BASES LOADED (11:11, BOT 9, 8-7 ANGELS)
Lowrie came through in his first at-bat since Aug. 6, ripping a grounder down the third base line. Figgins stopped the ball, which saved a run. The bases are loaded for Nick Green, pinch hitting for Kotchman.
SOX HAVE A CHANCE (11:09, END 9, 8-7 ANGELS)
Fuentes had the Sox dead to rights. Bay popped to second. Lowell lined out to center. But then Ortiz walked, and Joey Gathright pinch ran for him. Drew squibbed a single over the mound, and the Sox have the tying run in scoring position. Jed Lowrie -- Jed Lowrie! -- will pinch hit for Dusty Brown.
LAST LICKS (11:00, TOP 9, 8-7 ANGELS)
Macier Izturis hit a hard one-hopper to Kotchman for the final out. Now the Sox will try once more to come back. Bay, Lowell, and Ortiz will have a chance to tie or win the game. They will face Brian Fuentes, the Angels' left-handed closer.
ANGELS TAKE LEAD (10:56, TOP 9, 8-7 ANGELS)
Bard rolled through two outs, then allowed three consecutive singles to give the Angels the lead. He allowed a two-out single to Figgins, and Aybar followed with another single to right that sent Figgins to third.
Then came the pivotal at-bat against Abreu. He started him with two balls, and on the third pitch Abreu lashed a single through the left side, scoring Figgins with the go-ahead run.
BARD ENTERS (10:46, END 8, 7-7)
Pedroia flied out to end the eighth. Bard, with Papelbon out with a tweaked back, will pitch the ninth. Defensively. Drew is in right and Dusty Brown is behind the plate.
SOX TIE IT (10:43, BOT 8, 7-7)
This is an unlikely way to tie the game. Gonzalez walked -- which was his first base on balls in 94 at-bats with the Red Sox. Ellsbury followed with a bounding ball through the right side, which scored Reddick. Pedroia can give the Sox the lead.
ONE DOWN (10:38, BOT 8, 7-6 ANGELS)
Oliver threw a wild pitch, which allowed Reddick to move to second. Kotchman followed with a nine-pitch at-bat that included five foul balls. He grounded slowly to short, which allowed Ortiz to scamper home and Reddick to run to third. With two down, the inning falls to Gonzalez.
OLIVER IN (10:32, BOT 8, 7-5 ANGELS)
Darren Oliver is in the game, and he'll face Kotchman with men on first and third. Reddick grounded out to second, and they got the runner at second.
TYING RUN ON (10:28, BOT 8, 7-5 ANGELS)
The Red Sox have two men on with no outs. Ortiz led off by scorching a single to center. J.D. Drew, pinch hitting for Brian Anderson, who had played defense for Baldelli, walked. Josh Reddick will hit for Varitek.
DELCARMEN ESCAPES (10:22, MID 8, 7-5)
The Sox are still in the game, and you can credit Delcarmen. Quinlan flied to shallow left, not deep enough for Aybar to tag. Abreu stole second without a throw from Varitek, which prompted the Sox to intentionally walk Hunter and load the bases. Delcarmen struck out Morales with a breaking ball in the dirt. Delcarmen struck out Kendrick with an 80-mph changep on 2-2, which followed two 95-mph high fastballs. Nice sequence to finish a nice inning for Delcarmen.
DELCARMEN FOR OKAJIMA (10:10, TOP 8, 7-5 ANGELS)
With Robb Quinlan in for Guerrero, Francona is replacing Okajima with Manny Delcarmen. He'll face something of a jam -- the Angels have men on first and third with no outs after singles by Aybar and Abreu.
SOX CAN'T ANSWER (10:02, END 7, 7-5 ANGELS)
After nine runs in two half-innings, Kevin Jepsen entered for the Angels and calmed things down. He retired Pedroia, Bay, and Lowell in order. Lowell hit a groundball up the middle, and Kendrick made a backhand play in center and still had to set his feet for the throw that nabbed Lowell.
OKIE DOKIE (9:56, MID 7, 7-5 ANGELS)
Okajima struck out Figgins, unable to check his swing, to end the inning. Varitek made a nice block and tag to complete the strikeout, an ironic way to end the inning. All four runs were unearned thanks to his passed ball on a strikeout by Ramirez.
