Live Blog: Red Sox Oust Twins 2-1


Live Blog: Red Sox Oust Twins 2-1Postgame, Red Sox 2-1: Josh Reddick made quite a splash when he was called upon to fill a spot in the Red Sox outfield last August, recording two doubles and a home run in his first two starts.

Although other prospects seem to get a bit more notoriety, Reddick stood out in the Grapefruit League opener. He singled in the third and was stranded, but came around after doubling in the eighth to give the Sox the eventual game-winning run.

Reddick also showed his versatility by starting in center field and moving to right in the sixth, when he made a running catch to rob Ben Revere of a hit.

The 23-year-old’s play served as a nice complement to a strong showing by eight Boston pitchers who combined to allow just four hits and a run. Scott Atchison got the win and Joe Nelson the save, early honors for two veterans hoping to break camp with the club.

Game No. 2 of the Mayor’s Cup series is Friday at Hammond Stadium.

Red Sox 2-1, Final: Josh Beckett gave up a run after facing just three batters, but he and seven other Red Sox hurlers close the door on the Twins thereafter as Boston strikes first in the Mayor’s Cup series.

Beckett retired the final four men he faced and the Sox surrendered just two hits over the last eight innings.

These same two teams go at it tomorrow afternoon at Minnesota’s minor league home across town. Jon Lester is scheduled to get the start for Boston, with Tim Wakefield also on tap to see some action.

End 8th, Red Sox 2-1: You’d love to see Jonathan Papelbon storm in from the bullpen and close this one out after the Red Sox rallied for the lead. Alas, he already tossed an inning and frankly this doesn’t count for much.

That said, veteran Joe Nelson will have a chance to finish off the Twins after the Sox scratch a run in the bottom of the eighth.

Josh Reddick doubled to lead off the inning, his second hit of the game. He moved to third on a grounder and came in when catcher Mark Wagner lined a single past a drawn-in infield.

A nice game for Reddick, who also had a nice running catch to go along with his 2-for-4 effort.

Mid 8th, 1-1: Scott Atchison comes on and barely breaks a sweat in a perfect eighth and this one keeps rolling along as fans head for the exits and a bit of warmth.

Atchison last saw action in the United States on Sept. 29, 2007, when he was a member of the San Francisco Giants. He spent the last two years in Japan.

End 7th, 1-1: Jose Iglesias is aggressive again at the dish as he goes after the first pitch he sees from Kyle Waldrop and lines it hard to second base.

The 20-year-old Iglesias crushed an early offering from a BC Eagle for a bases-clearing double that served as the highlight of the 6-1 win for the Red Sox on Wednesday.

Tonight’s mighty cut is simply part of another 1-2-3 inning for the Sox, their fourth in the game.

Mid 7th, 1-1: Brian Shouse has some work to do to make the Sox’ roster going north, and he’s off to a bit of a rough start.

The 41-year-old, who appeared in 45 games for Tampa Bay last season, allowed a single and a walk with one out before getting out of a jam.

But Shouse is normally used to face lefties and had to face a run of righties in the seventh, so that has to be taken into account.

End 6th, 1-1: The Red Sox break through against Mike Maroth, a former Boston farmhand who is the last pitcher to lose at least 20 games in a season.

Maroth, you might recall, was 9-21 for the abysmal 2003 Detroit Tigers. Interestingly enough, he led the club in wins and winning percentage, which goes to show you just how terrible that club was.

Maroth, who hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2007 due to a series of injuries, gave up a leadoff double to Dusty Brown, a walk to Jacoby Ellsbury and then an RBI single by Dustin Pedroia before recording an out.

Lars Anderson hits into a double play and Aaron Bates flies to right to allow Maroth to escape any further trouble.

Mid 6th, Twins 1-0: One of the most overused statements uttered during spring training is that pitchers are ahead of hitters in terms of rounding into form.

It may be cliche, but we’re seeing a prime example in this one.

Ramon Ramirez works around a two-out walk for the Red Sox and gets a little bit of help from Josh Reddick, who moved from center to right field and made a nice running catch.

The Sox are slowly removing their starters. Che-Hsuan Lin is in center, with Reddick moving over and Jeremy Hermida out. And all eyes are on Jose Iglesias at shortstop, the defensive whiz who had a three-run double in the win over Boston College on Wednesday night.

End 5th, Twins 1-0: The awkward, yet effective, sidearmer Pat Neshek continues to keep the Red Sox’ bats silent with a perfect inning.

Nine straight Boston batters and 14 of the last 15 have been set down by Twins pitchers.

Mid 5th, Twins 1-0: What is it like to be a catcher in the Twins organization? Must be kind of like getting your driver’s license but knowing you will always ride shotgun.

One of those looking up at Joe Mauer is Drew Butera, who just became Daniel Bard’s first strikeout victim of the spring.

Bard worked a perfect frame and now will likely yield to Ramon Ramirez.

End 4th, Twins 1-0: Just two baserunners for the Sox through four innings, and neither got past first base.

Kevin Slowey gets a 1-2-3 inning with a little help from first baseman Brock Peterson, who stretches to haul in a throw from second baseman Steve Singleton and retire Adrian Beltre.

Daniel Bard is expected to take the mound next for Boston. Expect the defensive changes and pinch runners (if anyone ever gets on) to now come fast and furious.

