short of the Wall to end it. A brutally tough loss, especially considering the Yankees lost in Tampa, so the deficit remains 2 1/2 games.

Mid 11th, Athletics 9-7: A long night at the ballpark is going to make for an even longer night in the Nation. Rajai Davis, who hit the ball that Nick Green threw into right field to tie the score in the ninth, singles home Mark Ellis in the 11th for the lead, then steals second and scores on Adam Kennedy’s fifth hit of the game. Lowell, Kottaras and Green are due up, but this one appears to be over.

End 10th, 7-7: J.D. Drew nearly wins it against Connecticut’s own Craig Breslow, driving one to the track in deep center. But Rajai Davis tracks it down and we’re going to the 11th. On the bright side, Drew definitely has his groove back.

Mid 10th, 7-7: Jason Bay saves the Canadian bacon, sprawling to make a catch on a sinking liner by Kurt Suzuki to keep Nomar stranded at third. Nomar doubled with one out against Manny Delcarmen and stole third with two outs, but Bay makes the defensive play of the night to keep this one tied.

End 9th, 7-7: Ellsbury, Pedroia and Youkilis were a combined 6-for-12 before the ninth, but they go down 1-2-3 with two strikeouts. The vibes are very bad right now as we head into extra innings.

Mid 9th, 7-7: Nick Green hasn’t killed the Red Sox with his glove since that Sunday afternoon in mid-May in Seattle. He’s killing them tonight. Two consecutive brutal — and unneccesary — throwing errors with two outs have allowed the Athletics to score three runs against Papelbon to tie this one up.

Papelbon walked Jack Cust to lead off the inning, but got the next two, including a nice play by Green to catch a pop-up in shallow left. Then all heck broke lose. Rookie Tommy Everidge doubled high off the Wall — just missing a homer — to make it 7-5, then Green threw the ball away on a pair of infield dribblers to allow two more runs to score. Green had no chance to make the out at first on either play, but threw the ball both times anyway, one going into the dugout, the other rolling up the right field line. Somewhere, the hot-hitting Julio Lugo is smiling.

End 8th, Red Sox 7-4: Is J.D. Drew back from the dead? Drew has three hits tonight, including a pair of doubles, for his second straight multi-hit game. His double in the eighth results in a huge seventh run, and now it’s up to Jonathan Papelbon to nail it down.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-4: The Red Sox bullpen had not allowed a run in its last 25 innings before tonight, but that string is long gone. Ramon Ramirez and Hideki Okajima each allow a run to make things dangerous, but Daniel Bard, who continues to eat up the big outs, gets Nomar to hit into an inning-ending double play.

End 7th, Red Sox 6-3: A curious move in the inning, as Adam LaRoche pinch hits for David Ortiz with two outs and a man on. Ortiz was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, but you don’t usually see that kind of move in a three-run game.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-3: Jacoby Ellsbury can sure rack up the hits, but outside of Johnny Damon, does anyone have more of a noodle arm? When Jack Cust can score from second on a ball hit to center, you know you’ve got some issues.

End 6th, Red Sox 6-2: Terry Francona chose to sit the hot bat of Adam LaRoche and brought back Mike Lowell against a right-hander. And again, the decision looks like a good one, as Lowell doubles home Drew for a key insurance run.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-2: Buchholz almost throws his first 1-2-3 inning, getting the first two batters before Adam Kennedy spoils it with a double to left for his third hit. That proves to be the end for Buchholz, who leaves at 107 pitches. But Ramon Ramirez gets OC to end the inning, and Buchholz is three innings away from his second victory of the season.

End 5th, Red Sox 5-2: This has nothing to do with our game, but it should be noted that Mark Buehrle is perfect — again — through three innings at the Metrodome tonight.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 6-2: Buchholz has his best inning of the night, not allowing a hit for the first time. Jack Cust draws a leadoff walk, but that’s it, as Clay keeps his pitch count under 100, which should allow him to pitch the sixth inning. Hardly a gem, but Buchholz has gutted it out and positioned himself for a win.

End 4th, Red Sox 5-2: Ellsbury was 11-for-20 (.550) on the homestand before his at-bat in the fourth, but the A’s finally figure out a way to retire him, turning a rare 3-6-3 on the speedster to end the inning.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 5-2: Nothing is coming easy for Buchholz, but he is keeping the A’s off the board for the most part. After getting the first two batters of the fourth, Buchholz allows a walk and a single, but gets Nomar to make the last out of the inning for the second time tonight. Buchholz is at 82 pitches through four.

