Game over: Red Sox 4, Cubs 3 Alfredo Aceves came on to close out the game to record his 16th save. He allowed a leadoff single to pinch hitter Steve Clevenger, struck out pinch-hitter Bryan LaHair on a 2-2 fastball and then threw a 5-4-3 double-play ball to Welington Castillo. The game was played in 3:06.
Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Cubs 3: The Sox had Mike Aviles on base with nobody out, but pinch-hitter Nick Punto couldn’t advance the runner and struck out. Aviles was caught stealing on a great backhanded scoop of Corpas’ pitch and bullet throw to second base by catcher Welington Castillo. Podsednik was hit by a pitch, but Pedroia made it 0-for-5 when he popped out to second base to end the inning.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 4, Cubs 3: Vicente Padilla continues to be dominant. He came on and elevated his fastball to unhittable status as he struck out two of three batters he faced. Daniel Nava made a terrific shoestring catch on Darwin Barney’s bid for a hit. Umpires huddled on the play after Dale Sveum came out to argue that Nava trapped it, but the call was upheld.
Top 8th: Red Sox 4, Cubs 3: The Red Sox failed to add to their lead. Adrian Gonzalez drew a walk against reliever Manny Corpas, but that was it.
Bottom of 7th: Red Sox 4, Cubs 3: Nothing comes easy for the Red Sox. After Jeff Baker doubled and Castillo walked, Luis Valbuena hit a three-run bomb to left field. Lester struck out David DeJesus on a 3-2 fastball down the middle, but that was his last batter. Valentine called in Scott Atchison to get Reed Johnson.
Top 7th: Red Sox 4, Cubs 0: Scott Podsednik continues his impressive run with a single to center scoring Mike Aviles, who started the inning with a double. Dustin Pedroia is 0-for-4 with four ground outs. David Ortiz had Podsednik at third with two outs and Wells got Ortiz to fly out to center.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 3, Cubs 0: Ball really found Middlebrooks in this inning. With two outs, Darwin’s ground ball was hit hard but Middlebrooks made a nice play to backhand it, but his throw was late. Castro also reached on an infield hit to third that Middlebrooks probably should have had. And then Alfonso Soriano did Middlebrooks a favor. His hard-hit liner to third was bobbled by Middlebrooks, who actually dropped the ball. But Middlebrooks had ample time to recover because Soriano watched the whole scene from the batters box. Soriano was booed heavily by Cubs fans. By the way, there are storms in the Cook County area and the winds are really whipping up.
Top 6th: Red Sox 3, Cubs 0: Samardzija finally tired and walked both Ortiz and Saltalamacchia before exiting. Will Middlebrooks singled to center to score the third run, but Salty ran into an out with poor base-running between second and third.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 2, Cubs 0: Lester struck out the side. He’s pitching well, but the Red Sox would be wise to add to their lead. Lester has pitched 9.2 innings from the seventh inning on this season and has allowed five runs so there is some diminishing returns at work as he gets deeper into the game.
Top 5th: Red Sox 2, Cubs 0: Samardzija is throwing 98 mph at times with a good changeup.He’d struck out five straight in the fourth and fifth. He retired the side in the fifth with Aviles and Lester striking out and Podsednik tapping back to the mound.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 2, Cubs 0: Starlin Castro reached on a Will Middlebrooks throwing error, but was erased on a caught stealing on a pinpoint throw by Saltalamacchia.
Top 4th: Red Sox 2, Cubs 0: Jarrod Saltalamacchia, inserted in the clean-up spot, smacked a two-run homer to right to score Ortiz, who doubles to right.
Bottom 3rd: Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: Lester had a strong inning as the bottom of the Cubs’ order and leadoff man Johnson (strikeout) went down.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: A two-out single by Scott Podsednik was wasted as Dustin Pedroia grounded out to end the inning off Cubs starter Jeff Samardzjia, who was an outstanding end for Charlie Weis at Notre Dame.
Bottom 2nd:Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: Jeff Baker reached on an infield single off Lester, but Lester buckled down and retired the next two hitters.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: The Sox went down in order with Adrian Gonzalez hitting a long drive to center field that was caught in front of the wall.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: With Jon Lester on the mound. Reed Johnson singled to right, advanced to second on Darwin Barney’s ground ball to third. Starlin Astros then lined out on a spectacular diving catch by Dustin Pedroia, who doubled up the runner at second base.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Cubs 0: David Ortiz walked with two outs and then we witnessed some of the wost baserunning you’ll ever see. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, heating cleanup, drove a ball to deep right for a double. Ortiz was half-running around the bases with two outs as he kept looking over his shoulder and then tried to turn it on as he approached third base. Johnson hit cutoff man shortstop Starlin Castros, who fired the relay to the plate and got Ortiz before he even got to the plate.
Pre-game: John Henry, Tom Werner. Larry Lucchino, Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Terry Francona all in the same building. We’ll be with you shortly for live updates of the game.