IT’S OVER (1:37, END 11, 9-8 RAYS)
Upton hit a sacrifice fly just inside the line to right. Drew threw a two-hopper up the line, and Perez slid in safely.
Timlin gets the loss, Price the win.
WINNING RUN 90 FEET AWAY (1:33, BOT 11, 8-8)
The Rays attempted a double steal, which worked out when Bartlett chopped to third — Youkilis’s only play was throwing to first. Timlin intentionally walked Iwamura to set up a force at home with Upton coming to the plate.
FARRELL EJECTED, WINNING RUN IN SCORING POSITION (1:30, BOT 11, 8-8)
Timlin walked Dioner Navarro, who left in favor of pinch runner Fernando Perez. Zobrist tried bunting three times, pulling back each instance. On the third, John Farrell argued and got rung by Sam Holbrook. Timlin lost Zobrist. Two men on, none out.
PRICE IS RIGHT (1:21, MID 11, 8-8)
First, these were probably not the words you wanted to hear: Mike Timlin is the new pitcher.
Now, what just happened. Price walked Drew, then struck out Kotsay on a 95-mph fastball. Up came Crisp, who was already 3 for 5 with two doubles on the night. Price got him to ground to third, and Longoria tossed to second for a force out. The Sox had two chances to drive in the go-ahead run and couldn’t do it.
PRICE CHECK (1:11, TOP 11, 8-8)
The Dan Wheeler show is over, 3 1/3 innings after it started. David Price is coming on. Wheeler got one out (Jason Bay) but then walked Lowrie. Price, a lefty, will face Drew with one out and a man on first.
Also, both Mike Timlin and Paul Byrd are warming for Boston.
MAKE IT 22 (1:03, END 10, 8-8)
Longoria smoked the first pitch of the inning down the line. Youkilis had him played well. He fumbled the ball briefly, but Longoria hit it hard enough that Youkilis had plenty of time to throw him out. Crawford drilled a pitch right back at Papelbon. It deflected hard off his right hip and toward Pedroia at second. He coralled the ball tossed to Kotsay for the out. Aybar flied to right on a 1-2 pitch. Inning over. To the 11th.
Holy Lord, Dan Wheeler is coming out for a fourth inning! David Price, the first overall choice of the 2007 draft, is warming up.
WHEELER MANS UP (12:51, MID 10, 8-8)
Dan Wheeler had already pitched two full innings, but he came out for the 10th, anyway, to face Pedroia, Ortiz, and Youkilis, only three of the most dangerous hitters in the league. He mowed through them with stunning efficiency: Pedroia looked at an outside 87-mph fastball for strike three, Ortiz popped to very shallow center, and Youkilis tore the cover off a fastball. But Upton drifted back and snagged a ball that may have left seam marks on his left hand.
Papelbon is still out there, putting his scoreless streak and the game on the line against Longoria, Crawford, and Aybar.
NAILS (12:43, END 9, 8-8)
Make it 21 full postseason innings without an earned run allowed. Papelbon added one out to his record, and it was a big one. He blazed a fastball by Pena, sending the game to extra innings and stranding Iwamura.
A note on why Francona went with Papelbon there: Pena was 1 for 3 with a homer off of Papelbon, but he was 3 for 5 with a homer off Masterson.
HERE COMES PAPELBON (12:35, BOT 9, 8-8)
Masterson did his job for the most part, getting Bartlett to ground out, surrendering an infield hit to second base by Iwamura, and striking out Upton. Now Papelbon is on to face Carlos Pena with two outs and Iwamura on first. With Iwamura’s speed, a double would probably win the game.
ELLSBURY’S LONG NIGHT GETS LONGER (12:23, MID 9, 8-8)
Ellsbury came to the plate 0 for 5 and armed with an opportunity to make that wholly irrelevant. Crisp had just knocked a ground-rule double, his third hit of the game, over the center field wall with two outs. Ellsbury’s first hit had a chance to be the one that gave the Red Sox the lead and a chance at an improbable victory.
It never came. Ellsbury got down 1-2, took an exceedingly close pitch for ball two, then struck out on an 88-mph fastball.
Drew led off and submitted a good at-bat but lined sharply to center. Kotsay struck out swinging at an 87-mph fastball. And then Crisp came up, his double nothing but a tease.
Masterson is in for Boston, his job to ensure extra innings. Ross is catching. Drew is in right. Ellsbury is out.
OKAJIMA STAYS STRONG (12:12, END 8, 8-8)
Six up, six down for Okajima. He retired Aybar, Navarro, and pinch hitter Ben Zobrist without issue. Papelbon and Justin Masterson are both ready for the ninth.
How do you like this? J.D. Drew is on deck, ready to pinch hit for Varitek.
