(5:17, Game Over, 4-3 Tampa Bay)
Troy Percival had it all the way. After spotting Varitek a solo homer, gave a few Rays fans heart attacks, he managed to hold on for the save and the slim Rays win. Percival retired Elllsbury and Pedroia, walked Ortiz and then got Kevin Youkilis to fly out to the deepest part of center - the warning track - for the final out. Yep. Piece of cake. As a result, the Rays won two games out of three in the first series of the 2009 baseball season against these AL East rivals. Evan Longoria, who is entering superstar statuts, made a nice play at third to rob Dustin Pedroia, but the Rays pounded 10 hits to take the series after an Opening Day loss.
(5:06, bottom ninth, Tampa Bay 4-3)
Jason Varitek came into his 9th inning at-bat hitting .091. His only hit - a home run. Well, make that two. He just took Percival deep into the Rays' bullpen to cut the lead to one.
(5:03, Bottom ninth, 4-2 Tampa Bay) Just as I was writing what a great job the bullpen was doing....Hideki Okajima suffers Steve Blass Disease. He got two quick outs, one on a strike out, to start the eighth and then...couldn't find the plate. He walked two, allowed an infield hit to Pat Burrell and Justin Masterson had to come into the game. Gabe Kapler hit a long fly ball to deep center but Jacoby Ellsbury tracked it down. So in the end, yes, the bullpen did do well. After Daisuke Matsuzaka's 5-1/3, long, tedious innings, the bullpen trio of Manny Delcarmen, Ramon Ramirez and Okajima held the Rays to no runs. Delcarmen's outing was a little sloppy with a pair of walks, but Ramirez was pretty nasty in 1-2/3 innings in which he allowed just one hit. Troy Percival is on for the Rays.
(4:41, top ninth, 4-2 Tampa Bay) Attendance today is 37,784. Further proof there should be more weekday games played at Fenway.
(4:38, top ninth, 4-2 Tampa Bay)
Sox are making noise here in the eighth. Mike Lowell doubled to the leftcenter gap driving in Kevin Youkilis. Lowell has already made one great diving play at third base in this game, jogged into second base and was quickly replaced with pinch-runner Nick Green. With Green on second and two outs, Nelson went to 3-2 to Jed Lowrie before blowing a fastball by him for strike three. We're heading into the ninth. Hideki Okajima is on.
(4:29, bottom eighth, 4-1 Tampa Bay)
No offensive woes for Kevin Youkilis. After his eighth-inning single he's 8-for-11, including 3-for-3 today with a walk. Makes you wanna Shouse. Youk's single came against lefty Brian Shouse. After Shouse retired J.D. Drew, TB Manager Joe Maddon summoned Joe Nelson to the mound.
(4:15, top 8th, 4-1 Tampa Bay) Nice seven innings for Garza. He allowed four hits and one run. He threw 105 pitches and we'd guess his day is over. Meanwhile, Ramon Ramirez is back on the mound for the Sox. He threw a nifty 1-6-3 double-play to get out of the seventh after Delcarmen walked two. This is only a three-run game folks so well see if the Sox bullpen can keep this close enough so the offense might do some damage against the Rays' pen.
(3:56, top seventh, 4-1 Tampa Bay)
Manny Delcarmen is in for his second inning of relief. Terry Francona indicated before the game that Delcarmen would be one of the relievers who could pitch multiple innings along with Justin Masterson. The Sox aren't carrying a long reliever, mostly due to the fact they didn't think they needed one based on the on-paper strength of their starting rotation. One would think they'll be right with this decision as their starters get into the season.
(3:48, bottom sixth, 4-1 Tampa Bay) Jason Bay tripled into the triangle in center scoring Kevin Youkilis, who started the sixth against Matt Garza with a double to right center. Garza has thrown 95 pitches through six innings.
(3:41, top sixth, 4-0 Tampa Bay)
One hundred pitches and that's it. Dice-K has come out of the game after Akinori Iwamura's double high atop the left field wall in the top of the sixth. Manny Delcarmen has replaced him. Dice-K allowed three homers today and all things considered, it could have been worse. Dice-K was 18-3 last season. He was 9-0 with a 2.37 ERA on the road and 9-3 and 3.34 ERA at Fenway. He also tossed only 167-2/3 innings last year, second lowest number of innings for anyone winning 18 games. Had been undefeated in his last four regular season starts against the Rays.
