Red Sox 3-1, FINAL: Papelbon strikes out the side and the Red Sox take the first game of the doubleheader to increase their Wild Card lead to 3 1/2 games. Game 2 is at 5 p.m., as the Red Sox look to make it five in a row on the homestand.
End 8th, Red Sox 3-1: Pedroia was 6-for-33 with one homer in his career against Garza before his eighth-inning at-bat. Make that two homers and … I LOST MY LEG!
2:28 p.m.: Pedroia over the bullpen wall in right. 3-1 Red Sox. Jonathan Papelbon warming up.
2:26 p.m.: Ellsbury puts down a perfect sacrifice bunt, nearly beating it out for a hit. Instead, Gathright is at third with one out and Pedroia up.
2:24 p.m.: Ortiz jumps all over a breaking ball on 3-and-2 and short-hops the low bullpen wall in right for a leadoff double. Joey Gathright is running for Ortiz and Ellsbury is up.
2:20 p.m.: David Ortiz will pinch hit for Green leading off the ninth. Ortiz is 2-for-21 in his career against Garza, but both hits are homers.
Mid 8th, 1-1: Okajima does his job, working a 1-2-3 inning to keep it tied. Nick Green, Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia are due up in the bottom half against Garza.
End 7th, 1-1: Back in the game, Garza responds by striking out the side. Buchholz is done after seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Hideki Okajima is in to open the inning.
Mid 7th, 1-1: A wild play ends a tense inning for the Red Sox as the Rays fail to take the lead. The Rays put runners at second and third with two outs and Jason Bartlett hit a ball up the middle that Pedroia gloved, but couldn't throw accurately to first, allowing one run to score. Gabe Gross tried to score from second as Casey Kotchman controlled Pedroia's throw and fired home. Victor Martinez wound up on his back like a goalie, and Gross slid into Martinez's legs as the tag was applied. The call was out, and the inning was over at 1-1.
End 6th, Red Sox 1-0: The Red Sox bullpen has not pitched since Wednesday, so if Buchholz encounters any trouble over the final nine outs, all hands are on deck. The way Clay has thrown the ball so far, it doesn't appear to be a pressing need. Buchholz is at 79 pitches.
1:46 p.m.: Victor Martinez does it again. After a one-out double by Dustin Pedroia, Martinez singles to right to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth. Martinez extends his hitting streak to 14 games.
Mid 6th, 0-0: The Rays put together their first serious threat against Buchholz, getting a one-out single from Carl Crawford and a two-out walk to Ben Zobrist. But Buchholz holds firm, getting Pat Burrell on a grounder to third to keep the shutout alive.
End 5th, 0-0: Josh Reddick breaks up Garza's string of nine in a row with a one-out single, but Nick Green, who was 2-for-5 in his career against Garza before today, hits into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Mid 5th, 0-0: Buchholz allows just the third batted ball to leave the infield out of 18 batters, but it goes for a lineout to left to end the inning. Buchholz has one strikeout in each of his five innings, against one hit and two walks. He sits comfortably at 64 pitches.
End 4th, 0-0: You have to wonder if that two on, one out situation in the second was the Red Sox's one chance to score today. Since Baldelli's single, Garza has set down eight in a row.
Mid 4th, 0-0: Sorry Mr. Kilgore, no no-no today. Ben Zobrist hits a solid single to right with two outs to end the bid, but that's all the Rays can muster in the inning. Buchholz, who entered today with a 2-to-1 groundball/flyball out ratio in 11 starts, has seven GB outs and one FB out so far today.
End 3rd, 0-0: Garza has his first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon, inducing three groundouts from the top three in the Red Sox order. First team to one probably wins today.
Mid 3rd, 0-0: The no-hitter remains intact, but the perfect game is over. Buchholz walks leadoff hitter Gregg Zaun, but he takes care of business from there, getting Chris Richard on an 80 mph changeup for the second out, then scrambling to his right and throwing out Jason Bartlett from his knees to end the inning.
End 2nd, 0-0: The "B" squad does OK against Garza, but not enough to score a run. Casey Kotchman and Rocco Baldelli hit back-to-back singles with one out, but Josh Reddick (pop-up) and Nick Green (groundout) can't plate the first run.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Buchholz continues to impress with the command and versatility of his pitches, baffling Pat Burrell on a 79 mph changeup for his second strikeout of the game. It's six-up, six-down so far and Buchholz finally looks like the phenom the Red Sox refused to trade.
End 1st, 0-0: Matt Garza is 7-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his career against the Red Sox, including his two 2008 ALCS victories. This year, it's 2-0 with a 2.55 ERA. The Red Sox threatened to boost that ERA in the first, with Jacoby Ellsbury leading off with a double to left. But Garza got the next three, striking out Kevin Youkilis to end the inning.
Mid 1st, 0-0: Adam Kilgore of the Boston Globe, sitting just to my left in the Fenway press box, has just predicted a Buchholz no-hitter today. He's 1/9th of the way there: strikeout, groundout, flyout.
12:06 p.m.: We are underway at Fenway, with Clay Buchholz looking to win his fourth consecutive start and five straight decision.
11 a.m.: The sun is shining over Fenway Park, and that's all that really matters today, isn't it? After 40 days and 40 nights of rain (OK, maybe just two), the Red Sox and Rays are set to play a doubleheader this afternoon, first game at noon.
The Red Sox increased their wild-card lead over Texas to three games Saturday night, and with a slight cushion to work with — not to mention the deadly Matt Garza pitching today's opener — Terry Francona has taken a split-squad approach to this one.
The top five of the lineup looks routine — Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis and Jason Bay — but then things get a little wonky. Bay is the DH in Game 1, and the rest of the order looks like this: Casey Kotchman, Rocco Baldelli, Josh Reddick and Nick Green. The regular lineup is being saved for James Shields in the nightcap. Have fun, Clay Buchholz!
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