Red Sox-Tigers Live Blog: Sox Go Down in Order in Ninth, Lose 8-3 to Tigers

Red Sox-Tigers Live Blog: Sox Go Down in Order in Ninth, Lose 8-3 to Tigers

Final, Tigers 8-3: That's all she wrote.

Ryan Kalish struck out swinging, Mitch Dening grounded out to first and Ryan Khoury grounded out to third for the game's final out.

The Sox mustered just four hits against Tigers pitching, with Sox starter Clay Buchholz surrendering five hits himself.

In terms of positives for Boston, Dennys Reyes turned in yet another scoreless inning, while Michael Bowden gave up just two hits and a run in his two innings of work.

You won't have to wait too long for the next action, as the Sox take on Tampa Bay in split-squad action Friday night.

Middle 9th, Tigers 8-3: The Sox are down to their final three outs, now trailing by a five-spot.

Andy Dirks cranked a two-run homer off Brandon Duckworth, making the score 8-3 Tigers.

End 8th, Tigers 6-3: The Red Sox appeared to be threatening, but a 6-4-3 double play ended that rather quickly.

After Fu-Te Ni walked Michael Almanzar and David Ortiz, Paul Hoover grounded to the shortstop, who flipped to second to start the double play. Reddick followed that up with a groundout to second.

Mid 8th, Tigers 6-3: Michael Bowden works around a leadoff double by Jhonny Peralta and we head the bottom of the eighth with the Red Sox in danger of having their six-game home winning streak snapped.

End 7th, Tigers 6-3: Michael Bowden is back out to pitch his second inning. Very quietly, he has allowed two earned run in eight innings, not earth-shattering but solid nonetheless.

Bowden's future is a tad up in the air. He could be a bullpen candidate once again down the road and he has worked out of the bullpen all spring, but he may also get stretched out and get some starts at Pawtucket.

Mid 7th, Tigers 6-3: Ryan Kalish almost did this with one out in the seventh (in the opposite gap, but an almost identical route and leap). But the ball was barely out of reach and it went for a triple for Clete Thomas.

A passed ball by Paul Hoover allowed Thomas to score with two outs.

Five of the Tigers' six runs in this one are unearned.

Bobby Jenks got his two innings in at the minor league complex today. He allowed two hits and struck out two, throwing 20-of-26 pitches for strikes.

 

End 6th, Tigers 5-3: We mentioned earlier that Ryan Kalish is playing today with a bit of a heavy heart after the passing of his grandfather. Pretty good effort to honor the man.

Kalish is 2-for-2 with a walk and just recorded his team-leading fifth stolen base of the spring. Lot to like about this kid, as you all know.

Michael Bowden is your new Red Sox pitcher.

Mid 6th, Tigers 5-3: Dennys Reyes got the first two outs in the span of about 30 seconds, then loses the plate for a moment.

Reyes walked the No. 9 hitter, Scott Thorman, and uncorked a 55-foot dead fish that allowed Thorman to scamper to second.

Reyes recovered to get Austin Jackson and has now lowered his ERA to 1.50.

End 5th, Tigers 5-3: Interesting inning for the wonderfully named Alberto Alburquerque. He walked three to load the bases, gave up the two-run single to Kevin Youkils, but got through it with strikeouts of Darnell McDonald, Adrian Gonzalez and David Ortiz.

Dennys Reyes is on to pitch a big inning for him. They all are at this point for these relievers fighting for a job.

3:01 p.m.: Clay Buchholz said that he was "struggling with command of just about every pitch" but was pleased with being able to work through some adversity, something that he has avoided this spring.

We return to the press box to see the Red Sox loaded the bases on three walks and get two runs on a single by Kevin Youkilis.

2:48 p.m.: Off to hear from Clay Buchholz. Back soon

Hideki Okajima most certainly had an inside track for one of the spots in the bullpen but the three-run bomb he served up in the fifth cannot help.

In a related news item, Felix Doubront resumed throwing today.

Mid 5th, Tigers 5-1: Single, error, sacrifice bunt, error, flyout, home run and finally a strikeout.

It all adds up to four runs for the Tigers, all of them unearned.

