Ellsbury smacked a one-out single to get the offense going. He then tried to steal with Shane Victorino at the plate, and the throw ricocheted off Yunel Escobar’s glove and into right field. That allowed Ellsbury to scamper up to third base.
Rays manager Joe Maddon elected to go with a five-man infield with one out and Ellsbury on third. Victorino hit the ball sharply at Escobar, and the shortstop made a very nice play, but the hit was enough to bring home Ellsbury with the game-winning run.
Junichi Tazawa gets credited with the win. He came on to pitch the top half of the 10th inning and gave up a leadoff double before then retiring the next three hitters he faced.
Jon Lester got the start on Saturday, and he tossed seven solid innings before exiting with the game tied 1-1. Lester gave up just five hits and struck out five while walking one.
One crucial moment came in the ninth inning. Joel Hanrahan started the inning with two walks, and Red Sox manager John Farrell decided that was enough. Farrell turned to Koji Uehara with two on and no outs, and Uehara responded by getting three consecutive outs to send the game into extra innings.
The Red Sox and Rays will be back at it on Sunday afternoon. Clay Buchholz will go up against Alex Cobb. The game’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET. I hope to see you all then.
Good night, everyone.
Mid 10th, 1-1: Jose Molina led off the 10th inning with a double down the right-field line, but Junichi Tazawa bounced back to retire the next three hitters.
Molina, who is one of the slowest runners in the league, barely reached second base safely despite what should have been an easy two-bagger. He was then replaced by a pinch-runner in Kelly Johnson.
After Molina reached, Matt Joyce lined out, Desmond Jennings popped out and Sam Fuld grounded out.
The Rays are now 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position in this game, and 0 for their last 17 with runners in scoring position overall.
End 9th, 1-1: It was a long and eventful ninth inning, but neither team scored, and we’re headed for extras.
With Kyle Farnsworth in the game for Tampa, Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks were both retired to start off the ninth.
Manager Joe Maddon then went to lefty Cesar Ramos to force Daniel Nava to turn around and bat right-handed. Nava responded by dropping a single into right field.
That prompted another change by Maddon, who turned to Brandon Gomes to face Jonny Gomes. With Jonny Gomes batting, a wild pitch allowed Nava to advance to second, although he would have ended up there anyway because Gomes worked a two-out walk.
After a brief mound visit, Stephen Drew stepped in for Boston with a chance to make himself a fan favorite. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, he was retired on a fly out to center.
Junichi Tazawa is coming in to pitch for the Sox.
Mid 9th, 1-1: Heck of a job by Koji Uehara.
Uehara inherited two runners in the ninth inning, but neither scored.
Uehara struck out James Loney with a fastball on the outside corner, and then got Yunel Escobar to fly out and Ryan Roberts to pop out.
It was a bold move to yank Joel Hanrahan in favor of Uehara in the middle of the ninth inning, but it proved to be the right move. Hanrahan continues to struggle with his command, and Uehara has been impressive aside from the go-ahead double he surrendered in Wednesday’s outing.
The Red Sox will send Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava to the dish in the ninth.
3:50 p.m.: Joel Hanrahan issued walks to the first two batters he faced, and manager John Farrell isn’t messing around. Hanrahan has been taken out in favor of Koji Uehara.
End 8th, 1-1: Could we wind up with free baseball? Perhaps. But first, we’ll see if the ninth inning can determine a winner.
Joel Peralta came on to pitch the eighth for Tampa, and he — like Jake McGee — had a 1,2,3 inning.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning by putting a charge into one toward the triangle in right-center field. Desmond Jennings was able to track it down and make a nice running catch.
Shane Victorino then struck out, and Dustin Pedroia grounded out harmlessly to first to end the inning.
Joel Hanrahan is coming on for Boston. Hanrahan has struggled a bit in his last two outings. That includes a blown save on Wednesday in which he surrendered five runs to the Orioles in the ninth inning.
Mid 8th, 1-1: Andrew Bailey continues to impress, but it was a sensational play by David Ross that has the Fenway crowd buzzing.
Bailey got Matt Joyce to fly out, and he then struck out Desmond Jennings for the second out.
Sam Fuld pinch hit for Sean Rodriguez, who actually drove in Tampa’s only run, and he popped one up behind the plate. Ross gave chase, and although he ran out of room, the Boston backstop reached into the seats to make a great play to end the inning.
