PAPLEBON TOUCHED AGAIN (3:05, MID 6, 5-3 SOX)
The Pirates loaded the bases with no outs against Papelbon. He nearly got out of it, striking out both LaRoche and Jones. Diaz made him pay, though, shooting a two-run double down the third base line. He struck out Luis Cruz to end the inning.
Papelbon told Amalie Benjamin this morning there is nothing to the reports about a few observations that his shoulder may be hurting. Still, Papelbon had struggled (a relative term for him) in his previous two outings as well. Last Sunday, Papelbon hit the first two batters he faced and gave up a run. Two days later, he gave up a run on two hits in one inning.
PAPELBON ENTERS (2:54, END 5, 5-1 SOX)
Closer Jonathan Papelbon has entered the game. Buchholz went five innings, allowed four hits and a walk and one unearned run, which he was responsible for because of a bad pickoff thrown. He had three strikeouts and threw 70 pitches, 47 strikes. Craig Monroe greeted Papelbon with a single to right.
DREW HIT BY PITCH, LEAVES (2:45, BOT 5, 4-1 SOX)
Veal came inside on Drew and hit him with a pitch that appeared to hit Drew in the hands. Drew came out of the game, but that might be standard operating procedure now; Bay walked, then came out for pinch runner Jeff Bailey, and the other regulars are all streaming out of the game, too. We’ll find out if Drew’s hurt or not after the game.
ORTIZ OUT (2:36, BOT 5, 4-1 SOX)
Ortiz walked with one out, then exited for pinch runner Chris Carter.
BAD PICK (2:30, MID 5, 4-1 SOX)
A strong outing by Buchholz was marred only by one poor play. Diaz singled to center and Luis Cruz lined to left. Buchholz tried a quick pick-off attempt, which McAnulty didn’t seem to see coming, probably because Diaz was so close to first base. The ball flew over McAnulty’s head, and Diaz scooted to third. Morgan flied not all that deep to center, but deep enough to score Diaz. Bixler grounded to short, and the inning — and Buchholz’s outing — ended.
CHANGES (2:22, END 4, 4-0 SOX)
Angel Chavez replaces Lowrie at short, Chip Ambres replaces Ellsbury in center.
VEALING IT (2:20, END 4, 4-0 SOX)
With new Pirates pitcher Donnie Veal in the game, the Red Sox went down quietly. Varitek grounded to short, Lowrie flied to left, McAnulty walked, and Ellsbury chopped to second.
ANOTHER ESCAPE FOR BUCHHOLZ (2:12, MID 4, 4-0 SOX)
Last inning, Buchholz got out of his own jam. This inning, he got out of one brought on by bad luck. Monroe flied to shallow left-center, where Ellsbury and Bay had a sun-related miscommunication and allowed the ball to drop in. Moss flied to right, and Drew made a strong throw to the infield to keep Monroe at second. LaRoche grounded to third. Jones popped to the middle of the infield, where Lowrie squeezed the third out.
That’s 57 pitches for Buchholz, meaning he’s probably got one batter left in the fifth, like what Jon Lester did last night in Sarasota.
THREE AND OUT (2:05, END 3, 4-0 SOX)
Ortiz grounded to short, Lowell popped to short, Drew walked again, and Bay flared to shallow left, where Monroe made a diving catch.
HIT AND DONE FOR PEDROIA (1:58, BOT 3, 4-0 SOX)
Pedroia smoked a ball down the third base line, which LaRoche stabbed with his backhand. He had to hurry the throw, and it sailed into the first base dugout. Pedroia was given a single and made it to second on the error. Ivan Ochoa came on to run for Pedroia, ending his day, it seems, successfully. Ortiz is up now.
BUCHHOLZ GETS OUT OF TROUBLE (1:53, MID 3, 4-0 SOX)
Robinson Diaz singled to left, Luis Cruz popped foul, and Morgan ripped a single to right, putting runners on first and third with one out. He struck out Bixler hacking at a pitch low and away. With Hinske batting, Morgan stole second to put both runners in scoring position. With the count 2-2, Buchholz got Hinske to swing over a curveball in the dirt. Buchholz escaped, but his rising pitch count may necessitate him coming out after four innings, not five as planned.
VARI GOOD (1:40, END 2, 4-0 SOX)
J.D. Drew and Jason Bay each walked to lead off the innng, bringing up Varitek. He turned on a low fastball from Karstens, launching it deep and just inside the left field foul pole for a three-run homer. That was it for the Sox — Jed Lowrie bounced back to Karstens, McAnulty squibbed one to short, and Ellsbury squibbed one to Karstens.
‘TEK SUPPORT (1:29, MID 2, 1-0 SOX)
Buchholz set the Pirates down in order with help from catcher Jason Varitek. Brandon Moss led off the inning by popping foul by the Red Sox dugout. Varitek sprinted over, slid with his legs splayed, and stabbed at the ball, catching it just before it struck the ground. Andy LaRoche grounded to second, and Garrett Jones chopped one to first.
ELLS BELLS (1:23, END 1, 1-0 SOX)
Jacoby Ellsbury slashed a grounder down the first base line for a double, then stole third without a throw, getting an excellent jump on Karstens. Pedroia chopped out to short, good enough to score Ellsbury easily. He looked fine at the plate nad is still in the game at second, a positive sign that nothing’s wrong with his abdominal. David Ortiz skied a deep flight to the warning track in right, but Hinske caught it with his back to the wall. Mike Lowell took a bad swing at a breaking ball, popping up to first.
PEDROIA PASSES TEST (1:15, MID 1, 0-0)
Dustin Pedroia got a quick challenge in the field in his first game back. Morgan bounced the second pitch of the game to the right side. Pedroia bolted to his left, called off Paul McAnulty, and flipped to Buchholz covering. It was a pretty nice play, no problems whatsoever for Pedroia on the rare 4-1 putout. Brian Bixler grounded to third. Eric Hinske walked. Craig Monroe swung through what looked like a changeup in the dirt.
FIRST PITCH ON THE WAY (1:07, TOP 1, 0-0)
Typically ideal weather at City of Palms Parks, with a strong wind blowing out to right. Nyjer Morgan is ready get things started against Clay Buchholz, who the Sox hope to have pitch five innings today. Jeff Karstens is opposing Buchholz.