Live Blog: Red Sox vs. A’s

Live Blog: Red Sox vs. A's

Athletics 8-6, FINAL: The Red Sox had a great chance to return the favor to the A's, but came up one hit short. Mike Lowell, who had 5 RBI tonight, singled home Ellsbury, who led off with a single, but J.D. Drew, batting as the potential winning run, grounded out to end it. The deficit is now 3 1/2 games, but there's no time to dwell. Jon Lester takes the hill for a 1:35 p.m. start on Thursday.

Mid 9th, Athletics 8-5: Jacoby Ellsbury leads off the ninth for the Sox. When he's reached tonight, he's scored. Meanwhile, the Yankees have won. Buckle up, boys and girls!

End 8th, Athletics 8-5: Things got very interesting in the eighth, as David Ortiz, his daughter OK after a hospital scare Tuesday night, pinch hits as the tying run with two outs. But Craig Breslow, another son of Connecticut, gets Papi to pop out, with Adam Kennedy doing a dance by the mound and making a sno-cone catch.

Mid 8th, Athletics 8-4: Down at the Trop, the Rays are trying to rally from a 6-0 deficit, scoring twice with nobody out. But if the Yankees hold on, they'll be in position to increase their lead to 3 1/2 games. All the more reason for the Sox to get busy with two innings to play.

End 7th, Athletics 8-4: Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been red-hot this homestand, gets his first hit of tonight's game, and it's a big one. His one-out triple leads to the fourth Red Sox run on Pedroia's groundout. The two times Ellsbury has reached tonight, he has scored. But it's going to take a lot more from the rest of the lineup to pull this one out.

Mid 7th, Athletics 8-3: Masterson strikes out two in the inning, but it's too little, too late, unless the bats can come back to life.

End 6th, Athletics 8-3: Another strong inning from Anderson, who shakes off a two-base throwing error by Davis that allowed Lowell to reach thid with two outs. It was the first Red Sox baserunner to advance farther than first base since Lowell's homer in the first inning.

Mid 6th, Athletics 8-3: Masterson can't stop the bleeding, with Eric Patterson doubling home two more runs after Dustin Pedroia dropped a throw at first on Davis' sacrifice bunt. That closed the book on Penny, who allows seven runs on seven hits in five-plus innings.

8:59 p.m.: The leadoff man was a key for Brad Penny tonight. Twice, Penny allowed homers to the first batter. In two other innings, a walk and here in the sixth, a double to Mark Ellis that ends his evening. In the two innings that Penny retired the leadoff hitter, he went 1-2-3. Two out of six didn't get it done tonight. Justin Masterson is now in the game.

End 5th, Athletics 6-3: Anderson is dealing now. He's had at least one strikeout in every inning and two Ks in three innings, including Youkilis and Bay to end the fifth.

Mid 5th, Athletics 6-3: Penny blinks second first. Kurt Suzuki leads off the inning with a solo homer, and though Penny makes it through the inning — with help from Jack Cust running into an out at second on a Wall single — he's close to being done.

End 4th, Athletics 5-3: You have to wonder if Lowell's first-inning homer was the last, best chance to get to Anderson. He has gotten stronger with each inning, throwing a 1-2-3 inning with his sixth strikeout.

Mid 4th, Athletics 5-3: Penny is nothing if not consistent tonight. In the odd-number innings, Penny has thrown 37 and 25 pitches. In the even-numbers, 11 and 12. The fourth brings another 1-2-3 inning and five in a row overall.

End 3rd, Athletics 5-3: Brett Anderson appears to be doing the better job of settling in after a rough first inning. Anderson strikes out two in the inning, giving him four for the night.

Mid 3rd, Athletics 5-3: The walks didn't kill Penny in the third, but they sure aren't helping matters. Penny walked two more in the inning, but neither scored as Davis finally failed to come up with a crushing two-out hit. But the walks did translate into a 25-pitch inning, and Penny is now at 73 through three.

End 2nd, Athletics 5-3: Both pitchers enjoy a quiet second inning, with Anderson yielding just a one-out single to Jed Lowrie. The question is, who will blink for the second time first?

Mid 2nd, Athletics 5-3: Penny bounces back in a big way, throwing a quick 1-2-3 inning, needing just 11 pitches to get back to the dugout. Five more of those and Terry Francona will be quite pleased.

End 1st, Athletics 5-3: And back come the Red Sox. Mike Lowell, batting fifth with David Ortiz not in the lineup, smacks a three-run homer to left. Walks are killing both pitchers tonight. Brett Anderson walks Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis and both walk home on the Lowell homer.

Mid 1st, Athletics 5-0: Well, that didn't go well. Brad Penny allows five runs on four hits and two walks, throwing 37 pitches and likely putting the bullpen in a very tough spot.

Rajai Davis, who killed the Red Sox in the late innings Tuesday, strikes the key blow in the first tonight, doubling home three runs to make it 5-0. The pride of Norwich, CT isn't doing New England's team any favors this week.

7:15 p.m.: Looks like Justin Masterson might be needed for a whole lot of innings tonight. Brad Penny has faced four batters so far and all have reached. Adam Kennedy leads off with a homer, then two singles and a walk to load the bases. Tonight's worst-case scenario is becoming a reality.

6:55 p.m.: With Cliff Lee off the trading board, going to the Phillies in a pre-deadline deal, speculation is renewed that the biggest pitching prize, Roy Halladay, could be there for the Red Sox to swoop in and take.

But for tonight, the only pitcher that matters is Brad Penny, who has yet to go seven full innings in a start for the Sox. The bullpen is a bit depleted after last night's fiasco, so getting a long outing from Penny would be a huge help. The weather could factor into this tonight, with storms on the horizon. The key man tonight will be Justin Masterson, who could be asked to pitch multiple innings.

1:15 p.m.: The ceremony for Jim Rice notwithstanding, Tuesday was a very bad day for the Boston Red Sox. It started with a very public spat between pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka and the front office and ended with a grisly 9-8, 11-inning loss to the Athletics, featuring a blown three-run lead in the ninth, courtesy of Nick Green's consecutive throwing errors.

So where do they go from here?

The deficit in the American League East remains just 2 1/2 games after the Yankees lost to Tampa, so the angst over last night is muted somewhat. But the team remains in need of a spark, perhaps via the trading deadline, perhaps via the awakening of slumping bats. Two of the worst offenders on the recent road trip — Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew — have come back to life during the homestand. The LaRoche-Lowell-Youkilis turnstile has produced results as well, and the Red Sox have scored seven runs or more in three of four games. But, as always, it's about pitching, and the Sox desperately need Brad Penny to go deep tonight after a rare July implosion by the bullpen Tuesday night.

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