Mid 4th, Twins 1-0: Marco Scutaro gives us his first defensive gem of the spring with a backhanded dive and strong throw to nail the speedy Alexi Casilla.

The play helped limit the damage against Hideki Okajima, who allowed a walk and a single before escaping.

This figures to be a big year for Okajima. While he’s been solid since joining the Red Sox before the 2007 season, almost all of the 34-year-old’s numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

Okajima’s innings have decreased each season since 2007, while his ERA, WHIP and opponents’ batting average have all increased.

End 3rd, Twins 1-0: A leadoff single by Josh Reddick goes nowhere as Kevin Slowey retires the next three Red Sox hitters.

It did not necessarily come easily, however, as Dustin Pedroia gave Slowey a bit of a battle before grounding back to the mound on a 3-2 offering.

Mid 3rd, Twins 1-0: Good to see Jonathan Papelbon out there again getting people out. You likely don’t need to be reminded how it went the last time he was on the mound.

The Sox’ closer retires the side in order and seven straight Twins have been set down.

The Mayor’s Cup, awarded annually to whichever of these two Fort Myers-based teams wins the spring series, is sometimes joked about with the players. It is never much of an indication of future success.

Yet the Red Sox and Twins come into this spring’s seven-game set at a very similar juncture. Both were swept in the first round of the playoffs, losing the decisive game at home on a bullpen collapse. Both figure to contend in their respective divisions, yet many prognosticators tab them second or even third in some cases.

Maybe this is the year the Mayor’s Cup means a little bit more. Doubtful, but sometimes these games need a little spice so let’s imagine it is so.

End 2nd, Twins 1-0: Three newly acquired Red Sox came up. Three newly acquired Red Sox sat down.

Adrian Beltre, Marco Scutaro and Jeremy Hermida go quietly in the second and Nick Blackburn is doing what he does best for the Twins — throwing strikes and getting ground balls.

Mid 2nd, Twins 1-0: A bit smoother for Josh Beckett in his second frame as he sets down the Twins in order.

Beckett fans Jacque Jones on a fastball and then induces a pair of grounders to Dustin Pedroia.

That’s about it for Beckett, who ends his first spring outing on a good note. Get ready for Jonathan Papelbon to take the hill.

End 1st, Twins 1-0: Does anyone remember Jacque Jones? You may now.

Jones, who was out of baseball last year and is a non-roster invitee of the Twins this spring, makes a diving catch to rob David Ortiz of a hit in the bottom of the first.

The 34-year-old Jones starred for the Twins from 1999-2005 and hit 27 home runs for the Cubs in 2006 before fading away.

His catch helps Nick Blackburn work around a one-out single by Dustin Pedroia.

Mid 1st, Twins 1-0: Josh Beckett’s spring gets off to a bumpy start as he allows a run on a pair of singles, both of which were hit pretty well.

The tall Texan avoids further trouble by inducing an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The singles came off the bat of Denard Span and Jason Kubel, with a grounder by Alexi Casilla sandwiched in for the first out.

We may see Beckett for a second inning, but for now will watch the Sox take on Nick Blackburn, who spun a gem against the Sox last May.

6:35 p.m.: It’s another chilly night in Fort Myers, but the place is packed as the race for the Mayor’s Cup gets underway.

We know Josh Beckett is going to start and go either one or two innings. He will be followed by Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Daniel Bard, Ramon Ramirez, Brian Shouse, Scott Atchison and Joe Nelson.

The first four of that group after Beckett are locks, but the last three need to show something this spring to land a gig.

As for the Red Sox lineup, it will look like this to start:

Jacoby Ellsbury — LF
Dustin Pedroia — 2B
David Ortiz — DH
Kevin Youkilis — 1B
Adrian Beltre — 3B
Marco Scutaro — SS
Jeremy Hermida — RF
Josh Reddick — CF
Dusty Brown — C

The Twins start Nick Blackburn, followed by Kevin Slowey, Pat Neshek, Mike Maroth, Deolis Guerra, Jose Lugo and Kyle Waldrop.

Their lineup consists of the following:

Denard Span — CF
Alexi Casilla — 2B
Jason Kubel — DH
Michael Cuddyer — RF
Jacque Jones — LF
Brendan Harris — 3B
Brock Peterson — 1B
Drew Butera — C
Matt Tolbert — SS

12:47 p.m.:Following a pair of split-squad scrimmages with Northeastern University and Boston College, the Red Sox get down to business with their first exhibition game of the spring, handing Josh Beckett the ball in a Grapefruit League matchup with the Minnesota Twins.

First pitch at City of Palms Park is set for 7:05 p.m. and we will be following all the action right here.

Beckett is coming off a season in which he went 17-6 and posted an ERA of 3.86, yet for whatever reason some perceived it as a down year. The 17 wins were the second-most he has had as a member of the Red Sox and his 199 strikeouts and 212 1/3 innings were both career-highs.

Opponents hit just .244 against Beckett, also his best mark in four years with Boston.

Entering a contract year, Beckett is hoping to get off to a better start than he did last year, when he went 2-2 with a 7.22 ERA in April, and this start is the first step in that process.

Nick Blackburn is scheduled to start for the Twins.

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