Red Sox Live Blog: Two-Run Eighth Gives Boston 5-3 Victory

Red Sox Live Blog: Two-Run Eighth Gives Boston 5-3 VictoryFinal, Red Sox 5-3: And that's all from the park as the Sox use a two-run eighth to win 5-3.

The Twins got the scoring started on a Jim Thome blast before Boston put together a three-run fifth.

John Lackey pitched five innings, giving up six hits, one run, walking one and striking out two.

It was Lackey's first walk of spring training.

Manny Delcarmen looked shaky on the mound although he put things together near the tail end of his outing.

Both Scott Schoeneweis and Joe Nelson didn't do much to separate themselves from one another in the race for the final bullpen spot.

Boston has two more spring training games remaining. The Red Sox face the Washington Nationals on Friday afternoon in Fort Myers, then the two teams will travel to D.C. for an exhibition game Saturday before the games count Sunday. The Sox will take on the Yankees at 8 p.m. on Sunday night on NESN.

Top ninth, 2 outs, Red Sox 5-3: After a Lehmann single, Benson flies out.

There's a fantastic pick by Sanchez on a Casilla grounder at second base and he throws off-balance to second to get the lead runner.

Solarte singles to right, and Casilla will get to third on the play.

Top ninth, no outs, Red Sox 5-3: Schoeneweis' competition for the final bullpen spot gets a crack at the ninth. Joe Nelson will face Danny Lehmann.

End eighth, Red Sox 5-3: Dusty Brown walked, then Bubba Bell closed out the inning by flying out.

The Twins will attempt to push across at least two runs in the top ninth. Otherwise, Boston will go home happy with a win.

Bottom eighth, 1 out, Red Sox 5-3: Aaron Bates rockets a single to left and Spears will trot home with an insurance run.

Bottom eighth, 1 out, Red Sox 4-3: Nate Spears sends one for a drive in deep right that hops on the warning track.

A running Kalish scores a run to push the Sox into the lead as Spears ends up at third.

Bottom eighth, 1 out, 3-3: Ron Mahay, who recently joined the Twins, is on the mound.

Mahay came up in the Red Sox farm system as an outfielder before converting to first.

He retires Sanchez on a fly to right and will now work on Kalish.

Mid eighth, 3-3: Sheely headed to right with Kalish moving to center. Left was manned by Bubba Bell.

Dusty Brown caught Schoeneweis, who got two quick outs before allowing a walk. He ended the frame by inducing Portes to foul out to Brown.

Top eighth, no outs, 3-3: Scott Schoeneweis is in to pitch and immediately induces a first-pitch fly out to first.

End seventh, 3-3: Mike Sheely runs for Cameron as Jason Varitek fouls out and Bill Hall flies out.

Sheely steals second with Hulett following with a walk. Frandsen ends the threat with a fly out.

Bottom seventh, no outs, 3-3: Jose Mijares, a left-hander, comes on to face Mike Cameron.

The 25-year-old had a paltry 2.34 ERA last season as a rookie and will be part of Minnesota's closer-by-committee in the aftermath of Joe Nathan's season-ending surgery.

Mijares walks Cameron to begin the frame.

Another note about Mijares: he has symptoms of blurred vision, and will eventually need surgery to correct it. It won't happen until after the season at the earliest, however.

That's intimidating for a batter, going up against someone you know has blurry vision. I wouldn't want to step to the plate against someone throwing in the mid-90s with that problem.

End seventh, 3-3: Peterson flies out as Nomar gave a little tutorial on timing pitchers and catchers in an attempt to steal second.

He named Gary Pettis as the most aggressive first-base coach he's had. Pettis' career high in stolen bases during his playing career was 56 back in 1985 for the California Angels.

Top seventh, 2 outs, 3-3: A walk to Solarte will end Delcarmen's day. 

Coming on to replace him is Fernando Cabrera, who was reassigned to minor league camp earlier today.

Top seventh, 2 outs, 3-3: Delcarmen has been much crisper this inning, although he's needed some help from his fielders.