End 7th, 1-1: The Rays went from one hard-throwing left-hander to another, and the results were similar.
Jake McGee shut down the Red Sox in the seventh. McGee struck out Jonny Gomes and David Ross in the inning. Sandwiched in between was a Stephen Drew fly out.
It looks like Lester’s day is done — as expected. Andrew Bailey will come on to pitch for Boston.
Lester allowed just one run on five hits while throwing 100 pitches in his seven innings of work. He struck out five, walked one and hit a batter.
Overall, it was a solid outing for Lester, although this marks the first time this season he won’t come away with a win. Lester entered the game at 2-0 after outpitching CC Sabathia and R.A. Dickey in his first two starts.
Mid 7th, 1-1: Jon Lester gave up a leadoff single to Yunel Escobar, but a big double play paved the way for a very quick inning.
After Escobar’s single, Ryan Roberts hit one right at Dustin Pedroia, who tossed to shortstop Stephen Drew to begin the twin killing.
Lester ended the inning by getting Jose Molina to turn over a four-seamer to Will Middlebrooks down at third base.
Jake McGee will replace David Price, who went the first six innings. That means the reigning AL Cy Young winner is still seeking his first win of the year, as he’ll receive a no-decision in this one.
Price, who entered the game on the heels of a poor outing against the Indians in his last start, allowed just one run on four hits. He struck out eight and walked two.
Jon Lester is up to 100 pitches, so his day may soon come to a close as well. Andrew Bailey is warming up in the Boston bullpen.
End 6th, 1-1: Mike Napoli and Will Middlebrooks gave the Red Sox their third and fourth hits of the game, respectively, in the sixth. A mound visit from Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey settled David Price down, though, and we’re still looking at a 1-1 score.
Price started off the sixth inning rather easily. He got Shane Victorino to bounce back to the mound. Price used his entire 6-foot-6 frame to snag the comebacker, and he fired to first for the out.
Price then struck out Dustin Pedroia for the second time before running into some trouble against Napoli and Middlebrooks. Following the mound visit, Price retired Daniel Nava on a fly ball to center.
Nava is now 0-for-3 against Price, and he’s 1-for-18 in his career against the lefty.
That could be Price’s last inning, as he’s up to 106 pitches through six.
Mid 6th, 1-1: It’s always important to try and keep the momentum rolling with a quick inning after the offense gets going. Jon Lester did his job in the sixth.
Jon Lester retired Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and Shelley Duncan — all on ground outs — to get the Red Sox’ defense off the field in a hurry. Now, it’s back to work for the Boston offense.
End 5th, 1-1: David Price got two quick outs, and it looked as if he was well on his way to another scoreless inning. A brief injury timeout may have thrown the southpaw’s rhythm off a bit, though, as David Ross launched a two-out home run over the seats in left to tie the game.
Price started off the inning by getting Jonny Gomes to pop out to first. He then struck out Stephen Drew and looked to be in control yet again, but Ross fouled a pitch off the mask of Rays catcher Jose Molina, which led to a brief break in the action.
Once Molina checked out OK, it was back to work, and Price gave up his first big blow of the game. Ross turned on a 3-2 changeup for his first home run of the season. It’s also his first home run in a Red Sox uniform, as he didn’t go yard during his brief eight-game stint with the club in 2008.
Mid 5th, Rays 1-0: With the exception of the third-inning blemish, Jon Lester is cruising along as well.
Lester enjoyed his second straight 1-2-3 inning in the fifth.
Lester retired Matt Joyce on a cutter for the first out. Desmond Jennings, who started the third inning rally with a hit, put up a much more grueling battle. He worked the count full, although Lester was able to get him to pop out to second base on the at-bat’s sixth pitch.
The inning ended with Lester striking out Sean Rodriguez on a 3-2 changeup.
Lester is up to 84 pitches through five innings.
End 4th, Rays 1-0: David Price is cruising right along.
Price retired the Red Sox in order in the fourth, picking up two strikeouts in the process.
Mike Napoli made a loud out to begin the inning. He skied a high fly ball into center field, but Desmond Jennings had plenty of time to camp under it for out No. 1.