ALMOST FOR LOWRIE (11:59, MID 8, 8-8)
Lowrie rocketed a line drive to center, but Upton jogged over a step or two and grabbed it, reaching slightly over his head. Aybar, Navarro, and Gross are due up.
CRAZY EIGHTS (11:54, TOP 8, 8-8)
Of all the ways the Red Sox could tie the score, this had to be the least likely. Youkilis grounded the second pitch Wheeler threw, a fastball, to Bartlett at short. Bartlett flipped to Iwamura, who made a flawless turn and nailed Youkilis by half a step. Pedroia went to third. Three pitches later, Wheeler misfired well over Navarro’s head, and the ball bounced to the backstop. Pedroia bolted home to make it 8-8. Bay eventually walked, and Lowrie is now up.
MILLER DONE (11:49, TOP 8, 8-7 RAYS)
Miller could not do his job — he walked Ortiz and forced the tying run into scoring position with no outs. Bay and Youkilis — two of the hottest hitters on this big, green planet — are due up next. The task falls to Dan Wheeler.
Youkilis, Pedroia, and Bay tonight are 9 for 12 with all seven RBIs. Crisp has the other two hits.
MILLER IN (11:43, TOP 8, 8-7 RAYS)
Pedroia, who had two hits in the whole playoffs before tonight, knocked his third hit of the game, a single to right, to send Bradford into the clubhouse. Joe Maddon summoned Trever Miller to face Ortiz with no outs.
RAYS, AT LAST, GO IN ORDER (11:37, END 7, 8-7 RAYS)
For the first time tonight, the Rays went 1-2-3. It was still eventful. Carlos Pena, after attempting to bunt away from the shift, sent a rocket down the first base line, but Kotsay snared it. Longoria, alredy two doubles and a homer under his belt, ripped a liner to left that found Bay’s glove. Lowrie ranged to his left and made a nice play on Crawford’s grounder.
Pedroia is leading off against Bradford. Dan Wheeler and Trever Miller are both warming.
SOX STILL TRAIL, OKAJIMA IN (11:28, MID 7, 8-7 RAYS)
After a rocky entrance last inning, Chad Bradford kept the Sox off the board and kept the Rays lead at one. Varitek struck out looking at a Bradford slider that the radar gun clocked at 66 miles per hour. Seriously. Kotsay flied high to center. Crisp hit one back at Bradford, and it deflected off his glove for an infield single.
Bradford worked Ellsbury to 3-2. He threw him a 79-mph sinker. Ellsbury made good contact, but the ball skidded right into Bradford’s glove, and he made the easy throw to first.
Hideki Okajima has replaced Delcarmen, who again provided some excellent work out of the bullpen.
A ZERO! (11:15, END 6, 8-7 RAYS)
Is Manny Delcarmen becoming the best reliever outside of Jonathan Papelbon the Red Sox have? In his past 26 2/3 innings, he has allowed one earned run, and he’s yet to give one up in the playoffs. When the Sox needed someone — anyone — to calm down this Rays lineup, Delcarmen did so with little trouble. Gross tapped back to him and he made a nice, turnaround throw. Bartlett rolled an infield single to shortstop. Iwamura grounded to first. Delcarmen struck out Upton looking at a pitch on the outside corner.
SOX BACK ON BOARD (11:05, MID 6, 8-7 RAYS)
Something tells me the Rays’ lead — now one run — might not be all that safe. Bradford immediately allowed a run. Youkilis smacked a single — his sixth already this series — into left field, putting two men on for Bay. Bradford started Bay with a ball, Bay fouled a ball off, and then Bay ripped a single to center, scoring Pedroia. Youkilis scampered to third on Upton’s throw home.
Lowrie could not give the Sox the lead, though, flying weakly to center. Rays’ turn.
BRADFORD IN FOR HOWELL (10:58, TOP 6, 8-6 RAYS)
Ortiz looked at Howell’s final pitch for strike three, and submariner Chad Bradford entered. There are two outs, and Dustin Pedroia, who walked, is on first with Youkilis coming to the plate.
DELCARMEN GETS OUT OF IT (10:48, END 5, 8-6 RAYS)
Take a breath after that fifth inning. Wow. Delcarmen got two fly balls to get out of the inning with the Sox still down two.
Some perspective on Beckett’s dreadful start: Only nine other starters have thrown 4 1/3 innings or less and allowed at least eight runs in playoff history. Beckett’s start could be fairly labeled one of the worst in postseason history. And yet his team is down two runs.
LONGORIA KOs BECKETT, CRAWFORD KOs LOPEZ (10:39, BOT 5, 8-6 RAYS)
Fittingly, the man who finally knocked out Beckett was Longoria, who smoked a home run and two doubles off Beckett. The final hit was a rocket double down the left field line and into the corner that scored Pena from first. Cut-off man Lowrie fired home despite Pena’s easy slide into home plate, allowing Longoria to scoot to third.