The first batter grounded out to short, but the play at the base was very, very close.

Delcarmen then induced a dying quail that newly-inserted Ryan Kalish had to come on fast for to register the out.

Other lineup changes include Nate Spears at third and Aaron Bates at first.

Top seventh, no outs, 3-3: And Delcarmen is indeed getting back on the horse and will try to execute a clean inning.

End sixth, 3-3: Danny Lehman is behind the dish for the Twins. Portes shifted to right field and Yangervis Solarte joins the hot corner. Matt Guerrier is doing the pitching.

Adrian Beltre popped to second, then Lowell tested Solarte with a scorcher before being retired at first.

Bottom sixth, 1 out, 3-3: Nick Blackburn is back out with 69 pitches to his name and induces a J.D. Drew groundout.

Mid sixth, 3-3: A flyout to Cameron ends the inning. It's doubtful Delcarmen comes out for the seventh, and it was not announced prior to the game who will follow Delcarmen.

It's possible Tito will run MDC back out there to try to get a clean inning out of him and boost his confidence.

Top sixth, 2 outs, 3-3: Portes rips a fly ball to Hall, who gathers the pitch in and keeps the runners where they are.

Top sixth, 1 out, 3-3: Is Nomar reading this live blog as he announces?

He just wondered if the Red Sox might be forced to re-evaluate their decision to carry Delcarmen on the Opening Day roster.

Beresford is up at the plate and quickly gets down to an 0-2 count. The 21-year-old grounds just to the left of the second base bag, but a sliding Frandsen sees the ball trickle through to center.

It's a two-run single and the game is knotted at 3-3 with men on first and second for Juan Portes.

Top sixth, 1 out, Red Sox 3-1: Tough to defend against that play as Jones executes a bunt and legs it out for a single.

Men on first and second now, with Steve Singleton pinch-running for Jones.

Dinkleman runs things to a 2-0 count before Delcarmen dings him in the lower back. The bases are juiced, and John Farrell is heading out to calm down MDC.

Top sixth, 1 out, Red Sox 3-1: Delcarmen is really laboring here. He simply can't hit his spots and you have to question if he should be handed a bullpen spot with the way he's pitching at this point.

He simply hasn't looked right all spring training, continuing his slump from 2009 when he posted a 7.27 ERA following the All-Star break.

Peterson fouls out to Lowell for the first out.

Jacque Jones is pinch-hitting for Jim Thome.

Top sixth, no outs, Red Sox 3-1: Delcarmen is not looking good. He isn't hitting his spots and his fastballs are missing high.

This one misses high and inside and hits Angel Morales to put him on base.

Angel Sanchez has replaced Pedroia at second.

Top sixth, no outs, Red Sox 3-1: After just 76 pitches, John Lackey exits the game with Manny Delcarmen coming in.

Lackey is being interviewed right now and says it's not about making it to 90 pitches, it's about making sure you're ready for the season. Pitch count is irrelevant, and he feels prepared to get over 100 pitches.

Sounds like the team is just being careful, but it would have been nice to see him get at least 85.

End fifth, Red Sox 3-1: And the BoSox will enter the sixth with a 3-1 lead after Dustin Pedroia flies to center.

Kevin Frandsen pinch-ran for Scutaro, so he'll open up the sixth at short.

Bottom fifth, 2 outs, Red Sox 3-1: And the crowd goes wild as Scutaro kicks a grounder off the mound into center to bring two men around.

He stands alone on first with two RBIs to his name.

Bottom fifth, 2 outs, 1-1: The patented "productive" out… as productive as an out can ever get.

Hulett grounds out, allowing Lowell to scoot home and tie things up.

Bottom fifth, 1 out, Twins 1-0: Varitek dumps a single into center, setting up a first-and-second situation.

Juan Portes has entered the game for the Twins at third, so no projected starters for the Twins are in the game.

Bill Hall rips a pitch into the gap between center field and right field. The ball is cut off and the bases are loaded for Tug Hulett.