Price then took care of business himself against Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava. Price pulled the string on both Middlebrooks, who saw seven pitches in his at-bat, and Nava. The strikeout to Middlebrooks appeared to come on a changeup, while Nava fanned on a curveball.
All in all, Price is having a much easier go this time around than he did in his last start against the Indians.
Mid 4th, Rays 1-0: Jon Lester enjoyed a nice bounce-back inning in the fourth.
An inning after surrendering the first run of the game on two hits, Lester enjoyed a quick, 1-2-3 frame.
Yunel Escobar and Ryan Roberts flew out, and Jose Molina grounded out to Dustin Pedroia at second.
The Red Sox will send up Mike Napoli, Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava in the home half of the fourth.
End 3rd, Rays 1-0: David Price gave Shane Victorino a lot of attention at first base after he reached on a two-out single, but the Flyin’ Hawaiian still managed to swipe second base to move up into scoring position.
Price made sure it didn’t matter, though. He struck out Dustin Pedroia, who gave a hearty cut at an 89-mph cutter, to end the inning.
Prior to Victorino’s two-out hit, David Ross flew out to left and Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking. Ross actually tried to bunt his way aboard on the first pitch he saw, which was a bit strange.
Mid 3rd, Rays 1-0: The Rays’ offense broke through first.
After Desmond Jennings led off the third inning with a single into left field, Sean Rodriguez ripped a double down the left-field line. Daniel Nava had hoped for a nice bounce, but the ball ended up rattling around in the left-field corner, which allowed Jennings to come all the way around from first with the game’s first run.
Evan Longoria, who was a strikeout victim in his first at-bat, came up and once again went down by way of the K. It marked Lester’s 1,076th career strikeout, moving him ahead of Luis Tiant for sole possession of sixth place on the Red Sox’ all-time list.
While Longoria was batting, though, a wild pitch enabled Sean Rodriguez to advance to third. Lester’s pitch was in the dirt, and catcher David Ross made a nice play to block it. The ball didn’t kick too far away and Ross delivered a strong throw down to third, but third base umpire Angel Hernandez determined that Rodriguez slid in under Will Middlebrooks’ tag.
Lester ended up stranding Rodriguez at third. Ben Zobrist hit a hot smash down to first that Mike Napoli made a diving grab on, and Shelley Duncan grounded to third to end the inning.
End 2nd, 0-0: David Price issued his second free pass in the second, but we’re still looking at a 0-0 game.
Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava made two quick outs. Middlebrooks grounded back to the mound, while Nava hit a grounder to Yunel Escobar at short, and both were relatively routine plays.
Then, Price issued a six-pitch walk to Jonny Gomes. Price had gotten ahead in the count 1-2, but he struggled to command his offspeed stuff, and Gomes was able to earn a free ticket down to first.
Stephen Drew — playing just his third game with the Sox — flew out to right field to end the inning.
Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester surrendered back-to-back singles with two outs in the second, but the left-hander didn’t have much trouble getting out of the brief jam.
Lester started the inning by getting Shelley Duncan to sky a fly ball to left field. Daniel Nava used his glove to shield his eyes while battling a tough glare and was able to make the play for the first out.
Lester then struck out Yunel Escobar looking before Ryan Roberts and Jose Molina strung together two straight hits. The No. 9 hitter, Matt Joyce, couldn’t do anything with the opportunity, though. He broke his bat while bouncing back to Lester for the third out.
End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox — like the Rays — put a runner on in the first inning, but they failed to score.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the Red Sox’ day at the plate by hitting a soft flare down to Evan Longoria at third base. Longoria ran over to make the grab in foul ground.
David Price then struck out Shane Victorino, who wasn’t too pleased with home plate umpire Doug Eddings’ third strike call. Victorino seemingly thought it was a little too high or inside, but Eddings didn’t think it was either, and the Flyin’ Hawaiian was sent flying back to the dugout.
Dustin Pedroia fared better, as he walked on six pitches, but Price bounced back to strike out Mike Napoli looking. The pitch that got Napoli looked a bit high, so it’s clear Eddings’ strike zone is going to be relatively large.
Mid 1st, 0-0: The Rays put a runner into scoring position, but Jon Lester worked through the threat and tossed a scoreless first, although it required some nice defense.