Clay Buchholz was charged with three runs — one earned — in four-plus innings. He walked two and struck out one, throwing 41 of his 76 pitches for strikes.

2:30 p.m.: Clay Buchholz faces two batters in the fifth. The first singles weakly to right and the second reaches on a Kevin Youkilis error. That is it for Clay.

Hideki Okajima is on with two on and no outs.

They just announced that Michigan is beating Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament. Loud cheer goes up from all these Gators fans/Volunteers hater.

End 4th, 1-1: The Red Sox are 0-for-6 with a strikeout in even innings. They are 2-for-8 with two walks in odd innings.

How's that for some in-depth stat work. It's not much, but it's one way to let you know they went very quietly in the fourth. They should positively explode in the fifth.

Mid 4th, 1-1: Clay Buchholz has his first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon.

Buchholz has not been particularly sharp. He has walked two, given up four hits, had a few more three-ball counts and some of his outs have been loud ones. Still, he has given up just one measly run on a solo shot through 13 Grapefruit League innings.

Essentially, Buchholz has navigated his way through any jams in which he has found himself this spring. Remember when the game would speed up for him when runners were on base? When he used to pay way too much attention to the runner? When a walk and a single could turn into three runs in a heartbeat? Those days are gone. Even when his stuff isn't at its best, Buchholz knows how to pitch.

End 3rd, 1-1: A double by Ryan Kalish and walks to Marco Scutaro and Adrian Gonzalez loaded the bases with two outs.

Kevin Youkilis then hit a hard grounder to third that Don Kelly fielded and beat Scutaro to the bag for the force play.

Mid 3rd, 1-1: Six of the first 11 men reached against Clay Buchholz (a home run, three singles and two walks).

It put him into a little mess in the third as the Tigers got two on with no outs.

Buchholz battled back to get a fly to right and then a strikeout of Brennan Boesch, who had homered in the second. He then got Ryan Raburn on a check-swing pop to first.

End 2nd, 1-1: David Ortiz, Jason Varitek and Mike Cameron go in order in the second. The situation in right field appears to be in order, so we press on.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: Yep, the jinx is in fine form. Perhaps knowing I had just fired off a note containing Clay Buchholz's scoreless run this spring, the Tigers end it on a Brennan Boesch's solo homer.

Moments later, a fire broke out just past the foul pole in right, perhaps at a grill that was serving food out there.

The smell filled the area. Doubt it distracted Buchholz much, but he did give up a single and a walk before getting Scott Thorman to line out to shortstop on a 3-1 pitch.

This place stinks right now. Fire still raging.

End 1st, Red Sox 1-0: Excluding the game in which he broke his left foot and the two games in August in which he attempted a comeback, the last real dose of Dustin Pedroia that we received was his three-homer game in Colorado last June. It was the night before his injury.

Pedroia just slugged his first homer since that memorable night in Coors Field, hammering a 2-0 meatball from Max Scherzer over the wall in right.

Let's see if my jink is in regular season form yet — Clay Buchholz has yet to allow a run in 10 innings this spring.

Mid 1st, 0-0: We have been given small doses of Adrian Gonzalez's bat, and we got to see him do something nice on defense in the first.

With a runner on second (Austin Jackson, who walked and then moved up on a fielder's choice) and one out, Clete Thomas hit a dribbler to the mound.

Clay Buchholz fielded and gave a very quick glance at Jackson before tossing to Gonzalez at first.

Jackson broke for third the moment the ball left Buchholz's hand, but Gonzalez gunned him out to end the inning.

12:32 p.m.: One of the everday sights here at City of Palms Park, at least from my vantage point, is a man who strolls in for most games wearing one of those "I'm With Idiot" T-shirts, with the arrow that points to the person at his side.

The great thing about it is he usually sits next to what appears to be his wife, she being right in line with the arrow.

She seems just fine with the insult, or maybe she's so dumb she hasn't noticed. (Sorry, it was sitting right there for me).

Anyway, we're 30 minutes from first pitch on a cloudless day with temps heading into the 80s. As usual, the wind is whipping. Clay Buchholz is currently throwing from a distance of about 100 feet on the warning track in left field.