Bottom fifth, 1 out, Twins 1-0: Lowell reaches on an infield single to third, followed by Mike Cameron skying a pitch to second.

John Farrell is being interviewed right now and says the final bullpen spot will be filled by someone who gets out left-handed batters, regardless of whether the pitcher is left- or right-handed.

Alan Embree has been told he won't make the Opening Day roster, so it's down to lefty Scott Schoeneweis and righty Joe Nelson and his Vulcan changeup.

Mid fifth, Twins 1-0: Benson singles to set up a first-and-second, but Casilla grounds into a twin-killing.

See what I did there? Played off the Twins with the twin-killing term for double play?

I'll be here all week.

Top fifth, 1 out, Twins 1-0: We've got a slate of changes. Bryan Petersen pinch-ran for Cuddyer in the top fourth, and now mans first.

In the bottom of the fourth, William Benson entered the game at center, Alexi Casilla at second, Brian Dinkleman in left and James Beresford at short. Angel Morales is also now in right field.

Whew — we're all caught up now. Some of these names were tough to track down.

Brendan Harris has fouled out to right, Drew Butera singles and Benson has ran things to a 3-0 count.

End fourth, Twins 1-0: Adrian Beltre sends one deeeeep, but it's caught at the wall to retire Boston.

Mid fourth, Twins 1-0: John Lackey has thrown 69 pitches so far, walking one and whiffing two. He'll break the 90-pitch barrier before being lifted.

Blackburn is through three with just 39 pitches.

The Rangers have claimed first baseman Ryan Garko off waivers from the Mariners. No room for Lowell in the Lone Star State now.

Top fourth, 2 outs, Twins 1-0: Jim Thome bounces a pitch off the plate to sky a high grounder to Lowell, who steps on first to force Thome out.

Michael Cuddyer was on via a single, so Lowell tossed the ball to second to erase a sliding Cuddyer.

The shift was on, so Adrian Beltre was the acting shortstop. He's been busy this game.

Delmon Young rips a single to keep the inning going.

End third, Twins 1-0: The Sox go 1-2-3 and both pitchers are cruising.

Mid third, Twins 1-0: Lackey proves he hasn't suddenly developed Steve Blass Disease by whiffing Kubel.

Top third, 2 outs, Twins 1-0: Stop the presses. Orlando Hudson has walked, giving Lackey his first free pass of spring training.

End second, Twins 1-0: Jason Varitek didn't look particularly good in that at-bat as he strikes out.

It's very odd to hear Nomar Garciaparra announcing the game for ESPN — both because of his distaste for the media in his playing career and the fact that he's no longer an active player.

Bottom second, 2 outs, Twins 1-0: Mike Lowell rings a line drive to Hardy.

The ball has been coming very well off his bat lately and while his defense will never be the same, he's not embarrassing himself out there.

Whatever team and role he ends up on, he'll do just fine this year.

Mike Cameron pops to first for the second out.

End second, Twins 1-0: Beltre shows he's fine by ranging to his left for Brendan Harris' groundball and slinging the ball to Lowell to end the inning.

Top second, 2 outs, Twins 1-0: Battle of the third basemen in front of the mound as Adrian Beltre and Mike Lowell got a little too close for comfort to register J.J. Hardy's pop out.

It looks like Lowell may have stepped on Beltre's foot. That's one way to get the 3B job back.

Top second, no outs, Twins 1-0: Jim Thome explains why the Twins signed him, letting his bat do the talking with a home run to center.

Thome ran things to a full-count, fouled two pitches off then deposited the ball over the Northeastern University advertisement (just had to give some love to my alma mater).

Thome is a great get for the Twins. He'll play frequently off the bench and give Minnesota some power for a minimal price — $1.5 million.

End first, 0-0: Beltre's power will have to wait as he flails at a pitch down and away to end the frame.

You'll be seeing these types of strikeouts frequently from Beltre this season: he's got defense and power, but isn't exactly J.D. Drew with the batting eye out there.