The game started off with a rather weird play. Desmond Jennings ripped a line drive into the 5-6 hole on the left side. Will Middlebrooks lunged to make a play, but the ball ricocheted off his glove. Strangely, it ricocheted right to shortstop Stephen Drew in the air, and Drew was able to make the grab. It was a rare 5-6 putout.
Sean Rodriguez then worked a walk, and he stole second base as Lester froze Evan Longoria with a cutter for the second out.
Ben Zobrist got a good piece of one with Rodriguez on second, sending Jacoby Ellsbury into the right-center field gap. The speedy Ellsbury was able to make the running play to end the inning.
1:07 p.m.: Jon Lester’s first pitch of the game is a ball outside, and we’re under way. It’s 44 degrees at game time.
12:45 p.m.: We’re roughly 20 minutes away from game time, and the weather is certainly much better than it was on Friday night. The skies have cleared up, and we shouldn’t have any issues in this one.
Manager John Farrell was asked about playing in cold weather prior to Saturday’s game, though, and he talked about how difficult it is to assess weather conditions. There are so many factors involved beyond temperature, and he thinks everyone does a nice job overall in maintaining both player safety and the comfort of the fans.
Farrell also said that he thinks pitchers hold the advantage in cold weather, as they’re the “warmest guy in the ballpark.” That’s interesting coming from a former pitcher. Then again, Farrell’s never been one to make excuses.
11:17 a.m.: With Jackie Bradley Jr. struggling, Daniel Nava swinging a hot bat and a left-hander on the mound for Tampa, the decision was relatively easy for manager John Farrell. Nava and Jonny Gomes will be in the starting lineup against David Price and the Rays on Saturday.
Nava will be getting his fifth straight start, and he enters the game having homered in three of his last four games. Nava’s average for the season is up to .421 (8-for-19) and his on-base percentage sits at .520.
Bradley, meanwhile, has struggled of late. In his last 17 plate appearances, he’s 0-for-14 with three walks, and his average is now down to .120 (3-for-25).
In turning to Nava over Bradley, however, Farrell is going against history a bit. Nava is a career .067 (1-for-15) hitter against Price, and while the skipper said before Saturday’s game that it was taken into consideration when filling out the lineup card, he ultimately made the decision to go with the hot hand.
Farrell certainly faces an interesting situation, as there are many variables to consider when it comes to Bradley. Saturday will mark the second time in four games that Bradley will be out of the lineup, and it’s clear the Red Sox would rather use other options against left-handers. That means there’s a bit of a juggling act going on when it comes to Bradley’s playing time and his player development.
In any event, Saturday’s lineups are below.
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Mike Napoli, 1B
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Daniel Nava, LF
Jonny Gomes, DH
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C
Jon Lester, LHP
Desmond Jennings, CF
Sean Rodriguez, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Ben Zobrist, RF
Shelley Duncan, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS
Ryan Roberts, 2B
Jose Molina, C
Matt Joyce, LF
David Price, LHP
9 a.m. ET: If you like pitching, you’ll want to watch Saturday’s game.
Two of the best lefties in baseball will battle at Fenway. Jon Lester will go for Boston, while the reigning AL Cy Young, David Price, will toe the rubber for Tampa Bay.
The two southpaws have started their respective seasons off in very different fashion. Lester is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA (two earned runs in 12 innings), while Price is 0-1 with a 8.18 ERA (10 earned runs in 11 innings). Price was actually pretty solid in his first start of the year, but he surrendered eight earned runs over five innings against the Indians in his last start.
Lester has already defeated perennial All-Star CC Sabathia and the reigning NL Cy Young , R.A. Dickey, in his first two starts. Adding a win against Price could really do a lot to build his confidence, which already seems to be sky high. Price has enjoyed success against Boston in the past, though. The 27-year-old is 8-4 with a 3.08 in 15 career starts against the Sox.
Felix Doubront was originally scheduled to get the start for the Red Sox in the series opener, but with Friday’s rain-out, manager John Farrell opted to push Doubront back to Tuesday so that Boston’s top three starters could pitch on their regularly scheduled days. Farrell did say Doubront would get some sort of simulated work in on Saturday, although it’s unclear exactly what that will entail.
What’s also unclear is the sky in Boston, although the weather is expected to get better as the day goes on. Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET, so be sure to keep it right here for all sorts of baseball goodness.
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