Postgame, Red Sox 11-5: Getaway day when there are well over 30 players in the clubhouse can make for a pretty wild scene. There was equipment and bags everywhere downstairs, all headed to Oakland. There were also plenty of smiles.
The Red Sox will touch down 6 1/2 games back in the wild card race and still keeping one eye on the scoreboard as Tampa Bay plays three games in Toronto. Just in case.
After a day off, Clay Buchholz goes against Oakland's Trevor Cahill in a great matchup of two 15-6 right-handers. First pitch is 10:05 p.m.
Final, Red Sox 11-5: Seventeen hits, including five home runs, give the Sox a win in the series and season finale with the Rays.
Tim Wakefield becomes the oldest pitcher in team history to win a game and Marco Scutaro matches career highs with two home runs and four hits.
There are just nine home games left, folks. Thirteen remain on the road, including a six-game trip that begins in Oakland on Friday.
Back in a few to wrap up the homestand.
End 8th, Red Sox 11-5: It is indeed Hideki Okajima in the ninth. He has thrown 3 1/3 scoreless innings since returning from the DL, in case you cared about that.
If you are one of those still holding out hope, you might find some in the Rays' schedule. They have to play New York seven more times, including four in Yankee Stadium and fly west twice. Tampa Bay visits Toronto after it is done at Fenway.
Mid 8th, Red Sox 11-5: Daniel Bard walked the leadoff man on four pitches and later gave up a single, but a double play helps him keep the Rays off the board in the eighth.
Hideki Okajima is throwing in the bullpen.
End 7th, Red Sox 11-5: Before Marco Scutaro's two-run homer the Red Sox saw Lars Anderson pick up his first career RBI with his second hit of the night.
In addition to going deep twice in a game for the second time in his career Scutaro has four hits in a game for the seventh time. Josh Reddick doubled to lead off the seventh and has three hits for the first time in his career.
Boston has 17 hits, five of them homers.
9:50 p.m.: Marco Scutaro has gone deep for a second time, matching a career high, and the Sox are still threatening in the seventh. Lance Cormier is coming on to try to stop the bleeding for Tampa Bay, which has seen Boston put forth its best offensive series of the season.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 8-5: Three more quick outs for Scott Atchison and we get to the stretch with the Red Sox in good shape. Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon likely will be called upon to finish this one off and send the club to Oakland on a winning note. Maybe.
End 6th, Red Sox 8-5: The Red Sox get one run but lose a chance at some more with a bizarre double play.
The trailing runner is entitled to the base, as far as I understand it, in situations such as the one we just saw, which had both Victor Martinez and Eric Patterson tagged out. Martinez was standing on third base when Patterson dove back, having been caught in a rundown. Patterson then got up and dashed home, perhaps unaware that if he had just gone back to the bag in the first place he would've been fine and Martinez would be out.
I think. I'll admit things got a bit fuzzy and we didn't really get an explanation up here. Feel free to correct me.
In any event, bad base running by Martinez. Patterson was not far off third and correctly held on Ortiz's grounder to second, which started the whole thing. But it was Martinez who was too far off second and gave Zobrist the chance to run someone down. That's when heck broke loose, resulting in Martinez breaking to third and both meeting up there.
Mid 6th, Red Sox 7-5: He gave up five runs — four earned — in five innings but Tim Wakefield may become the oldest Red Sox pitcher to ever record a win if the club hangs onto this one.
With Scott Atchison in the game they have every chance to. Atchison has a 2.49 ERA over his last 19 appearances dating back to before the All-Star break.
End 5th, Red Sox 7-5: Although last night's defeat may have done in the Sox, one thing you can say is that the bats have come out in a big way this series.
With three more runs in the fifth Boston has scored 24 runs in the series. Its high for a series this year, including four-game sets, is 25, set here against Philadelphia in June.
Ryan Kalish added an RBI double to Victor Martinez's home run. Kalish then scored from second on a throwing error by third baseman Evan Longoria.
Scott Atchison has taken over for Tim Wakefield.
8:54 p.m.: A Victor Martinez solo shot ties it and two batters later Matt Garza is done. It is his shortest start since the Red Sox chased him after just three innings at Tampa Bay on July 5.
Chad Qualls is the new pitcher for the Rays.
Mid 5th, Rays 5-4: Carlos Pena was hitless in his last 25 at-bats before a single with two outs in the fifth. A fly to right off the bat of Matt Joyce gets Tim Wakefield through the fifth a pitch count of 86.
End 4th, Rays 5-4: You never forget your first major league hit. It would be nearly impossible for Lars Anderson to do so after what happened on the back end of his.
With Bill Hall on first base and just one out Anderson poked a base hit into right field. Hall rounded second but the throw was made behind him and he was tagged out trying to get back to the bag.
Killed a potential rally right there. Marco Scutaro followed with an infield hit that would've loaded the bases with just one down and J.D. Drew's liner to right might've resulted in a run. Instead it was just the third out.
Mid 4th, Rays 5-4: Tim Wakefield couldn't keep the momentum on the side of the Red Sox for very long. A walk to Brad Hawpe and a two-out double by Jason Bartlett puts Tampa Bay back on top.
End 3rd, 4-4: There have been 13 home runs hit in 21 innings in this series, the last two on solo shots by Marco Scutaro and David Ortiz in the third. Some life here at Fenway.
Scutaro is now one home run shy of reaching double figures for the second time in his career. On the other end of the spectrum Ortiz needs one more to reach 30 for the sixth time, which would tie him with Manny Ramirez for second in Red Sox history.
Ted Williams leads with eight such seasons.
Mid 3rd, Rays 4-2: I was just telling a colleague that we are here in home game No. 72 and we get the same music at the same time every single game. They've thrown a curveball with some Van Halen (Sammy Hagar days) between innings, something I'm pretty sure we have not had as of yet.