11:36 a.m.: A couple of other notes as we get ready for the first of two Red Sox games today. The great Jill Seward will carry you through this evening's game at Tampa Bay.

It's been assumed that Boston will start Jarrod Saltalamacchia when a right-hander is on the mound and Jason Varitek against lefties in order to maximize the sides at which both hit better.

Terry Francona reminded us all this morning that it's very difficult to slot catchers that way.

"We may take advantage of the way Tek swings the bat right-handed and the way Salty swings the bat left-handed…A lot will depend upon day game after a night game, trying to keep catchers as fresh as possible so that they can stay strong," Francona said.

Essentially, you cannot pick and choose all that much if Varitek catches a 10-inning game Saturday night and there is a lefty on the mound the following afternoon. Saltalamacchia will start that game 99 times out of 100.

Much of it may also depend upon how certain pitchers match up with certain catchers. Certainly, we know that Josh Beckett has always liked throwing to Varitek and the same can be said for Daisuke Matsuzaka. But everyone will have to get used to Saltalamacchia anyway.

It will just have to be taken on a week-to-week basis and you shouldn't make too much of the whole matchup thing if it holds true for a few days to start the season.

Francona also discussed the fact that the handful of split-squad days (four in a span of 14 days) and no days off has prevented him from putting out a full lineup representative of what it might look like Opening Day. That is of no concern, Francona said.

"We have an obligation with travel to send a representative squad," he said, implying that he has to break up the regulars on days such as this. "It's impossible some times. We've played so many night games. I think it's easy to lose track that it's spring training. These guys are trying to get ready for a long season. We're still getting ready for a season."

Expect to see that full lineup by the end of next week, perhaps the back-to-back night games at home next Friday and Saturday. At that point we can generate some more lineup debate.

10:43 a.m.: As the Red Sox take batting practice, here are a few notes to pass along.

Ryan Kalish will be leaving the team Saturday after the passing of his grandfather. He will return Monday.

Thoughts are with the Kalish family.

Luis Exposito is already away from the team and welcomed a baby girl to the world Thursday. Everyone is healthy.

Best wishes to the Exposito family.

Jonathan Papelbon, who struggled with his mechanics in a rough appearance Thursday at City of Palms Park, will throw a two-inning session in a minor league game Sunday. Daniel Bard will also throw in that game, although it may just be one inning.

Bobby Jenks is tossing his two-inning session today. Hideki Okajima will be at the complex to throw an inning on Saturday.

"Just trying to clear up some space here," Terry Francona said, pointing to the field at City of Palms Park.

What Francona means by that is they need innings in the big league games to evaluate the many candidates for bullpen jobs in camp. Francona talked at length this morning about the "tough decisions" the club has to make.

The candidates have performed so well that it has made the selection process that much more difficult. While it will hurt those that don't make it, it's a good thing for the organization.

"Any time we have a chance to aggravate somebody because [of a roster cut], that means that somethings going right," Francona said.

Here is a little more on that intensifying competition.

For now, here is the Detroit lineup, sans Victor Martinez:

Austin Jackson, CF
Will Rhymes, 2B
Clete Thomas, RF
Brennan Boesch, LF
Ryan Raburn, DH
Jhonny Peralta, SS
Don Kelly, 3B
Alex Avila, C
Scott Thorman, 1B

9:25 a.m.: Here is the lineup for the Red Sox:

Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jason Varitek, C
Mike Cameron, RF
Ryan Kalish, CF
Darnell McDonald, LF

9:11 a.m.: Clay Buchholz looks to keep his solid spring going when he opposes the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon at City of Palms Park.

Buchholz, who will pitch the third game of the regular season at Texas, has yet to allow a run in nine innings during Grapefruit League play. Among those scheduled to follow him on the mound are Dennys Reyes, Hideki Okajima and Michael Bowden.

Max Scherzer will pitch for the Tigers in the 1:05 p.m. contest.

The game is one of two on the day for the Red Sox. They will send a separate squad north to Port Charlotte for a 7:05 p.m. meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays. It is the last of four split-squad days on the spring training schedule for Boston, which has won six straight home games.

Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Jason Varitek, C
Mike Cameron, RF
Ryan Kalish, CF
Darnell McDonald, LF

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