Final, Cardinals 9-3: That's a wrap. The Sox were unable to generate any offense in the ninth, and the Cardinals pick up the 9-3 victory.
St. Louis exploded for six runs in the eighth inning to fuel the win. The Red Sox' version of Chris Carpenter was tagged for four earned runs in an inning of work, while Garrett Mock gave up two runs (one earned).
Way back way, though, Josh Beckett looked good. The righty threw three scoreless innings to begin the contest, allowing just two hits.
Be sure to check back with NESN.com for more postgame reaction and analysis.
Bottom 8th, Cardinals 9-3: Pitching change time for the Red Sox.
Chris Carpenter took a few steps back after a strong inning beforehand. This time he walked two batters and allowing a hit. Then, he walked in another run.
Minor-leaguer Garrett Mock, who was recently inked, is in for Carpenter. Mock didn't do much better in relief — although an error backfired on his behalf — but five more runs were scores.
Mid 8th, 3-3: Jose Iglesias answered back with a three-tun triple of his own — down the right field line — to deadlock it.
Got to give credit to Pedro Ciriaco, who placed a picture-perfect bunt for a single early on to move the runners around. He wound up scoring too. Linares also got a single in the inning, which should be a nice boost for his confidence.
Bottom 7th, Cardinals 3-0: Red Sox pitcher Chris Carpenter hit 95 mph on the radar gun. He's a flamethrower and is known for bringing the heat.
He got a strike, induced a fly ball and ground ball in the inning, but it'll take more than that to emerge from Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter's shadow.
Mid 7th, Cardinals 3-0: Che-Hsuan Lin got the only hit of the inning, which was off J.C. Romero. Then Lin got off to a really slow jump for a steal, but somehow managed to get to second unscathed.
On another note, the Red Sox have put in Chris Carpenter for Jesse Carlson. So do you know what that means?
There are two Chris Carpenters here today. The PA announcer was funny enough to introduce him as "the other Chris Carpenter" as he marched onto the field. He'll have to live with that awhile I'm sure.
Bottom 6th, Cardinals 3-0: The tie has been broken. Doubront showed some promise in the start, but also struggled in the outing.
After putting two men on base, Doubront was pulled in favor of Jesse Carlson. With the bases loaded, Carlson wound up surrendering a three-run triple to DH Matt Adams. So far, that's been the difference maker.
Mid 6th: St. Louis reliever Eduardo Sanchez was relatively sharp when needed, striking out out McDonald, Repko and Middlebrooks.
Middlebrooks has really had a tough outing today. Each time he's gone up to bat, he's struck out. He's stranded three batters on base too. Just one of those days for guys.
Bottom 5th: Doubront started off promising, striking out the first two batters that he faced. Then he encountered trouble, allowing a hit and walking the next two batters.
But part of the game is bailing yourself out of tough situations. And Doubront was able to induce a groundball to escape the jam.
Bottom 4th: Felix Doubront came in for Beckett. All along, Bobby Valentine said the lefty was one of the pitchers who was most ahead in camp in terms of progression.
He showed some of that PFP work, fielding a grounder. We also caught up with Beckett, briefly. He felt good about his command like last start.
?About the same," Beckett said of the command. "I think just building up arm strength right now. A lot of the feel and stuff comes whenever you?re arm strength gets strong and you can plus and minus where you want to throw something a little harder or maybe take some off.?
Mid 4th: Before the rain delay, Adrian Gonzalez hit a single and Darnell McDonald doubled to move Gonzalez to third.
After it, they came away with nothing. But hey, at least the rain is gone.
1:54 p.m.: The rain is coming down, so the game is delayed at the moment. Fans are rushing for cover.
Bottom 3rd: Skip Schumaker, Tyler Greene and Jon Jay each grounded out against Josh Beckett. Before Jay's at-bat, Furcal belted a single off the pitcher.
But Josh Beckett looked good in his three-inning stint. He allowed just two hits and didn't issue any walks. He threw 30 pitches, 24 for strikes.
It was a quick inning, just as quick as it took to write this entry!
Mid 3rd: Rafael Furcal one-ups Iglesias by diving to snag Dustin Pedroia's grounder and throwing him out at first.