Lopez has come in, and a few commenters believe — even before Longoria’s hit — that it’s a few batters too late. Beckett was absolutely shelled. He allowed nine hits, six for extra bases.
Lopez’s first pitch was slapped to right by Crawford, who drove in Longoria. That run is credited to Beckett, who allowed eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Lopez threw only that pitch. Delcarmen has entered. We aren’t out of the fifth, and we’ve seen seven homers and six pitchers. What a wild night.
NO QUIT IN THE RAYS (10:33, BOT 5, 6-6)
It seemed for a moment the extended top of the inning had helped Beckett, but no. Beckett blazed a 92-mph pitch over the inside corner, and Iwamura could only watch for strike three. But then he walked Upton, who stole second on a 2-2 ball to Pena. On the full count, Pena ripped a single through the Sox’ infield shift to right. Upton cruised around third, and he hadn’t even touched the bag when Ellsbury scooped the ball. His speed, though, allowed him to easily beat Ellsbury’s multiple-hop throw home.
Farrell came out for a chat, but Beckett — who has thrown 90 pitches — remains in the game with Lopez and Delcarmen still up.
HOWELL RESTORES ORDER (10:20, MID 5, 6-5 SOX)
How’s that for half of a playoff game? Howell got out of the inning when Kotsay flied to the right field warning track and Crisp struck out. Beckett received about a 25-minute break between innings. It will be interesting to see how or if the rest affects his performance. Lopez and Manny Delcarmen are both warming up as the inning begins.
BALFOUR GETS WILD, LEAVES (10:13, TOP 5, 6-5 SOX)
Howell is entering for Balfour, who walked Lowrie and Varitek after he surrendered Bay’s blast. One of the best relievers in the AL this season, Balfour had an awful and short night. There’s one out, men on first and second for Kotsay.
The Red Sox are one homer away from tying the record for dingers in a playoff game; five teams have hit five in one game. The last time it happened? The Red Sox gave up five in the 2005 ALDS to the White Sox.
GONE BAY GONE (10:05, TOP 5, 6-5 SOX)
Wow wow wow. Bay, the first batter Grant Balfour faced, obliterated a pitch to left field, another monster homer and the third home run in four Red Sox at-bats. It’s a laser show inside Tropicana Field. J.P. Howell is warming.
The seven home runs combined sets a new ALCS and ties the CS record. And we’re only in the fifth.
ANOTHER HOMER, ANOTHER PITCHER (9:59, TOP 5, 5-5)
Youkilis crushed the game’s sixth home run, a laser to left that took about 1.4 seconds to leave the yard. Kazmir’s third meatball forced him to leave early, and Grant Balfour has come into the game. Wild, wild game so far.
PEDROIA DOES IT AGAIN (9:55, TOP 5, 5-4 RAYS)
Say goodbye to that Dustin Pedroia playoff slump. He just led off with another home run, cutting the lead in half and inching Kazmir closer to the showers. He’s thrown 90 pitches now. The homer went to left, into the first few seats.
BOMBS AWAY (9:45, BOT 4, 5-3 RAYS)
Floyd led off with a monster home run to centerfield, crushing a 1-1 fastball right down the pipe about 420 feet. Never a doubt. Beckett has not given up three home runs in a game May 18 this year in Milwaukee.
Lopez started warming again before Floyd circled the bases. Navarro follwed a deep shot to right center that nearly made the warning track.
Last postseason, Beckett gave up four runs in 30 innings. So far this year, he’s allowed nine runs in 8 1/3 innings.
CRISP DOUBLES, GETS STRANDED (9:38, MID 4, 4-3 RAYS)
Kazmir remains in the game, and he scrapped enough to keep the lead for the Rays. Varitek popped weakly to first in foul territory. Kotsay lined to Iwamura at second. Crisp roped a double to right center. Ellsbury, with a chance to tie the score, popped to shallow left, where Bartlett made an easy catch. Ellsbury has taken some ugly swings off Kazmir tonight. Kazmir has thrown 85 pitches.
No one is warming in the Sox bullpen as Beckett prepares for the fourth.
RAYS LEAD, SOX BULLPEN STIRS (9:28, END 3, 4-3 RAYS)
Crawford crushed a liner to left, a single that scored Longoria easily. Javier Lopez started throwing in the ‘pen, but Beckett never even threw a pitch to Floyd. He picked off Crawford, who was simply caught sleeping.
The jury, it seems, is in: Beckett throwing like the Beckett of Octobers past is a distant hope.
