End 9th, Cardinals win 9-6: Chorye Spoone pitched a scoreless ninth inning for the Sox, giving the middle of the Boston lineup a chance to make up the three run deficit.
After a pair of singles by Lars Anderson and Pedro Ciriaco to start the bottom of the inning, Boston looked primed for another late game push. But three consecutive fly outs by Linares, Hassan and Exposito ended all hopes of Red Sox comeback and closed out the 9-6 win for the Cardinals.
Mid 8th, Cardinals 9-6: Daniel Bard struggled tremendously in his outing today, surrendering six hits — and seven earned runs — and issued four walks. He allowed the Cardinals to get back into contention.
You really have to wonder if and how this factors into the Aceves/Bard discussion in terms of competing for a spot in the starting rotation.
Chorye Spoone didn't fare much better with the base runners that he inherited, allowing more to score. It was this same, eighth inning that the Cardinals cruised past the Red Sox last week in Jupiter.
Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-4: Mike Aviles really got worked in this inning. All three batters — Beltran, Matt Adams and Daniel Descalso — grounded out straight to him. Well, that's more of an opportunity for him to prove his defensive worth at shortstop.
Bottom 6th, Red Sox 6-4: Samuel Freeman absolutely struggled in relief in this inning. He walked Spears, Lin and Anderson in three after getting the first two batters out.
Then came Pedro Ciriaco. He belted a double to score two runs and continued his scorching performance. Bobby Valentine jokes and called him his "secret weapon". It'll be tough for him to make the squad, but he's certainly making his case.
Mid 6th, Cardinals 4-3: The first pitch Daniel Bard tossed was unloaded for a home run by Matt Adams.
The Cards jumped on with Koyie Hill and Rafael Furcal notching RBI singles.
4:24 p.m.: Rain delay. The fans are running toward the exits or just heading for some cover. The Cardinals are just chilling in the dugout.
Bottom 5th, Red Sox 4-1: It's crazy to think this Green Monster is more than double Fenway's height since everyone and their mother is clearing it with home runs. This time Dustin Pedroia uncorked a solo shot over it.
If they can clear JetBlue Park's Green Monster, the one in Fenway should be easy then.
Also, Bobby Valentine substituted Pedro Ciriaco for Adrian Gonzalez. Will we see any late game heroics from Ciriaco once again? Hmm.
Mid 5th, Red Sox 3-1: Justin Thomas is in for Aceves. He could be another sleeper to keep an eye on to make the Red Sox bullpen.
Bottom 4th, Red Sox 3-1: Darnell McDonald's scorching spring continues. After doubling in his first at-bat, he unloaded a two-run shot over the Green Monster to give the Sox the lead.
David Ortiz started the slugfest with a double. Lavarnway followed up with an RBI double, which gave way for McDonald's moon shot. The Red Sox could use all his blasts as they await Carl Crawford's return and McDonald is making a strong case to earn a roster spot.
Mid 4th, Cardinals 1-0: Aceves was really crisp in his outing today, throwing four innings and allowing three hits, one earned run while striking out four batters. No walks, either.
Bottom 3rd, Cardinals 1-0: Darnell McDonald led off the inning with a double off the Green Monster…but the Sox couldn't capitalize.
Jacoby Ellsbury hit a single that looked like it could score McDonald, but the oufielder retreated back to third after briefly attempting to cross home plate.
Here's a little nugget. Kyle Lohse pitched to Jacoby Ellsbury, both of them are in the very, very small minority of MLB players with Native American heritage. So yeah, for whatever that's worth.
Mid 3rd, Cardinals 1-0: Alfredo Aceves is razor sharp again, striking out Rafael Furcal and Jon Jay.
That said, it looks like it'll be hard for him to sneak into the rotation discussion. He's just so valuable in the bullpen and talented as a pitcher, that it may work against his favor because he's already established himself in the pen.
Bottom 2nd, Cardinals 1-0: Lohse takes care of business once again, retiring David Ortiz, Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway in successive at-bats. Lohse has been working quickly and effectively.
Mid 2nd, Cardinals 1-0: When Erik Komatsu hit a double, Matt Carpenter rushed to second base and he took out shortstop Nick Punto and essentially flipped him over at second base. Crazy collision and it looked like Punto could've really gotten injured.
Despite the collision, Punto was called for interference, which was an interesting call. Carpenter actually managed to score because he picked himself up after the sequence and still hustled home past Ryan Lavarnway.
That was the first run of the spring that Aceves has allowed.
Bottom 1st: Kevin Youkilis led off — on his 33rd birthday. But don't expect that to become a trend moving forward.
Bobby Valentine said it's not likely he would slot Youkilis up top and claimed the move was simply to give the Red Sox third baseman some quick and early at-bats.
Youkilis ultimately grounded out in his first at-bat. After Ellsbury singled, Cardinals pitcher Kyle Lohse got Pedroia and Gonzalez to fly out.
Mid 1st: Cardinals' center fielder Jon Jay belted a double off the Green Monster, but that's as close as the defending World Series champs would get to touching up Alfredo Aceves.
Aceves got Furcal to ground out to first base. He got Carlos Beltran to line out to first and Matt Adams to pop up to third. Quick work.
2:36 p.m.: Here's something funny I just noticed. Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington walked through the stands to get his seat at the game.
He went completely unnoticed the whole time. No one recognized him. Kind of funny, but I guess that's what happens as a result of being a rookie general manager. Looks like he still needs more face time before people approach him.
2:33 p.m.: St. Louis manager Mike Matheny and Boston skipper Bobby Valentine had a nice embrace before the game. Remember last week, Valentine offered the rookie manger some nuggets of wisdom.
1 p.m.: Here are the lineups.
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, RF
Ryan Lavarnway, C
Darnell McDonald, LF
Nick Punto, SS
P Alfredo Aceves
Rafael Furcal, SS
Jon Jay, CF
Carlos Beltran, DH
Matt Adams, 1B
Daniel Descalso, 2B
Matt Carpenter, LF
Erik Komatsu, RF
Koyie Hill, C
Alex Cora, 3B
P Kyle Lohse
8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox will play the Cardinals for the second time in spring training, and the game starts at 2:35 p.m. at JetBlue Park.
A week ago, St. Louis jumped on Boston's relievers in the eighth inning in Jupiter, scoring six runs en route to winning 9-3.
Alfredo Aceves is listed to take the mound for the Red Sox this time around, and he will look to maintain his consistency as he vies for a spot on the starting staff. Daniel Bard will likely follow him in relief.
Stay with NESN.com's live blog, as we'll keep you up to speed on everything happening.
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