FORT MYERS — Clear skies at Fenway South and we have an AL East matchup as the Red Sox host the Rays. It's a good pitching matchup, too, as Daniel Bard faces Wade Davis.
Bard is scheduled for 3 innings. He has not faced the same batter twice in a game since he was playing Single-A ball in 2007.
So stay here for updates if you can't get the game on TV or radio. Or even if you can.
Middle of the 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Interesting inning for Bard. He struck out an overmatched Desmond Jennings on three pitches. He then threw two pitches past a swinging B.J. Upton before getting him to ground to second.
Bard then lost his fastball, walking Zobrist on four pitches. Joyce worked the count full and fouled off three pitches before breaking his bat on a 95-mph heater and grounding to first.
Bard threw 20 pitches, 12 strikes. Lots there to like, but he has to find a way to be more economical. As he goes deeper, hitters will be able to foul off that fastball and run up his pitch count.
Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Punto walked and went to third when Iglesias executed a perfect hit-and-run with a single to right. Ellsbury fanned looking. But Gonzalez and Salty walked to force in a run. Youkilis had a chance to do some damage but grounded into a double play.
Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Bard walked Vogt with one out before Johnson reached on an infield single. Brignac grounded into a force at second before Gimenez grounded to second. Bard is at 36 pitches, 22 strikes.
Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0: McDonald led off with a double into the left-field corner, his third extra-base hit in as many at-bats. McDonald tagged and went to third when Linares flied deep to center Hassan then walked. After Punto struck out, Iglesias hit a fly ball toward the triangle. Upton ran it down and was in position for the catch but missed the ball. The three-base error scored two runs.
That's a play Upton usually makes in his sleep.
Iglesias then tried to steal home and was out. Earlier in the inning, McDonald tried to score on a squeeze but Hassan fouled the ball off. That tricky Bobby V.
Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 0: Bard faced the same hitters again and didn't turn into a pumpkin. Jennings grounded out, Upton fouled out, Zobrist singled and Joyce flied to right.
That's probably it for Bard. His line: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 K. 48 pitches, 30 strikes.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Gonzalez slammed a double to the corner in right and scored on a two-out double to the gap in right by Youkilis.
Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Aceves has thrown two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. The Sox have subbed out everybody but Punto, Ellsbury and Hassan.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Lars Anderson increased his trade value with a one-out double. But Lavarnway and Middlebrooks struck out swinging. Aceves out for a third inning.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: All Alfredo Aceves does is get outs. His line tonight: 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K.
Aceves in two starts this spring: 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K. If he keeps doing this, the Red Sox will have a hard time explaining why he has to go back to the bullpen. For all the infatuation with Bard joining the rotation, Aceves has been just as good if not better so far. The question is whether the Sox can get away with having two converted relievers (and their innings limits) in the same rotation.
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Scoreless inning for Matt Albers. It's raining now at the park and a lot of the fans have headed home.
Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0: Scoreless inning for Junichi Tazawa, who worked around two base-runners. The rain, which had the grounds crew about to put the tarp on in the seventh inning, has abated.
Top of the 9th: Red Sox 5, Rays 0: Josh Kroeger had an RBI double. Clayton Mortensen coming in to try and finish the Rays off.
Game over: Mortensen loaded the bases with one out and escaped as the Sox improve to 4-2-1.