Bottom first, 2 outs, 0-0: Marco Scutaro gets things started with a single, but Dustin Pedroia lines out.

J.D. Drew battles back from an 0-2 hole to push things to a 2-2 set before grounding out to first. Scutaro advances to second as cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre strides to the plate.

Beltre has just one extra-base hit all spring training. It'd be nice if he showed some power before the regular season just to assuage concerns.

Mid first, 0-0: And that's why Boston signed Adrian Beltre. He just made a nifty play that ended up with the ball behind his back as he slid sitting up on the ground.

The throw was on the money to retire Michael Cuddyer. Kubel had previously fouled out to Beltre.

Top first, 1 out, 0-0: Orlando Hudson singles to center as Jason Kubel steps to the plate.

John Lackey will be followed by Manny Delcarmen, and doing the hitting for Boston is:

Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mike Lowell 1B
Mike Cameron CF
Jason Varitek C
Bill Hall LF
Tug Hulett DH

The Twins pitcher will be Nick Blackburn, followed by righties Pat Neshek, Jesse Crain and Matt Guerrier.

Top first, 1 out, 0-0: John Lackey starts the game off with a ball then gets Denard Span to fly out to Bill Hall in left. Your Twins lineup:

Denard Span CF
Orlando Hudson 2B
Jason Kubel RF
Michael Cuddyer 1B
Jim Thome DH
Delmon Young LF
J.J. Hardy SS
Brendan Harris 3B
Drew Butera C

1 p.m.: As the game starts, four more news items out of Sox camp:

  • Reliever Scott Atchinson has made the team. He played the last two years in Japan then came back stateside to give his daughter better medical care. There is one bullpen spot remaining.
  • Money may be holding up a deal with the Rangers, but the New York Mets may be a new suitor for Mike Lowell due to David Murphy, New York's first baseman, being knocked out for two to six weeks thanks to a MCL sprain.
  • The Orioles acquired the ever-popular ex-Red Sox shortstop Julio Lugo today from the Cardinals for a player to be named later. Lugo will provide insurance for second baseman Brian Roberts, who is still dealing with back problems.
  • David Ortiz will not play in the game today thanks to a stiff neck.

11:32 a.m.: A few updates from NESN.com's Tony Lee, who is heading out of Fort Myers this afternoon:

  • Jacoby Ellsbury is out again with a sore arm (not sure which one), as Terry Francona said he would "just rather wait another day."
  • Jeremy Hermida will play in a minor league game Friday and will go to Washington with the team. He has been out since the weekend with a tight right hammy.
  • Kevin Youkilis is out for the day after taking a foul ball off his right knee on Wednesday. He will be fine.
  • Francona on Embree: "I thought we saw enough fastballs down in the zone that we know it was there. It was probably a long shot to have him be ready. I think he knows that. I think his excitement the first couple of days clouded that, which is understandable. I think he needs some time to pitch."
  • John Lackey will probably get about 90-95 pitches, but Francona reserved the right to change that because of all the relievers he wants to see. In addition to Scott Schoeneweis, Manny Delcarmen is supposed to get two innings. His velocity has been down much of the spring.
  • Right-handed pitcher Fernando Cabrera was reassigned to the minor league camp.

8:00 a.m.: The Red Sox will play their penultimate spring training game in Fort Myers on Thursday, squaring off the Minnesota Twins at 1:05 p.m. (ESPN).

No Mayor's Cup will be on the line as Boston clinched that honor with Sunday's 11-5 victory. It will be their seventh and final game against the Twinkies.

The Red Sox are 14-14-1 entering Thursday play with three games left and will send John Lackey to the mound in his last tuneup before squaring off against the Yankees next Wednesday. He'll square off against Nick Blackburn.

Lackey has yet to walk a batter in his 15 spring training innings. It will be interesting to see if he can keep up that pinpoint control. He figures to get his pitch counts in the 90s much like Josh Beckett and Jon Lester did in their final spring training starts.

Check back at 1 p.m. and we'll take you through all the action.

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