Final: Rays 8, Red Sox 6 Aceves allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning, the final two on a home run by Robinson Chirinos. Tough loss.
Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 6, Rays 5
Two two-out home runs,by Oscar Tejeda and Drew Sutton, gave the Red Sox the lead.
Top of the 9th: Rays 5, Red Sox 4
Two more scoreless innings for Aceves. He has not allowed an earned run in seven innings this spring. Hmmmm.
Back later with a report from Terry Francona.
Middle of the 8th: Rays 5, Red Sox 4
Mike Cameron (2 for 4) had a single but that was it for the Sox. Aceves out for another inning.
Top of the 8th: Rays 5, Red Sox 4
Sorry for the gap in updates. Went down to the clubhouse to interview Matsuzaka and Crawford. Matsuzaka has a new interpreter and the Q&A was a little hard to follow. What was clear is that Matsuzaka knows he's not pitching well but he's not too worried about it.
Nate Spears (3 for 3) had a two-run triple in the sixth inning and Tim Federowicz an RBI single.
Andrew Miller, Daniel Bard and Alfredo Aceves have been terrific in relief. Their line: 3.1 IP,2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K.
Middle of the 6th: Rays 5, Red Sox 1
Kalish and Spears singled. After a double steal, Tejede drove in a run with a grounder. Iglesias singled with two outs before Ellsbury flied to left.
Top of the 5th: Rays 5, Red Sox 0
Matsuzaka was lifted after getting two outs. His line: 3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR. 62 pitches, 34 strikes.
Matsuzaka threw only 9 strikes in his first 24 pitches. Then 25 of the next 38. But lots of those were hit hard, too. Can't categorize this as anything but disappointing.
His line this spring: 8.1 IP, 13 H, 13 R, 11 ER, 5 BB, 4 K. That's an ERA of 11.88. Unless he is injured, he'll start the season as the No. 5 starter. Not sure what else the Red Sox can do at this point. But how long will that leash extend in the season?
Middle of the 4th: Rays 5, Red Sox 0
1-2-3 inning for Sonnanstine. Dice-K back for more, having thrown 52 pitches.
Top of the 4th: Rays 5, Red Sox 0
More ugliness for Matsuzaka. He fell behind Zobrist 3-1 and allowed a double to the gap in right. Damon then jumped on the next pitch for an RBI double. Joyce added an RBI single later in the inning after getting ahead in the count.
Matsuzaka has allowed five hits, three for extra bases. He has thrown 52 pitches, 28 of them strikes.
Middle of the 3rd: Rays 3, Red Sox 0
Iglesias had a single but Ellsbury grounded into a double play.
Top of the 3rd: Rays 3, Red Sox 0
Matsuzaka got two outs in three pitches. So he's settling down ... then came a 1-2 pitch to John Jaso that was sent over the wall in right, the bullpen and a few rows of fans. It was a bomb.
7 innings, 9 hits, 9 earned runs, 5 walks, 2 strikeouts for Matsuzaka this spring. Terry Francona said before the game that the stats are meaningless and he's getting ready for the season. He's right. But the gulf between the first four starters and Matsuzaka is huge.
Middle of the 2nd: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Spears had a two-out single but Hoover grounded into a force.
Top of the 2nd: Rays 2, Red Sox 0
Matsuzaka walked the first two batters on 11 pitches. He then fell behind Longoria 3-1 before putting a fastball on a tee that turned into an RBI single.
Damon hustled to third and scored on a sac fly by Joyce as Kalish made a nice sliding catch. Upton grounded into a double play. Matsuzaka threw 23 pitches in the inning.
Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Ellsbury struck out, Crawford lined softly to third and Cameron grounded to short.
There were far more cheers than boos for Crawford when he came to the plate. ... Cameron ran hard to first base when he grounded out and nearly beat the throw. Now Dice-K takes the mound.
Pre-game: Overcast here at Charlotte Sports Park but the sun is trying to break through the clouds. We're starting on time, too.
Hang out for inning-by-inning (more or less) updates and, please, feel free to comment.