It's funny because a few days ago Valentine had Furcal up as one of the premier defensive shortstops that Iglesias could be inching his way too. Well, Valentine was right on that play at least.
Other than that, Hassan walked and Jason Repko moved him to third. But Iglesias hit into a fielder's choise with Hassan getting thrown out at second.
Bottom 2nd: This was the Jose Iglesias inning. The shortstop was all over the place making strong defensive plays.
He made a sliding stop at shortstop and threw a laser to first to get David Freese out. That was some range.
Then, he rushed all the way in front of Dustin Pedroia at second base to scoop Matt Adams' grounder and toss him out. Highlight-reel stuff.
Mid 2nd: Did I mention that Jaime Garcia was doing his thing? Oh, good because the Cardinals' pitcher still recording the strikeouts.
He fanned Darnell McDonald and Will Middlebrooks with some of his good off-speed stuff. So if you add that up, he struck out four of the six batters that he's faced so far.
Bottom 1st: Matt Holliday mustered a double off Josh Beckett, but that was the only hit the hurler surrendered in the first.
Lance Berkman AKA the Big Puma grounded out into a 1-3. Remember Berkman was one of the big surprises last season. After a subpar season with the Yankees and Astros in 2010, Berkman boosted the Cardinals with a 30-hr season in 2011. He should be one of the keys to the success of this team this season.
Mid 1st: Jaime Garcia is doing his thing to start the game. He had Jacoby Ellsbury whiff on three pitches to rack up his first strikeout.
Then, when Dustin Pedroia came up, Garcia fanned him to strike him out looking. Garcia pitched with poise in the Cardinals rotation in 2011, going 13-7.
12:30 p.m.: Mike Matheny is a rookie manager. The former catcher is taking over for Tony La Russa, who guided the Cardinals to a World Series championship last season.
Once upon a time in 1985, Bobby Valentine was thrown into the fire just 32 games into the season. Now a seasoned veteran ?? and the new Red Sox manager ?? Valentine offered advice to La Russa?s predecessor before they squared off.
?He?s got to use the people around him obviously,? Valentine said. ?He?s got to probably think slower than he wants to. If he goes with either substituting his answer for what he thinks might be the right answer or just going with his intuition he might get himself in trouble early on.?
At 41, Matheny is the youngest manager in Major League Baseball.
12:15 p.m.: Lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Darnell McDonald, LF
Jarrod Saltalamaccia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Alex Hassan, DH
Jason Repko, RF
Jose Iglesias, SS
Josh Beckett, P
Rafael Furcal, SS
Jon Jay, CF
Matt Holliday, LF
Lance Berkman, 1B
David Freese, 3B
Matt Adams, DH
Yadier Molina, C
Skip Schumaker, RF
Tyler Greene, 2B
Jaime Garcia, P
12 p.m.: An interesting scene before the game. As reporters spoke with Bobby Valentine, former Mets general manager Steve Phillips waited on the side, awaiting some time with Valentine, the former Mets manager.
Phillips works for XM Radio now, so he was looking to do a one-on-one interview with Valentine. As many may remember, they clashed during their times in New York, but have showered each other with love since Valentine took his job in Boston.
But it was certainly an interesting sight this morning based on all their history.
9 a.m.: The Sox head across the state to take on the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals on Wednesday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET at Roger Dean Stadium.
Josh Beckett is expected to take the bump this afternoon for the visitors while southpaw Jaime Garcia will start for the host Cardinals. Garcia won 13 games in both 2011 and 2010 — his second and third years in the MLB — so he should be a good test for the Sox bats.
Beckett pitched two scoreless innings on Sunday, walking two and allowing just one hit. Following that outing, he spoke to the media about developing rapport with Jarrod Saltalamacchia the catching staff, now that Jason Varitek is retired.
"It takes a little bit of time," Beckett said. "The bullpen, before the game, and it changed all the time, one day I had a great feel for my changeup, and Jason had a great feel for feeling out what I was throwing best, and we tended to go to that more often. One game maybe my cutter was better in the bullpen. He just recognized that."