Red Sox-Rays Live: Yunel Escobar’s Homer Helps Rays Complete Doubleheader Sweep

Felix DoubrontFinal, Rays 6-5: Another Red Sox rally fell just short.

The Red Sox left the potential tying run on third base in the ninth inning, and the Rays walked away with a 6-5 victory in the nightcap of Thursday’s doubleheader.

Shane Victorino led off the ninth inning with a double and advanced to third base when David Ortiz grounded to first. The Red Sox couldn’t push across the tying run, though, and Grant Balfour recorded his second save of the day.

Thursday marked a tough day for Boston. The Red Sox also dropped the first game of their doubleheader against the Rays at Fenway Park in crushing fashion. The Sox seemingly entered the day with some momentum — having won five of their last eight games — but it’s now back to the drawing board after several missed opportunities doomed Thursday’s twin bill.

The Red Sox actually held a 5-2 lead in Thursday’s second game. The bullpen couldn’t hold down the lead, though, as the Rays tied the game against Junichi Tazawa in the eighth inning and took the lead against Koji Uehara in the ninth. Yunel Escobar went deep off Uehara, which hushed the Fenway Faithful.

The Red Sox will turn to Clay Buchholz on Friday as they look to bounce back from Thursday’s pair of losses. Buchholz will face Dan Straily in a game scheduled for 7:10 p.m. against the Oakland Athletics.

Mid 9th, Rays 6-5: A stunned silence has come over the Fenway Park crowd.

Koji Uehara’s second pitch of the ninth inning was sent sailing into the Monster seats by Yunel Escobar. The Rays suddenly hold a 6-5 lead.

It’s rare that Uehara allows a baserunner, never mind surrenders a long ball. But it’s been that kind of day for Boston, and the Red Sox now need some ninth-inning magic to avoid dropping both games of the doubleheader.

The Rays will turn to closer Grant Balfour, who will look to become the first pitcher to record two saves in one day since Bobby Jenks on Sept. 4, 2010.

End 8th, 5-5: The Red Sox stranded the potential go-ahead run at third base in the eighth inning.

Xander Bogaerts led off with a double off the wall in left-center field. A.J. Pierzynski then bunted him over to third base, giving the Red Sox an excellent opportunity to jump ahead.

Jake McGee buckled down, though. He blew a 98 mph heater by Will Middlebrooks, and then — after a Jonny Gomes walk — retired Dustin Pedroia on a ground ball to third base.

Mid 8th, 5-5: And just like that, we’re all tied up at Fenway Park.

The Rays tied the game the same way they opened up the scoring. James Loney followed a Sean Rodriguez double with an RBI single.

Junichi Tazawa surrendered the game-tying run in the eighth after escaping some brief trouble in the seventh. The right-hander actually got two quick outs before Rodriguez changed the complexion of the inning with a two-bagger off the wall.

End 7th, Red Sox 5-4: The Rays navigated through a couple of walks in the seventh inning to keep this a one-run game.

Brad Boxberger, who struck out three in the sixth inning, walked David Ortiz and Mike Napoli in the seventh inning after retiring Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino to begin the frame.

Joe Maddon turned to Juan Carlos Oviedo with two men in scoring position, and Oviedo sat down Grady Sizemore to end the threat.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 5-4: Burke Badenhop and Junichi Tazawa combined to keep Tampa at bay in the seventh.

Badenhop, who also pitched in Game 1, retired Yunel Escobar on a groundout and surrendered a single to Ryan Hanigan before John Farrell called upon Tazawa.

Tazawa faced pinch-hitter Matt Joyce and unleashed a wild pitch that allowed Hanigan to sneak into scoring position. Tazawa kept things under control, though, retiring both Joyce and Desmond Jennings to keep Boston’s one-run lead intact.

End 6th, Red Sox 5-4: Brad Boxberger recorded three strikeouts despite issuing a walk in the sixth inning.

Xander Bogaerts, A.J. Pierzynski and Jackie Bradley Jr. all struck out in the sixth. Pierzynski and Bradley went down swinging against Boxberger, who featured a good fastball-changeup mix that kept Boston’s hitters off balance.

A two-out walk to Will Middlebrooks was Boxberger’s only blemish.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 5-4: It didn’t take long for the Rays to cut into the Red Sox’s new lead.

The Red Sox committed a circus-like error to open the sixth inning. Evan Longoria hit a popup in the infield that everyone converged on but no one caught. The error was charged to Will Middlebrooks, who simply misplayed it.

Sean Rodriguez made the Red Sox pay for the defensive blunder. He hammered a two-run homer off one of the light towers located atop the Green Monster.

End 5th, Red Sox 5-2: The Red Sox completely turned things around in the fifth inning, grabbing five runs to take a 5-2 lead.

Boston’s rally really was the work — or lack thereof — of Rays starter Chris Archer. Archer, who had been in control until the fifth inning, walked three, hit a batter and surrendered two hits before manager Joe Maddon gave the right-hander the hook.

Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks sandwiched A.J. Pierzynski’s flyout with a pair of walks. Both runners advanced when Archer fired a wild pitch with Jackie Bradley Jr. at the plate.