PILING ON (9:51, TOP 7, 7-5 ANGELS)
Who would have thought a passed ball would be the play of the game? It just might be. The Angels added another run when Napoli doubled to left. The Angels scored all four of their runs this inning after Varitek failed to stop the changeup that Morales swung through for the would-be strike three.
Now Ramirez is out of the game, replaced by Hideki Okajima.
ANGELS ALIVE (9:48, TOP 7, 6-5 ANGELS)
Ramirez did his job and got out of the inning -- or so it seemed. Then, just as suddenly as the Sox did, the Angels took the lead. Hunter popped up to Pedroia in shallow right. Ramirez struck out Morales swinging at a changeup, but the ball squirted through Varitek's legs. Varitek could not find the ball, which rolled all the way back to the backstop. Guerrero hustled to third, and Morales went to first, the inning extended. Kendrick promptly roped a single to right, scoring Vlad and cutting the lead in half. Rivera blasted a double to center, off the wall and just over the glove of a leaping Ellsbury. This is turning into a sloppy, but interesting, game.
RAMIREZ IN, SAITO OUT (9:37, TOP 7, 5-3 SOX)
Ramirez is in, one batter too late for Guerrero. With his final pitch, Saito came too far inside with a two-seamer and drilled Vlad smack in the ribs. It was painful to watch, but Guerrero stayed in the game after being tended to by a trainer.
Ramirez will face Hunter.
TO THE SEVENTH (9:29, END 6, 5-3 SOX)
Ellsbury ended the inning with a strikeout. Saito remains in the game, with Ramirez at the ready.
As noted in a post below, Jonathan Papelbon will not be available to pitch tonight with a sore back. It's not a major thing, but he won't pitch tonight.
GONZALEZ PUTS SOX AHEAD (9:24, BOT 6, 5-3 SOX)
With a five-run sixth, the Sox have stunned the Angels and knocked Saunders out of the game. First, Kotchman flared a ball to shallow left. For a moment, it seemed the ball would drop, but Aybar backpedaled and made an easy catch. With two outs, Gonzalez came through, adding another clutch hit to his resume. He flared a soft single into shallow right, scoring both Ortiz and Baldelli to give the Sox a sudden two-run lead.
Jason Bulger is in to pitch to Ellsbury, the 10th batter of the inning, with two on and two outs. Ramon Ramirez is warming for the Red Sox.
The Rangers are losing, 2-0, to Oakland in the sixth. It's possible the Red Sox will be closer to the Yankees, who are trailing the Blue Jays, than the Rangers by the time the night is over.
TIE GAME (9:17, BOT 6, 3-3)
Baldelli atoned for his earlier miscue, bouncing a ball through the hole on the left side of the infield to score Bay. Ortiz is on second after reaching on a fielder's choice. (He should have been out in a double play, but Kendrick bobbled the ball.)
BAY COMES THROUGH (9:10, BOT 6, 3-2 ANGELS)
And Bay delivers. He roped a single through the box, scoring both Ellsbury and Pedroia. Lowell seemingly hit a possible double play ball, but Aybar dropped the ball on the transfer and second base umpire Tim Timmons called Bay safe. Mike Scioscia is arguing the call to no avail; Aybar gets an error. Lowell is the go-ahead run at first. Still no outs with Ortiz up.
SOMETHING BREWING (9:07, BOT 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
The Sox have a rally going. Ellsbury led off with an infield single, and Pedroia followed with a double down the left field line. Bay has a chance to put the Sox on the board with no outs and two in scoring position.
SAITO LEAVES THEM LOADED (9:00, MID 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
Saito promptly walked Napoli to load the bases, but he escaped the one-out jam to keep the Sox in the game. Figgins flied to shallow left, and Aybar popped to Kotchman at first.
BYE BYE, BYRD (8:52, TOP 6, 3-0 ANGELS)
After the Angels smacked him around in the sixth, Byrd's night is done. Hunter, who whaled his pitches in each at-bat, delivered the first blow, a crushed homer off the Sports Authority sign above the Monster. He came back to strike out Morales, but Kendrick doubled and Rivera laced a single to left. Like that, Byrd was done after 97 pitches.
Takashi Saito is replacing Byrd.