UPTON GOES DEEP (9:24, BOT 3, 3-3)
For the second time, the Rays have responded immediately to a Red Sox rally. Upton destroyed 2-0, 89-mph cutter that Beckett left slightly inside and up over the plate. The ball went about 25 rows deep in left, and almost nicked the D Ring catwalk on the way down. What a bomb. And a huge hit for the Rays psychologically.
Beckett retired Pena, but then Longoria smoked a hard double to left. Crawford is up with two outs.
Beckett has been really sharp tonight at times — he struck out the side last inning — but the Rays better hitters have drilled him. He doesn’t look himself overall. He’s been a little deliberate — not as bad as his last start, but not as crisp as usual. His results, certainly, are not Becketarian by any means.
RED SOX GO QUIETLY (9:16, MID 3, 3-2 SOX)
Kazmir retired the Red Sox in order after Ortiz’s walk, but it wasn’t all that smooth. Youkilis drove a 2-2 fastball to the warning track in right. Bay followed with another deep fly to right, not as hard or as deep as Youkilis’s, but struck pretty well. Lowrie ended the inning with a standard fly, again to right. Chad Bradford was warming up when the inning ended. Kazmir has now thrown 71 pitches.
YARD WORK FOR PEDROIA (9:10, TOP 3, 3-2 SOX)
The Red Sox took the lead on Pedroia’s home run to lead off the second, his third hit of the postseason. Pedroia tagged a 3-2, 91-mph tailing fastball over the plate, yanking it into the first row in left field. A young fan made a nice, nonchalant grab and then threw the ball back toward the infield.
Ortiz just walked. Kazmir’s chances for lasting much longer seem slim. He’s now thrown 62 pitches and hasn’t recorded an out in the second with Youkilis batting.
BECKETT STRONG IN THE SECOND (9:03, END 2, 2-2)
Beckett struck out Cliff Floyd looking at a 3-2, low 92-mph fastball that had some nice late, sinking action. Beckett threw a similar pitch on 2-1 to Dioner Navarro, but it stayed up just a bit and Navarro laced it to left, the opposite field, for a single. Beckett then struck out Gabe Gross (which is not hard to do) and ended the second by striking out Jason Barlett looking at another 92-mph heater. He’s spotting his pitches pretty well — even the homer by Longoria wasn’t a bad pitch.
KAZMIR SETTLES (8:50, MID 2, 2-2)
After a rocky first inning, Kazmir carved the Red Sox 1-2-3. Mark Kotsay drilled a liner a to center, but right at Upton. Coco Crisp grounded to short, and Ellsbury popped to shallow center.
As that was a big one for Kazmir, this is huge for Beckett. TBS showed him having an animated — not heated, mind you, just animated — talk with pitching coach John Farrell on the bench.
RAYS RESPOND (8:40, END 1, 2-2)
The Rays looked to be in bad, bad shape. My, how fast that has changed. With two outs, Carlos Pena smacked a double to the opposite field. Evan Longoria then blasted a 3-1, 87-mph cut fastball from Josh Beckett over the left field fence. It was not even a bad pitch. Longoria had to reach down and get it, and he yanked it right out of the field.
Beckett is throwing about 93-mph on the gun. Better than his last start, not quite vintage. He got Carl Crawford to ground to short. That was an enormous inning for the Rays — the crowd is back in it, and, more importantly, so are they. This is a big inning for Kazmir.
GREAT START FOR SOX (8:26, MID 1, 2-0)
Jason Varitek struck out to end the first, but not before Bay’s double gave the Sox an early lead. They also moved Kazmir pretty close to the ropes — he needed a whopping 38 pitches to get out of the first.
BAY STRIKES FAST (8:24, TOP 1, 2-0 SOX)
Jason Bay continued his excellent postseason, and the Red Sox continued their playoff trend of scoring with two outs. After Scott Kazmir struck out Jacoby Ellsbury and got Dustin Pedroia, who entered 14 for 25 in his career against Kazmir, to fly to center, the Red Sox got four straight base runners and scored a pair of runs.
David Ortiz walked. Kevin Youkilis lined a hard single to left. Youkilis received a loud, extended “Yooouuuukkk” cheer, which didn’t happen as emphactically on any of his three hits last night. And then Bay pummelled a double off the left field wall, scoring both Ortiz and Youkilis. Jed Lowrie walked, and there are two outs.
With two outs this playoffs, the Red Sox have scored 16 of their 22 runs and are batting .333.
B.K. JACKSON OWNS (8:12, TOP 1, 0-0)
Saxophone player B.K. Jackson, a 17-year-old from this area, played the national anthem tonight, as he did in Game 1. What an immense pleasure. He played the best anthem I’ve personally seen at a sporting event. And then Dick Vitale tossed the first pitch.