Red Sox Live Blog: Seth Smith’s Two RBIs Help Athletics Edge Red Sox 4-2

Red Sox Live Blog: Seth Smith's Two RBIs Help Athletics Edge Red Sox 4-2Final, Athletics 4-2: It’s a similar outcome to Tuesday’s loss. It all came down to one inning.

In the sixth, Daniel Bard’s pitches just weren’t hitting the spots as he allowed three runs. Like Felix Doubront, it’s a learning curve for the young starter.

The bright side was Will Middlebrooks and Clayton Mortensen, both of whom were making their Red Sox debuts. For the details on that, read up on our post-game stories.

Will Middlebrooks Savors a Night of Firsts

Clayton Mortenson Turns Planned Golf Outing into Strong Red Sox Debut

Mid 9th, Athletics 4-1: That’s three innings and six — yes, that’s right six — strikeouts for Clayton Mortensen.

He’s only allowed one hit. The crazy part is he’s actually being converted into a starter down in Pawtucket, according to Bobby Valentine.

This outing should certainly help him with his confidence.

End 8th, Athletics 4-1: Man, David Ortiz is really abusing Josh Reddick in right field.

Ortiz uncorked a double that had Reddick crashing into the wall in right field. As you may remember, Reddick fell into the Red Sox bullpen on Monday after attempting to snag Ortiz’ homer.

Mid 8th, Athletics 4-1: Clayton Mortensen is razor sharp for the second straight inning.

He’s tossed 31 pitches, 22 of those strikes. That’s some pretty good accuracy. 

Back in the spring, Mortensen told me that he didn’t want to be known as financial flexibility in the Marco Scutaro trade.

End 7th, Athletics 4-1: The Red Sox managed to manufacture a run and Will Middlebrooks triggered the run.

His double moved Jarrod Saltalamacchia to third base. At that point, Marlon Byrd managed to hit a sac fly to tack on the game’s first run.

As it stands now, Middlebrooks’ OBP is a perfect 1.000.

Mid 7th, Athletics 4-0: Another Red Sox debut, this time for Clayton Mortensen. I’ll have a little more on him in the post-game.

But in one inning, he managed to get more strikeouts (two) than Daniel Bard (one). Mortensen told us that he received the call about his promotion at 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday night.

End 6th, Athletics 4-0: David Ortiz put a pretty swing on McCarthy’s pitch, sending it off the wall for a double.

At first, Ortiz misread the hop of the Green Monster and stopped at first base. But he quickly pressed the gas and legged it out to second base before getting tagged. Close call, indeed.

Mid 6th, Athletics 4-0: After cruising through five innings, Bard endured a hiccup in the sixth, struggling to locate his fastball.

It flattened out on him and he couldn’t induce those grounders that were helping him earlier in the night.

As a result, Matt Albers was forced to come in and mop up the mess. When Valentine came to yank Bard, he was greeted by a few more boos.

End 5th, Athletics 1-0: In that one, Josh Reddick misplayed Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s fly ball.

But the big note was Will Middlebrooks earned his first career MLB hit. Alex Ochoa grabbed the ball and tossed it to the Red Sox dugout to keep it for Middlebrooks.

It should be a nice souvenir and Middlebrooks is likely to have many more of those hits.

Mid 5th, Athletics 1-0: With each start, Daniel Bard is taking bigger and better steps in his evolution as a starter.

Through five frames, he’s tossed 78 pitches, 45 of them for strikes. His strikeout total is lower than normal, but hey, he’s only allowed four hits.

End 4th, Athletics 1-0: Brandon McCarthy’s stuff has been on point and he showed it by striking out Adrian Gonzalez.

He also got Cody Ross and David Ortiz to groundout on successive at-bats right after.

Mid 4th, Athletics 1-0: Yoenis Cespedes got a hold of Daniel Bard’s slider and blasted a shot that was short of a home run and wound up a double.

He would score on Seth Smith’s single in the ensuing at-bat. 

So here’s story time on Cespedes –he told me before Tuesday’s game that his goal this season is to learn one word in English a day.

End 3rd, 0-0: Oakland pitcher Brandon McCarthy is big on sabermetrics. He used the data approach to alter his pitching style compared to what it was in Chicago.

It’s turned that around to establish a pretty nice career in Oakland, the origin of Moneyball. So far, he’s tossing a one-hitter.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: With Coco Crisp up at-bat, Jarrod Saltalamacchia made a surprising throw to second base.

The only problem was no one was attempting a steal. He almost took off Crisp’s head with that throw, too.

Whoops. Well, on the bright side, this marks Saltalamacchia’s 27th birthday.

End 2nd, 0-0: Will Middlebrooks made his highly-anticipated debut at the plate.

The result you ask? A four-pitch walk and then he showed off a little speed by rushing over to steal second base.

In the clubhouse, he was telling us that he’s been waiting for this moment for “23 years”. He’s 23 years old. You do the math.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: So you want to know why they’re rocking the 1936 throwbacks.

That year the Athletics — then in Philly — sold Jimmie Foxx to Boston. Foxx was the American League MVP in 1938 and set the Red Sox single-season home run record with 50 long balls that year.

David Ortiz, of course, shattered that mark in 2006 with 54 long balls.

End 1st, 0-0: Very fitting moment for Ryan Sweeney just now. He roped a double to right field, notching his major-league leading 12th double of the season.

In his last season with Oakland last year, he only managed 11 doubles with 200 more plate appearances as well. He’s been on fire and shows no signs of slowing down.

Mid 1st, 0-0: A scoreless first inning right there for Daniel Bard, who fielded Josh Reddick’s grounder nicely to turn two.

If you haven’t noticed by now, the Red Sox are rocking the 1936 throwbacks against the Athletics in this one. The caps are nice.

6:50 p.m.: Get ready to see Red Sox top prospect Will Middlebrooks take the field for the first time at Fenway Park.

Middlebrooks will be making the start at third base alongside shortstop Mike Aviles as Daniel Bard looks for his third win of the season.

Check out the starting lineups for both teams in tonight’s rubber match against the A’s.

Red Sox
Mike Aviles, SS
Ryan Sweeney, RF
Dustin Pedroia , 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
David Ortiz, DH
Cody Ross, LF
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Marlon Byrd, CF

Daniel Bard, P

Athletics
Coco Crisp, LF
Cliff Pennington, SS
Josh Reddick, RF
Yoenis Cespedes, CF
Seth Smith, DH
Kila Ka’aihue, 1B
Kurt Suzuki, C
Brandon Inge, 3B
Eric Sogard, 2B

Brandon McCarthy, P

1:45 p.m.: As you await the rubber match against the Athletics, take a look at links to some of the stories from Tuesday’s game.

Yoenis Cespdes offers his take on Red Sox shortstop Jose Iglesias

Felix Doubront is still a rookie that’s adapting to the ups and downs

8 a.m. ET: Having fallen below .500 again with Tuesday’s loss, the Red Sox (11-12) are looking to climb back to the win column against the Athletics (12-13). Daniel Bard is fresh off his best start of the season and his first victory as a starting pitcher. He has his eyes on replicating the magic from his last outing, where he tossed seven innings and struck out six.

Bard, who is 2-2 with a 3.72 ERA, will take on Brandon McCarthy, who is 1-3 with a 3.23 ERA. In his last start, McCarthy allowed just five hits with four strikeouts and three walks over seven innings.

For more details and analysis from Fenway, follow NESN.com’s live blog. Tune into the pregame show at 6 p.m. ET on NESN. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.

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