ONE, TWO, THREE (8:42, END 5, 2-0 ANGELS)
Saunders plowed through his first 1-2-3 inning. Varitek struck out, marking the first time tonight the leadoff man failed to reach base. Kotchman struck out, too, and Gonzalez ripped a line drive to left, and Rivera made the catch to end a quiet inning.
ANGELS ADD ON (8:34, MID 5, 2-0 ANGELS)
Byrd was rolling, striking out the first two batters of the inning, Napoli and Figgins. Back-to-back hits gave the Angels a run. Aybar ripped a single down the right field line, and Baldelli gave him an extra base with a throw about 20 feet too high. Turns out the extra base did not matter. Abreu crushed a fly ball to the triangle, where it hopped around as Aybar scored and Abreu jogged into second. Guerrero flied out to right to end the inning.
ALMOST A RALLY (8:25, BOT 4, 1-0 ANGELS)
The Sox had two men on at once for the first time tonight, but the would-be rally quickly unraveled. Bay led off with a single to left, and he stole second while Lowell struck out. Ortiz walked. Rocco Baldelli lined to second, where Kendrick snared it on a hop. Baldelli did not run all the way to first, thinking it had been caught, but it wouldn't have mattered, anyway.
BYRD ESCAPES (8:16, MID 4, 1-0 ANGELS)
After Hunter doubled to left-center to lead off the inning, Byrd stymied the rally and kept the Sox' deficit at one. Morales popped up to Pedroia. Kendrick ripped a one-hopper back at Byrd, and he grabbed it and caught Hunter in a rundown. Kendrick ran to second, but he stayed there when Rivera popped foul to Kotchman. It's another pitchers' duel so far.
SOX STRAND KOTCHMAN (8:06, END 3, 1-0 ANGELS)
Kotchman led off with a double to the opposite field, into the left field corner. Alex Gonzalez moved him to third with a perfect sacrifice bunt, the Red Sox' third attempted sacrifice bunt in two games. With the runner on third and one out, Ellsbury could not drive him, grounding out to first. The inning fell to Pedroia. He hit a chopper to the left side, but Figgins ranged to his left, made the stab, spun, and threw out Pedroia.
BYRD LIMITS DAMAGE (7:58, MID 3, 1-0 ANGELS)
Guerrero had a chance to land a big blow, but Byrd struck him out swinging at an 81-mph slider.
ANGELS ON THE BOARD (7:54, TOP 3, 1-0 ANGELS)
The Angels took the lead thanks to the difference of about one inch. Juan Rivera singled up the middle, right under Alex Gonzalez's glove, to lead off the inning. He moved to second on Mike Napoli's grounder, and he stayed there when Chone Figgins lined to left. Ayber ripped a line drive toward first. Kotchman leaped, and the ball ticked off the top of his glove and dribbled into right. Rivera scored easily, and when Pedroia tracked down the ball and threw home, Aybar went to second. Byrd walked Abreu, putting two on with two outs. Guerrero is batting after John Farrell came out for a chat.
COUPLE OF Ks (7:42, END 2, 0-0)
After Mike Lowell's leadoff single, Saunders shut down the Sox again. He struck out both David Ortiz and Rocco Baldelli, and Jason Varitek popped up to the right side of the infield. Lowell is batting cleanup for the fourth time this season.
FULL CONTACT (7:31, MID 2, 0-0)
The Angels are hitting Byrd hard, but they've got nothing to show for it. Torii Hunter drove fly ball to the triangle, where Ellsbury made a running catch on the warning track. Kendry Morales lined to out to left field. Byrd ended the inning with a more routine, inducing a groundout to short from Howie Kendrick.
SOX SCORELESS (7:25, END 1, 0-0)
Joe Saunders held the Sox in check. Jacoby Ellsbury walked to lead off the game, another sign of his improving plate discipline. Dustin Pedroia grounded into a 4-6-3 double, Erick Aybar making a strong throw as Ellsbury barrelled into him. Bay grounded to third to end the inning.
BYRD IN THE WIND (7:19, MID 1, 0-0)
Paul Byrd got some good luck in the first inning to keep the Angels off the scoreboard. With a man on and two outs, Vladimir Guerrero crushed a ball high to left. Jason Bay backed up to the warning track. The ball appeared headed over the Monster, but a stiff wind knocked it down and Bay made the catch to end the inning. The wind is most definitely blowing in tonight.