SOX LOSE AGAIN (10:28, END 9, 6-2 RAYS)
The Red Sox lost their second straight at Tropicana Field and for the third time in four games. In the ninth, Ellsbury, Pedroia, and Ortiz went in order agaist righthander Joe Nelson, Ortiz striking out on an ugly half swing. Starter Justin Masterson pitched six innings, five of them brilliant. But the fifth inning unraveled those strong frames — the Rays scored six runs, four on a grand slam by Evan Longoria. The Sox managed seven hits but couldn’t string enough of them together.
WHEELER MOWS ‘EM DOWN (10:14, MID 8, 6-2)
The Red Sox are down to their last three outs to avoid a second consecutive loss. Wheeler set down Lowell, who flied out, and Varitek and Lugo, who both struck out, in order. Ramon Ramirez and his 0.00 ERA are on for the eighth.
DELCARMEN KEEPS SOX IN IT (10:08, END 7, 6-2)
Delcarmen gave up a single to Crawford and a walk to Longoria with one out, but he got out of the inning and maintained his season-long streak of not allowing an earned run. He struck out Pena looking at a 94-mph fastball, and Burrell drilled one to right, but it hung up just long enough for Drew to track it down on the warning track.
BAY CAN’T DELIVER (9:51, MID 7, 6-2 RAYS)
Wheeler won the battle with Bay, striking him on a 2-2 fastball that seemed to be pretty much down the middle. Now Delcarmen is on, replacing Masterson.
SOX THREATENING WITH TWO OUT (9:46, TOP 7, 6-2 RAYS)
Youkilis and Drew both walked with two outs, bringing Joe Maddon out of the dugout to call on righthander Dan Wheeler to face Jason Bay. This could be a big moment if the Sox are to get back into this game.
DEEP SIX (9:40, TOP 7, 6-2 RAYS)
Masterson got through six innings, an important step for the Sox’ tired bullpen. He threw 105 pitches, meaning his night could be over. But now Terry Francona won’t have to stretch his bullpen a third consecutive night.
Ortiz killed a potential rally by grounding into an unconventional 6-5-3 double play with a shift on after Pedroia led off with a single, his third hit tonight, down the first base line.
MASTERSON’S NIGHT FALLS APART (9:28, BOT 6, 6-2 RAYS)
Apologies for the lack of updates. There was a wireless internet outage at Tropicana Field for a while there. The Rays took control of the game with a six-run fifth, fueled by back-to-back home runs — a grand slam by Evan Longoria and a solo shot by Carlos Pena.
The Red Sox had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the fifth when Youkilis doubled with two outs and Drew followed with a single to right to score him. The Red Sox threatened in the sixth and knocked Sonnanstine out of the game with two outs, but J.P. Howell got out of the inning to keep the Rays’ lead at four.
Now, Gabe Gross has singled up the middle to lead off the sixth, with Masterson still on the mound. Manny Delcarmen is warming up, as he was last inning.
FRUSTRATION FOR ELLSBURY (8:40, MID 4, 1-0 SOX)
The Sox’ fourth ended suddenly. First, Varitek struck out. Lugo followed with a single to left. Ellsbury ripped a line drive off of Sonnanstine, but it zipped straight at Pena at first. He snared the ball and stepped on first for an easy double play, nothing Lugo could have done. Ellsbury tossed his bat with one hand and slapped/caught it with the other.
QUICK WORK FOR MASTERSON (8:34, END 3, 1-0 SOX)
Masterson shut down the Rays in order using just nine pitches. Jason Bartlett popped up to first. Upton struck looking on three pitches, the third a slider on the outside corner. Crawford flied out to left on the first pitch he saw.
BAY WALKS IN A RUN (8:28, TOP 3, 1-0 SOX)
The Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs on a Pedroia single the other way, a smoked Youkilis double to left, and a walk by Drew sandwiched around Ortiz’s fly to center and Ellsbury hard groundout to first. Bay came up and looked at four pitches from Sonnanstine, enough to give the Sox the first run of the night, Lowell followed with a grounder to short, ending the threat and leaving the bases loaded. The Sox have to be happy with the lead, but they really could/should have gotten more.
MASTERSON GETS WILD, GETS OUT (8:17, END 2, 0-0)
Masterson looked dominant to start the second, getting Carlos Pena to ground out into the shift at Pedroia in shallow right and striking out Pat Burrell. But Gabe Gross walked on five pitches, and then Masterson hit Akninori Iwamura in the middle of the back. He started Navarro with a 3-0 count, then regrouped. Navarro squibbed a 3-1 changeup back at Masterson, who made a spinning, backhand stab and threw easily to first.
SOX STRAND A PAIR (8:07, MID 2, 0-0)
The Sox are getting to Sonnanstine, but they’re not pushing runs across. Rays manager Joe Maddon put on an Ortizian shift for Drew, and hit a grounder at third baseman Longoria, who was playing just to left of second. Bay walked, and Lowell singled up the middle, put two men on with one out. Jason Varitek flied to right. Julio Lugo nearly hit a three-run home run, but his drive to left died and fell into the glove of Crawford.
MASTERSON SHARP (7:59, END 1, 0-0)
Masterson rolled through the first despite a leadoff single by B.J. Upton. Masterson worked hard to keep Upton close at first, holding the ball for long lengths and firing to first three times. Still, Upton took off on a 3-2 pitch to Crawford. He struck out swinging, but Upton slid into second just ahead of Julio Lugo’s tag. Upton tried to steal with Evan Longoria up, by Varitek threw him out by several steps. Longoria eventually struck out looking at a nasty, 96-mph heater on the outside corner.
STRONG START, SORT OF (7:46, TOP 1, 0-0)
In the first inning, the Red Sox already have as many as base runners against Andy Sonnanstine as they managed all night against Matt Garza — but they still haven’t capitalized with a run. Dustin Pedroia slapped a one-out single up the middle after Jacoby Ellsbury was retired. David Ortiz followed with a walk. With Kevin Youkilis at the plate, Sonnanstine bounced a ball at the plate. Pedroia took off for third, but the ball bounced up, right to Dioner Navarro, who threw out Pedroia at the plate. Youkilis flied out to right, and now here comes Justin Masterson.