Bradley ended up walking, which loaded the bases for Dustin Pedroia, who lifted a fly ball to shallow left field that wasn’t deep enough to drive in Bogaerts from third.

Fortunately for the Red Sox, Archer wasn’t done with his control problems. Archer hit Shane Victorino with the first pitch of the following at-bat, resulting in Boston’s first run and reloading the bases for David Ortiz.

Ortiz then did what Ortiz typically does: he drove in runs. Big Papi beat the shift with a line-drive single through the right side that plated two runs to give Boston a 3-2 lead.

Mike Napoli made it 4-2 with an RBI single, at which point Maddon turned to his bullpen and summoned Brad Boxberger, who was called up before the game as Tampa Bay’s 26th man.

Grady Sizemore greeted Boxberger with a single into center field that made it 5-2.

Mid 5th, Rays 2-0: The Rays put a runner into scoring position in the fifth inning, but Felix Doubront stymied the threat.

Ryan Hanigan walked with one out after Yunel Escobar struck out begin the fifth. He took third base with two outs when Doubront uncorked a wild pitch with Desmond Jennings batting.

Jennings, who knocked in Tampa’s second run with a third-inning homer, couldn’t add to the Rays’ lead. He flied out to right field.

End 4th, Rays 2-0: Grady Sizemore ran into an out to end the fourth inning.

Sizemore walked with two outs after David Ortiz lined out and Mike Napoli grounded out. Sizemore got a little too aggressive on the bases, though, and his attempt to take second base on a pitch in the dirt failed miserably.

Catcher Ryan Hanigan threw out Sizemore by a mile to end the inning.

Mid 4th, Rays 2-0: Felix Doubront has been up and down in this one.

Doubront took a step in the right direction in the fourth inning, retiring all three Rays hitters he faced, including two via strikeouts.

Sean Rodriguez went down looking to begin the fourth inning, and Brandon Guyer went down looking to end the frame.

End 3rd, Rays 2-0: Chris Archer has been in control thus far.

Archer walked Will Middlebrooks to begin the bottom of the third inning, but he settled down from there.

Jackie Bradley Jr. and Dustin Pedroia struck out swinging in the third. Both hitters fanned on fastballs.

Shane Victorino grounded to third base to end the inning.

Mid 3rd, Rays 2-0: Desmond Jennings ripped an absolute bullet into the Monster seats to give Tampa Bay a two-run edge.

Jennings jumped on a 3-1 fastball from Felix Doubront and scorched it over the left field wall. The ball left the yard in a hurry.

Doubront rebounded to handle Evan Longoria and Wil Myers, but the Rays are off and running in Game 2.

End 2nd, Rays 1-0: Chris Archer took care of business in the second.

Archer retired Grady Sizemore, Xander Bogaerts and A.J. Pierzynski in order in the second inning.

Bogaerts went down by way of the K.

Mid 2nd, Rays 1-0: Felix Doubront already has found himself in some trouble.

James Loney followed Sean Rodriguez’s one-out double with a single into right field. Rodriguez came around from second base to easily score with the game’s first run.

Yunel Escobar smacked a two-out, wall-ball double to back Doubront even further into a corner, but the left-hander managed to minimize the damage by getting Ryan Hanigan to ground out to second base.

End 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox stranded a runner at third base in the first inning.

Shane Victorino got things going offensively with a one-out double, but neither David Ortiz nor Mike Napoli could knock in The Flyin’ Hawaiian.

Ortiz popped out, and Napoli flied out.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Felix Doubront scattered three fly ball outs in the first inning.

Logan Forsythe, Desmond Jennings and Evan Longoria all put the ball in the air against Doubront, who is looking to rebound after a shaky start his last time out.

7:14 p.m.: The action is underway at Fenway Park.

6:45 p.m. ET: The Red Sox dropped the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader against the Rays at Fenway Park in crushing fashion. A controversial call late in the game didn’t go Boston’s way, and Tampa Bay held on for a 2-1 victory.

Jake Peavy suffered the loss in Game 1 after surrendering two runs on three hits and five walks over 6 1/3 innings. Brandon Gomes earned the win, as Rays starter Cesar Ramos couldn’t make it out of the fifth inning because of a high walk total and pitch count.

Felix Doubront and Chris Archer — who were supposed to battle Wednesday before the game was rescheduled for Thursday afternoon — will square off in Thursday’s second game.

Thursday’s complete Game 2 lineups are below.

Boston Red Sox (13-15)
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Shane Victorino, RF
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Grady Sizemore, LF
Xander Bogaerts, SS
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Felix Doubront, LHP (1-3, 6.00 ERA)

Tampa Bay Rays (12-16)
Logan Forsythe, 2B
Desmond Jennings, CF
Evan Longoria, 3B
Wil Myers, RF
Sean Rodriguez, LF
James Loney, 1B
Brandon Guyer, DH
Yunel Escobar, SS
Ryan Hanigan, C

Chris Archer, RHP (2-1, 4.11 ERA)

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