(3:06, top fifth, Tampa Bay 4-0)
Sixty-seven pitches through four for Matt Garza.
3:03, bottom fourth, 4-0 Tampa Bay) The Sox head to Anaheim tomorrow for the start of a weekend series. Unfortunately they'll be heading into a horrible story following the death of rookie righty Nick Adenhart, who died in a car crash early this morning. The Angels have postponed their game vs. Oakland today. Statements expressing their sorrow have come from all corners of baseball today including commissioner Bud Selig, the A's, the Angels, the Major League Players' Association and others.
(3:00, bottom fourth, 4-0 Tampa Bay) Dice-K: 74 pitches through four innings. Brutal.
(2:56, mid fourth, 4-0 Tampa Bay) Not a good day when the back up catcher takes you deep. Dice-K has surrendered his third homer in the fourth inning to Shawn Riggans on a 1-1 offering on an inside pitch that was left a little too up in the zone. Bartlett followed with a wall-skimming double that came inches of being foul. Umpires had a brief pow-wow but stayed with the call.
(2:45, top fourth, 3-0 Tampa Bay) Matt Garza has a lot of Josh Beckett in him. He buzzed Dustin Pedroia and knocked him down on high and hard fastball in the third and then struck him out with an off-speed pitch. Garza's getting nastier as he gets into a rhythm, but the Sox do a nice job of disrupting it. The Sox added to his pitch count, however, as Garza walked David Ortiz, allowed a single to Kevin Youkilis with two outs. Garza retired Drew with a pop up to right. He's thrown 56 pitches.
(2:39, bottom third, 3-0 Tampa Bay) Dice-K certainly didn't hit the spot Jason Varitek called on Evan Longoria's two-run homer following a leadoff walk to Iwamura in the third. Can't make a mistake like that to this kid.
(2:20, top third, 1-0 Tampa Bay) You don't see two of the best-fielding first basemen making errors in subsequent games, but after Kevin Youkilis made a throwing error last night, Carlos Pena, last year's Gold Glove winner, overthrew Matt Garza with a high flip on a cover play on a Jed Lowrie grounder. No harm. No foul. Garza got Varitek to pop out to end the second inning.
(2:08; bottom second, 1-0 Tampa Bay) Dice-K has allowed a solo homer to Matt Joyce in the top of the second. Ball landed just over the Rays' bullpen. He's the OF the Rays acquired from the Tigers for Edwin Jackson.
(2:00, Top second, 0-0) Here's sticking my neck out on a limb: we might be seeing a few more 3-ball counts from Dice-K and Matt Garza this afternoon. Strange first inning for Sox. The Rays were called for going to the mouth (Matt Garza) on the mound which resulted in a ball, and for obstruction when shortstop Jason Bartlett tried to keep Jacoby Ellsbury on the ground after he stole second base and catcher Shawn Riggins tossed it into centerfield. Ellsbury was awarded third. But the Sox, who had two baserunners (a Kevin Youkilis walk) couldn't take advantage. J.D. Drew, back in the lineup after sitting last night in favor of Rocco Baldelli, lined out to shortstop to end the threat.
(1:45, Bottom one, 0-0)
Dice-K put a couple of men on base in the first, but struck out two including Willy Aybar on called third strike with a nice changeup that hugged the lower part of the strike zone.. Evan Longoria, who is now 2-for-3 against him in his short career, doubled to left and then Dice-K went 3-2 to Carlos Pena and walked him, but he wiggled out with 19 pitches. Matsuzaka has won 33 games in his first two seasons. That's the most since Roy Oswalt, who also won 33 in 2001-2. His 355 strikeouts is the third-highest total by an AL pitcher after two seasons, behind Herb Score (508, 1955-56) and Bert Blyleven (359, 1970-71).
1:37, top first, 0-0) Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a ball on his first pitch. The temp here is 57 degrees. Dice-K has just struck out leadiff hitter Akinori Iwamura. There's a large contingent of Japanese media here as usual for a Dice-K start.
Red Sox just had a moment of silence for Angels rookie righty Nick Adenhart who died tragically in a car accident early this morning in Fullerton, Ca. News of Adenhart's death trickled slowly through both clubhouses this morning and many players were saddened of the news. The Angels issued the following statement: "The Angels family has suffered a tremendous loss today," Angels general manager Tony Reagins said. "We are deeply saddened and shocked by this tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Nick's family, friends' loved ones and fans."