Red Sox Live Blog: Jonathan Papelbon Closes Out First Road Win of 2011 for Red Sox

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Red Sox Live Blog: Jonathan Papelbon Closes Out First Road Win of 2011 for Red Sox

Final, Red Sox 5-3: That has to be a maddening loss for Oakland, which had a ton of wasted opportunities, but it's a very gratifying victory for Boston and the club's first win away from Fenway Park this year.

Jonathan Papelbon gave up one run in a four-out save to nail down the first win of the year for Clay Buchholz.

The Sox have won four out of five as they head down the coast to Anaheim. Josh Beckett will get the start in the opener of a four-game series.

We will see you then. The live blog will be up and running hours before the 10:05 p.m. start.

6:43 p.m.: Avert your eyes, just in case. Jonathan Papelbon has given up one run and the A's have runners on the corners with one out in the bottom of the ninth.

Mid 9th, Red Sox 5-2: Three outs from a series split. Jonathan Papelbon has been filthy so far this season. Let's see how he does with an up-and-down thrown in.

End 8th, Red Sox 5-2: One of the issues with going to Daniel Bard so early is that you run out of options a bit quicker.

Jonathan Papelbon comes on with the bases full and two outs. He gets David DeJesus swinging at a great splitter to strand all three.

Oakland has left 13 runners on.

6:21 p.m.: The A's scored on the first pitch thrown by a Red Sox pitcher when Coco Crisp homered in the first. They didn't score again until the 138th pitch thrown by a Red Sox pitcher.

Crisp's RBI single with the bases loaded in the eighth as Oakland within 5-2. Bobby Jenks, who gave it up, then struck out Daric Barton for the second out of the eighth.

That gets us to Jonathan Papelbon, who is jogging on with the go-ahead run at the plate in the form of David DeJesus.

 

Mid 8th, Red Sox 5-1: If not for David DeJesus, Jed Lowrie might be back at that magical .500 mark. DeJesus robbed Lowrie of an extra-base hit in the second and just slid into foul territory to make another out off the bat of Lowrie.

Bobby Jenks time.

End 7th, Red Sox 5-1: Daniel Bard has now thrown 5 2/3 consecutive scoreless innings after a rocky start to the season.

Bobby Jenks hasn't pitched since Sunday and Jonathan Papelbon since Saturday, so the Sox have them rested and ready.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-1: A little more breathing room for the Red Sox after J.D. Drew clubs his first home run of the year. Against a lefty, no less.

Drew is 5-for-16 with a homer and a triple off southpaws this year.

End 6th, Red Sox 4-1: That's why Daniel Bard is not just an eighth-inning pitcher. He is the guy Terry Francona calls upon when the game needs to be won, regardless of when it is. If it hangs in the balance, it's time for Bard to come in.

Bard throws three straight fastballs by an overmatched Cliff Pennington and then gets Coco Crisp on a pop to short (after Crisp nearly cleared the bases with a shot down the line that went foul by a few inches). What a weapon Bard is, the "ultimate" one in the words of Francona.

5:32 p.m.: Whether it was the rain or the umps (they squeezed him) or just a matter of hitting the wall, Clay Buchholz lost the strike zone in the sixth and is taken out after his second straight walk.

The bases are loaded with just one out and No. 9 hitter Cliff Pennington up. Daniel Bard is the new pitcher.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 4-1: Rain, flowers, Easter and two-run homers by Jed Lowrie. Some of the great things about spring.

Lowrie has gone deep with a man on for the third time in five games, following up a single by Adrian Gonzalez with a shot through the wet stuff.

The surging infielder has two more hits today and is flirting with .500 once again (18-for-38, .474).

End 5th, Red Sox 2-1: It took Clay Buchholz nine pitches and just a couple of minutes to get the first two outs of the fifth. It took him 15 pitches and a good length of time to get the last, a Hideki Matsui fly to center with two men on.

Buchholz's pitch count is at 82.

Although Clay is the only starter without a win, he was the first to go six-plus. Should have a chance to do the same here today.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 2-1: Gio Gonzalez is now three strikeouts shy of matching his career high after fanning both Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the fifth.

