WALK-OFF WIN (4:42, END 10, 11-8 SOX)
Sorry, everyone, but the end of the game did not go as planned. With the score 7-4 in the eighth, Josh Beckett became availabe to the media in the clubhouse. I went down there and, because it appeared the game was going to end momentarily, the reporters waited for Terry Francona. And waited. And waited.
What happened: The Cards scored four in the ninth, and the Red Sox came back to tie in their half. In the 10th, which was the final inning no matter what, Chip Ambres rocked a three-run home run, and the Sox won, 11-8.
So, again, sorry for the delay. The end-of-game updates become difficult because of how we cover spring training, and we haven’t yet found the best way to correct the issue. But we’ll try. Thanks for understanding.
THE HITS (2:53, END 6, 7-4 SOX)
The Red Sox have 14 hits through six innings after a four-run sixth in which they batted around. Youkilis knocked in Pedroia with an infield single that, despite being a full swing, looked like a perfect bunt down the third base line. Drew kept the inning going by rolling one through the right side. (Both Youkilis and Drew were lifted for pinch runners.) Lowell struck out to end the inning.
Also, Saito has entered the game, signaling an end to Beckett’s day. Beckett’s line: six innings, six hits, four runs, one walk, four strikeouts, one home run, 81 pitches, 53 strikes.
HIGH TEK (2:41, BOT 6, 5-4 SOX)
After Chris Carter blooped a single to left, Varitek lined a two-run homer to left field, the opposite field because he was batting lefty against Kyle Lohse. As noted previously, the wind is blowing out to left, but the hit was still sharp and a positive sign for Varitek, who, as has been well-chronicled, is altering his lefthanded batting stance this spring. That’s his third homer of the spring. All of them have come as a lefty, and this was his first to the opposite field. Green followed with a single, which chased Lohse. Dennys Reyes is on.
CARDS TAKE LEAD (2:37, MID 6, 4-3 CARDS)
Beckett, after dominating all game, got roughed up in the sixth, allowing three runs on four hits, all singles and all consecutive. Pujols, Duncan, Ludwick, and Greene were the culprits. Not all of the singles were smashed, but they Beckett with perhaps his roughest inning of the spring.
BAY DEHYDRATED (2:23, END 5, 3-1 SOX)
Bay left the game after three innings due to dehydration. It’s nothing serious beyond today’s game.
The Red Sox scored another run in the fifth when Kevin Youkilis hit an RBI groundball, scoring Pedroia, who reached on an infield single. J.D. Drew ripped a nice, line-drive hit to right, but was stranded.
BECKETT STILL CRUISING (2:12, MID 5, 2-1 SOX)
The Cardinals just can’t make solid off of Beckett. Greene, Molina, and Rasmus went down in order.
QUIET ONE (2:07, END 4, 2-1 SOX)
Beckett rolled through the top half, striking out Pujols, Chris Duncan, and Ryan Ludwick in order. The Red Sox didn’t do much more off of Lohse. Green hit an infield single, surrounded by Carter’s strike out, Varitek’s grounder to first, and Ellsbury’s fly to center.
LOHSE MAKES QUICK WORK (1:56, END 3, 2-1 SOX)
Kevin Youkilis popped to right, Drew flied to center, Lowell ripped a one-hopper back at Lohse, who made the stab and the out. Also, Chris Carter has entered the game in left, replacing Jason Bay.
Beckett started the first by striking out Pujols swinging on a nasty breaking ball.
FREESE AND THE BREEZE (1:49, MID 3, 2-1 SOX)
Josh Beckett lost his shutout when St. Louis third baseman David Freese launched a high home run, which was probably helped (and possibly created) by the stiff wind headed out to left. No other batters reached base for the Cards.
GREEN PLAY (1:41, BOT 2, 2-0 SOX)
Khalil Greene got the first hit off of Beckett, a two-out, infield chopper of a single that Pedroia stabbed but had no chance to nab the speedy Greene. Yadier Molina roped a hard shot to Green’s left that took a wicked hop. Green, falling to his left, made a Tim Thomas-quality glovehand swipe and snared the ball, then flipped to Pedroia for the third out. Green couldn’t keep it going at the plate; he struck out after Jason Varitek led off with a single up the middle. Ellsbury nailed a single after Green.
LEAVING ‘EM LOADED (1:29, END 1, 2-0 SOX)
That ended quick. Drew lined to left, and Mike Lowell followed with a walk to load the bases. Jason Bay rolled into a 6-4-3 double play, and Lohse escaped what could have become a monster inning for the Sox.
HIT PARADE (1:24, BOT 1, 2-0 SOX)
The first four Red Sox batters have reached base and Boston is taking it to the Cardinals early. Jacoby Ellsbury started it off with by reaching on an error by pitcher Kyle Lohse. Dustin Pedroia creamed a high-and-inside fastball (how many MVPs do you know that can’t hit that pitch?) that nearly put a hole in the leftfield fence. After it rolled by leftfielder Cody Rasmus, Ellsbury sped home easily and Pedroia went into second. David Ortiz ripped a single into the shift to score Pedroia. Youkilis walked, putting runners on first and second for J.D. Drew, who’s up now.
BECKETT ROLLS (1:15, MID 1, 0-0)
Beckett sits down a strong Cardinals lineup in order. Schumaker and Rick Ankiel grounded to second, followed by a pop up to Nick Green at short by The Great Albert Pujols.
A FRIGHTENING FIRST PITCH (1:06, TOP 1, 0-0)
Josh Beckett is on the hill ready to fire the first pitch to Skip Schumaker. The actual first pitch was thrown by author/Red Sox fan Stephen King, who who a Matsuzaka t-shirt jersey, jeans, and white sneakers.