End 3rd, Red Sox 5-2: Don’t look now, but the offense is back in town. The Red Sox erupt for five runs on five hits and a walk, with Ellsbury continuing his hot homestand with another single and key doubles by Youkilis and Drew. This is now 3 out of 4 games with at least five runs, after not reaching five runs in any of the first seven games after the break.

Mid 3rd, Athletics 2-0: On the same day Daisuke Matsuzaka and the Red Sox threw haymakers at each other, Buchholz is doing a fairly accurate Dice-K impersonation, allowing baserunners left and right and taking forever to get the ball to the plate. Buchholz struck out two in the third and allowed just an infield single, but it feels like he’s getting pounded by the amount of time it’s taking to get through an inning.

End 2nd, Athletics 2-0: Busy inning for Cabrera, who handles all three chances in a 1-2-3 inning for young Vin Mazzaro. Cabrera, who is 2-for-2 at the plate, climbs the ladder to rob Drew of a hit before throwing out Lowell on a ball very deep in the shortstop hole. Why can’t we get players like that?

Mid 2nd, Athletics 2-0: Nobody’s trading for Buchholz tonight. He’s taking forever, he’s allowing hits at an alarming rate, he’s just not that good tonight. The A’s get 4 of their 6 hits in the inning and score twice. Buchholz is at 43 pitches and seems to be really laboring.

7:50 p.m.: Great get by NESN, showing a clip of Rice hitting an 800-foot homer off Eck while the two razz each other in the booth. It also covers for George Kottaras, who might have been second-guessed by Don and Dennis for not trying to tag Ryan Sweeney on a potential play at the plate. Sweeney scored from second on a shallow single to right by Mark Ellis. J.D. Drew’s throw was wide right, but Kottaras never even thought to lunge to the plate for a tag play, instead throwing late to second and not getting Ellis.

End 1st, 0-0: Jacoby Ellsbury continues his hot homestand with a leadoff infield single and later steals his 45th base, but Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz can’t bring him home. Meanwhile, a sad day for NESN, as Don Orsillo and Dennis Eckersley take the coward route on a foul ball near the booth. Embarrassing.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Buchholz, making his first home start, seemed quite jacked up in that first inning, hitting 97 on the gun repeatedly. His command was a little off as a result, and 2004 trade partners Orlando Cabrera and Nomar touched Buchholz for singles. But Clay recovered to get Jack Cust on a called strike three, then got Kurt Suzuki to ground out to third to end a long, but scoreless, top of the first.

7:13 p.m.: The ceremony ends with Rice delivering another classy speech — including a heartfelt hello and thank you to the ailing Jerry Remy, who could not attend tonight — then a high and outside first pitch to Evans. And now it’s time to play ball.

7:04 p.m.: After a nice video tribute, another touching moment, as Johnny Pesky, who has his No. 6 retired last September, unveils the No. 14 on the right field facade. And now Jim takes the microphone to thank the Fenway faithful.

6:58 p.m.: It’s “That 70s Show” as Rice celebrates the moment with fellow “Gold Dust Twin” Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans, Carlton Fisk, Dennis Eckersley, Bob Stanley and Bob Montgomery.

6:55 p.m.: The ceremony for Jim Rice is underway,and we’ve already had our first goosebump moment: As Rice made his way toward home plate from left field, he was greeted with a big bear hug from Nomar Garciaparra. Rice was Nomar’s first hitting coach back in 1996.

6:05 p.m.: It’s going to be a special night at Fenway Park as Jim Rice’s No. 14 goes on the right field facade for all-time. We all know the numbers, but Rice became a Hall of Famer of another kind in Aug., 1982, when he went into the stands to rescue young Jonathan Keane, who had been struck by a foul ball behind the Red Sox dugout. Congratulations, Jim Ed.

1:30 p.m.: Buchholz said he expected to still be wearing a Red Sox uniform come Friday night, after the trade deadline passes. But Buchholz’s name remains prominent in trade rumors that could land the Red Sox players ranging from Roy Halladay to Victor Martinez to Adrian Gonzalez.

With Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield injured and John Smoltz struggling, the Red Sox might not want to give up their prized starting prospect, even at the expense of adding a needed bat. At the same time, tonight’s start is the last chance for the Red Sox to showcase Buchholz to any potential suitors, so this will be no ordinary night in July — not to mention the fact that Jim Rice will have his No. 14 retired before the game.

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