End 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Clay Buchholz works around a one-out double by Mark Ellis, who seemingly never has a bad at-bat against the Red Sox.

Buchholz hasn't had his greatest stuff, but he has been very diverse in his offerings and is pumping in a pretty good percentage of strikes now.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 2-1: Oakland had three chances to turn a double play in the fourth, but only converted one. Still, it prevented the Red Sox from getting anything beyond the solo shot by Kevin Youkilis to begin the inning.

Youkilis has three home runs, two doubles and six RBIs in his last five-plus games. Has been the one constant in the middle of the lineup lately.

The last time the Red Sox had a lead on the road was in fourth inning of the series-opener in Cleveland back on April 5. There were 35 innings in between in which they trailed.

4:37 p.m.: Kevin Youkilis crushed a solo homer and the Red Sox are threatening for more in the fourth. They have runners at the corners (Carl Crawford is at first) with one out.

End 3rd, 1-1: Clay Buchholz has his first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon. He ends it with his first strikeout, getting Hideki Matsui to swing and miss at a breaking ball down and in.

Mid 3rd, 1-1: Forgot to mention that the run Boston scored in the second snaps that 21-inning scoreless streak on the road. The last time they got a run in away from Fenway was when Adrian Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the fifth game of the year in Cleveland.

It's been a bit of a struggle since then for Gonzalez. He is 10-for-43 (.233) since that blast and has seven strikeouts in his last six games, including one to end the third.

Gio Gonzalez has fanned six.

End 2nd, 1-1: Plenty of work for Clay Buchholz in the second. The A's get two more hits, avoid an inning-ending double play when Marco Scutaro has a slight bobble and then see Coco Crisp drive another ball to right on a changeup that didn't do much.

This time, Crisp's shot dies in J.D. Drew's glove for the final out.

Mid 2nd, 1-1: Although they only got one run, the Red Sox were on Gio Gonzalez in a big way in the second.

Gonzalez should be thanking David DeJesus for a great catch against the wall in right on a drive by Jed Lowrie, otherwise the other three hits in the inning might've meant that much more.

He should also thank catcher Landon Powell, who threw out Carl Crawford by several feet to finish the frame.

Crawford had the big hit in the inning, however. His RBI single scored Kevin Youkilis and gave Crawford three hits and two RBIs in his last six at-bats. Baby steps.

Marco Scutaro had the other hit on the first pitch he had seen in five days. He is not the issue, ladies and gentleman. In fact, Scutaro is 7-for-22 with a bunch of RBIs over a sporadic stretch of playing time.

End 1st, Athletics 1-0: Clay Buchholz struggles in day games. He struggles against the A's. He has struggled overall in 2011.

More of the same to start this one off. Buchholz's first pitch is a 91 mph, belt-high fastball that Coco Crisp hits onto the top of the right-field wall and over for a solo homer.

Buchholz also walked Hideki Matsui with two outs and hung a breaking ball on a 2-1 count to Ryan Sweeney, who popped it to center for the final out.

Buchholz's velocity has been down through his first three starts. His max speed in the first was 92.2 mph, about where it has averaged this season. That's down from 94.1 last season. Not a cause for concern as he still may be building up some strength. Something to keep an eye on, however.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Shows what I know. After stressing that getting Gio Gonzalez into fastball counts is critical since he struggles to throw it for strikes, he pumps in several well-marked heaters in the top of the first.

J.D. Drew struck out on a 94 mph pitch on the outside corner. Two fastballs put Dustin Pedroia in an 0-2 hole before he flew to right.

Adrian Gonzalez then gets set up nicely by some fastballs before Gio dropped in his trademark curve for strike three. Impressive stuff.

Gio Gonzalez's scoreless streak is at 18 innings. Boston's on the road is at 21. Again, that's 21 straight innings away from home with a run.

3:23 p.m.: OK, so we know Gio Gonzalez is off to a good start, but he will give the Red Sox a chance to work some counts a bit more than last night's starter, Brett Anderson.

Gonzalez ranked second in the American League in walks last year and has already issued 12 in just 19 innings in 2011. He has thrown first-pitch strikes on just 44.3 percent of hitters.