So, you know, things are happening here.
Tim Wakefield gets three easy grounders in the third.
End 2nd, Rays 4-2: Is there any question, now that we are resigned to the Red Sox' fate, that Adrian Beltre is the team MVP? Some might make a case for Clay Buchholz or Daniel Bard, but Beltre is a wise choice.
Beltre homers for the fourth time in eight games, a two-run blast to left that makes him the 268th player in baseball history to reach the 1,000-RBI mark. He is 29th on the active list.
Josh Reddick also singled in the inning. He is the one call-up I'm excited to see this month. Sure, he's been here before, but he never had much success. It will be interesting to see if he can translate the hot streak he had over the past two months at Triple-A into a nice run in the bigs.
Mid 2nd, Rays 4-0: B.J. Upton's three-run shot with no outs in the top of the second inning hit off the AAA Auto Insurance banner atop the Green Monster. The Red Sox could use a tow, right to the end of the season.
Check below for a post on Wakefield's high home run totals. It's been the biggest problem for him this year and it now has Boston in a big hole early.
End 1st, Rays 1-0: Matt Garza needs all of nine pitches to retire the side in the bottom of the first. He enters 7-3 with a 3.48 ERA against Boston, which does not include his dominance in the 2008 ALCS.
At Fenway, Garza has been even better. He is 5-2 with a 3.10 mark, including eight scoreless here back on April 18.
Mid 1st, Rays 1-0: A single, an error, a passed ball and a deep fly to center adds up to an unearned run off Tim Wakefield in the first. Marco Scutaro had the error on a routine grounder, his 18th of the season.
A lot of empty seats here. Safe to say that a number of people found something else to do after Tuesday's debacle.
7:10 p.m.: We are underway in Tim Wakefield's 591st career game and already it is not going well.
6:12 p.m.: The Red Sox enter this one with a few milestones in sight. Adrian Beltre remains stuck on 999 career RBIs and Tim Wakefield remains in pursuit of his latest accomplishment.
With a win Wednesday, or any day thereafter while in a Red Sox uniform, Wakefield will be the oldest pitcher in club history to record a victory.
Dennis Eckersley owns the record with a win at Baltimore on Sept. 17, 1998, when he was 43 years, 349 days old.
Wakefield is 44.
The knuckleballer has had an interesting season. We know about his multiple roles as a starter and a reliever. But while his 3-10, 5.19 ERA line looks pretty bad, his peripheral numbers have actually improved quite a bit.
Wakefield's rate of 2.2 walks per nine innings is the lowest of his 18-year career. His strikeout rate of 5.2 per nine is a slight improvement from last year, when he was an All-Star. And his WHIP has dropped from 1.44 to 1.31. His strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.35 is the best he has had since 2003 and the third-highest mark of his career.
What has hurt Wake is the longball. He has surrendered 17 in 126 2/3 innings, up from just 12 in 129 2/3 in 2009.
4:52 p.m.: Marco Scutaro came into the clubhouse Wednesday afternoon and told the staff he feels the best he has in awhile. He will continue to be monitored, of course, but it's encouraging that the shortstop's condition is not necessarily going to continue to get worse.
Frankly, there is not a whole lot of pregame news and notes. Terry Francona did speak a bit about the play of September call-ups, which we will delve into in a separate piece later on. Look for more on that.
One interesting pregame scene. The clubhouse had been open to the media for about 15 minutes or so when reporters and players alike watched Nick Swisher win a game for the Yankees with a walk-off homer. The varied reactions spoke volumes.
Ryan Kalish and Josh Reddick were quietly questioning why Baltimore closer Koji Uehara threw the pitch he did to Swisher, analyzing the situation like two young players who are figuring the game out might. David Ortiz, on the other hand, was cackling loudly at the shaving cream pie that Swisher was given by A.J. Burnett. He seemed to really get a kick out of the fact that some of it splashed onto the face of YES's on-field reporter doing the walk-off interview.
Certainly at different stages of their careers.
Here is the Tampa Bay lineup, by the way. Wonder what their reaction to Swisher's blast was.
John Jaso, C
Ben Zobrist, 2B
Carl Crawford, LF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carlos Pena, 1B
Matt Joyce, RF
Brad Hawpe, DH
B.J. Upton, CF
Jason Bartlett, SS
3:20 p.m.: Terry Francona threw us a curveball. Marco Scutaro is indeed back in the lineup and is well enough to play his customary shortstop. Here is the Red Sox batting order:
Marco Scutaro, SS
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Ryan Kalish, CF
Josh Reddick, LF
Bill Hall, 2B
Lars Anderson, 1B
2:42 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we just had a tiny passing shower but otherwise will have a nice night for baseball. The lineups should be out soon, at which point we will see just how high that white flag has been raised.
Terry Francona said Tuesday that Marco Scutaro will not play in this one and if we have Pawtucket call-ups at several other spots you will know that playing out the string has begun in earnest…as if starting Tim Wakefield didn't already give that impression.
8 a.m.: Expect a heavy dose of minor league call-ups when the Red Sox finish a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
After dropping a 14-5 decision Tuesday, Boston manager Terry Francona announced he would not bring back Clay Buchholz on short rest for this one, essentially calling off the dogs.
Francona also said that Marco Scutaro will likely sit with his sore right shoulder, one of a handful of veterans who will play sporadically down the stretch provided the Red Sox do not put forth a historic charge in the final three-plus weeks.
Boston's deficit in the wild card is 7 1/2 games with only 23 games to play.
Tim Wakefield will start instead of Buchholz. Matt Garza goes for Tampa Bay.
First pitch is 7:10 p.m.