Last night, the Sox attacked early in the count to prevent Anderson from being able to get ahead and use his off-speed stuff. It didn't work. Gonzalez threw his fastball for a strike only 39 percent of the time his last time out. If he is missing, the Sox can find themselves in more favorable counts, at which point he will be forced to throw the wayward heater more often.

Gonzalez's curve is deadly, but he needs to be in the right count to use it.

3:00 p.m.: It was 99 years ago today when fans first filed into Fenway Park for a matchup with New York. The Sox won 7-6 that day over the Highlanders, and here we are almost a century later preparing to celebrate that opener.

The organization today announced plans to prepare for the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park. Take a look, and do your part to contribute to the planning process.

2:43 p.m.: The old "19-18!" chant that Yankees fans liked to bring up before the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series was a pretty good one in the sense that there wasn't much of a comeback. New Yawkahs could shout it 'till the cows came home (in the Bronx there are lots of cows) and hear little in return.

Fortunately, for Sox fans, that was retired for good. Now, a document released by the Chicago History Museum suggests that we were not far from having that chant be "19-16!"

Seems there is a chance, although impossible to verify, that the Chicago Cubs, or a few of their players, conspired to throw the '18 World Series against the Red Sox.

Have a read. Amazing to think about something like that going on this day and age.

1:50 p.m. Below is the Oakland lineup against Clay Buchholz. Among those to watch out for is Hideki Matsui (6-for-14 off Buchholz) and Daric Barton (2-for-3 with two walks).

Coco Crisp, CF
Daric Barton, 1B
David DeJesus, RF
Hideki Matsui, DH
Ryan Sweeney, LF
Mark Ellis, 2B
Landon Powell, C
Kevin Kouzmanoff, 3B
Cliff Pennington, SS

1:08 p.m.: A few quick numbers to chew on as we get a bit closer to the pregame on NESN.

Oakland starter Gio Gonzalez is the sixth left-handed starter in a span of seven games against the Red Sox.

Boston is 3-5 overall against southpaw starters and actually has slightly better numbers in those situations, batting .241 with a .720 OPS, compared to .231//692 vs. right-handers.

The four-game series against the Angels will feature four straight righties, so you may see the lineup shuffling settle down a bit.

The Sox are 4-4 in day games, compared to 1-7 at night. That is in contrast to last season, when they were 20-23 in day games and 19 games above .500 at night. For whatever it's worth to you.

Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, has had a rather striking difference between day and night. Over the last three years, he is 3-7 with a 4.73 ERA in afternoon starts. During the evening, the righty has gone 21-6 with a 2.58 mark. That's rather notable.

Buchholz has a 5.45 ERA when throwing to Jason Varitek, although the two have been matched up just five times in the past three seasons. Remember, Buchholz primarily threw to Victor Martinez.

12:15 p.m.: The lineups are in and we have another very interesting look.

With another tough lefty on the mound in Gio Gonzalez, the Red Sox are batting J.D. Drew first.

Both Jed Lowrie and Marco Scutaro are in the lineup. David Ortiz takes a seat.

Have a peak:

J.D. Drew, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, DH
Jed Lowrie, 3B
Marco Scutaro, SS
Carl Crawford, LF
Jason Varitek, C
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF

8 a.m.: Clay Buchholz will try for a fourth time to pick up his first win of the season when he takes on the Oakland A's on Wednesday afternoon.

The young righty is 0-2 with a 6.60 ERA and has issued 10 walks against just eight strikeouts in his 15 innings of work. He has also struggled against Oakland, going 0-2 with a 10.13 ERA in three career starts vs. the A's.

Perhaps Buchholz can take some inspiration from John Lackey, who rebounded from some early struggles of his own to post a pretty solid start in the opener of the two-game series Tuesday night. Unfortunately, for Boston, Lackey's effort was in vain as Oakland lefty Brett Anderson threw eight scoreless innings in a 5-0 win for the A's.

The loss dropped the Red Sox to 0-7 on the road this year. They are 10-20 in Oakland over the last seven seasons.

First pitch is 3:37 p.m.

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