AN EPIC AT BAT, A RED SOX WIN (7:07, END 9, 5-4 SOX)
Papelbon needed 10 pitches, but he bailed himself out. He started Kendrick, an excellent fastball hitter, with an 84-mph slider for strike one. He came back with the same exact pitch, which Kendrick watched again for strike two. On 0-2, Papelbon fired a fastball, which Kendrick fouled back. Papelbon tried another fastball; Kendrick fouled it back again. Another fastball; another foul straight back. Papelbon tried another slider, and Kendrick fouled that back. Papelbon went back to the fastball — another foul back to the net. Papelbon tried a splitter. Guess what? Fouled back. The crowd chanted “How-ie!” Papelbon threw a fastball. Kendrick fouled it off AGAIN. Finally, on Papelbon’s 39th pitch of the day and 10th of the at bat, a 96-mph fastball, Kendrick laced one to right. Baldelli made the catch of the line, and Papelbon had escaped. What a game.
BASES LOADED, TWO OUTS (6:59, BOT 9, 5-4 SOX)
Aybar got down 0-2 and then fouled off a couple pitches. He watched ball one go by in the dirt, then swung at an 89-mph splitter in the dirt for strike three. Figgins walked on four pitches, and Farrell came out to chat with Papelbon and Varitek. Howie Kendrick will decide the game.
ANGELS THREATENING (6:53, BOT 9, 5-4 SOX)
Morales doubled the other way, into the the rightfield corner, putting the tying run in scoring position with no outs. Reggie Willits replaced him as a pinch runner. Rivera grounded to shortstop, bringing up Napoli, who walked. There is one out with Aybar at the plate.
HUNTER TAKES PAPELBON DEEP (6:44, TOP 9, 5-4 SOX)
Good thing for the Red Sox that Bay hit his second homer. Hunter smashed a high fastball for an opposite field home run, slicing Boston’s lead to one. Papelbon is facing Morales with no outs.
BAY’S DAY (6:38, TOP 9, 5-3 SOX)
Bay gave Papelbon some breathing for the ninth with a one-out solo home run. He drove a 2-2 pitch well into the seats in left. Bay, who also gave the Sox the lead with a two-run homer in the seventh, now has 13 games with multiple home runs in his career.
PAPELBON GETS HIS MAN (6:32, END 8, 4-3 SOX)
Guerrero took a wicked hack at Papelbon’s first pitch, a 93-mph fastball. He got a good piece of his second pitch, another 93-mph fastball, but he lined it to left.
Righthander Justin Speier is in for the Angels. If it gets to Lowrie, watch for Chris Carter possibly appearing as a pinch hitter.
RAMIREZ DONE (6:28, BOT 8, 4-3 SOX)
Jonathan Papelbon will have a chance for a four-out save, thanks to Ramriez. Kendrick launched a deep fly ball to the warning track to lead off, but Ellsbury ranged to his left and caught it. Abreu hit a hard ground to first, where Youkilis made a diving stop, but the ball trickled away. Pedroia was right there. He scooped the ball and rifled to first, where Ramirez made an athletic stretch and just barely got Abreu. Now, Papelbon is in.
RAMIREZ STAYS IN (6:22, MID 8, 4-3 SOX)
Kevin Jepsen shut down the Sox in the eighth despite a fly ball to the warning track in center by Youkilis. Ramirez will try to get throuhg a second inning. If he can’t, Jonathan Papelbon and Hideki Okajima are warming in the bullpen.
RAMIREZ DOES THE JOB (6:14, END 7, 4-3 SOX)
Ramirez perserved the lead. He got Rivera to ground a changeup weakly to the left side. No one can get Napoli out — he grounded a double down the third base line. Aybar flared out to center, and Figgins struck out swinging at a change-slider in the dirt. That’s a really nice pitch he’s got, kind of a funky hybrid. It was effective that inning.
TIME TO STRETCH (6:05, MID 7, 4-3 SOX)
Varitek doubled down the third base line, but Saunders made it through the seventh when Ellsbury popped to third.
As expected, Ramon Ramirez has entered, replacing Penny. He allowed three runs in six innings.
BAY GIVES SOX THE LEAD (5:59, MID 7, 4-3 SOX)
Bay smacked an 0-1 pitch just inside the foul pole and just over the short fence in left to put the Sox ahead for the first time this series.
PENNY STRONG (5:56, END 6, 3-2 ANGELS)
If that was Penny’s last inning, he finished with a flourish. Guerrero popped to Pedroia. Hunter grounded to third. Morales struck out swinging. Penny has thrown 86 pitches, and he chatted with Terry Francona and John Farrell after the inning in the dugout. Ramon Ramirez was warming for much of the sixth, and he’s probably coming in to start the seventh.
Baldelli led off the seventh with an infield single.
SOX CAN’T ANSWER (5:48, MID 6, 3-2 ANGELS)
Quiet inning for the meat of the Red Sox order. Pedroia flied to center. Ortiz hit a missile to center, but Hunter charged and snared the ball. Youkilis lined out to right.
PENNY KEEPS IT CLOSE (5:42, END 5, 3-2 ANGELS)
Kendrick pushed Figgins to third with a sacrifice fly to right. Lowrie had to make a running throw after Abreu’s rolled a slow grounder to short, and he got him by half a step to keep the Sox within one. Penny has throw 78 pitches, 48 strikes.
NAPOLI GOES DEEP AGAIN (5:37, BOT 5, 3-2 ANGELS)
As quickly as Penny got a tie score to work with, he gave up another home run to Napoli, who’s becoming quite the Red Sox killer. Napoli destroyed a 3-2 fastball into the rock pile behind the fence in center. Napoli also had two home runs in one game against the Sox in last year’s ALDS. After Pedroia robbed Aybar with a great, backhanded, diving play, Figgins shot a double past Lowell down the line. Man on second, one out.
LOWELL TIES IT (5:28, TOP 5, 2-2)
After Bay walked with one out, Lowell ripped a 1-0 pitch to left field, a lined shot that just cleared the fence. The two-run blast snapped Saunders’s streak of 26 consecutive scoreless innings. After Lowrie flied to right, Varitek rolled one through the left side. He was stranded when Ellsbury chopped to second.
WALL BALL (5:21, END 4, 2-0 ANGELS)
The Red Sox seemed to catch a break with the first out. Hunter lashed a pitch to the warning track. Jason Bay drifted back and stabbed the ball. It fell into his glove then popped out and seemed to hit the fence. Bay caught the ball on the ricochet. The umpire ruled that the ball never hit the fence and called Hunter, who was motoring around second, out. Penny capitalized by getting a double play from Juan Rivera after Morales laced a single to center.
SAUNDERS ROLLS (5:10, MID 4, 2-0 ANGELS)
Saunders got his first 1-2-3 inning. Pedroia led off with a grounder to second. Pedroia has been robbed three times already this year, and he’s 2 for 16 since starting the year with a homer in his first at bat. Ortiz struck out looking and briefly gave umpire Ed Rapuano a piece of his mind. Youkilis hit the ball well to center, but Hunter made the play.
PENNY GIVES ONE UP (5:05, BOT 3, 2-0 ANGELS)
Penny left a fastball up in the strike with his first pitch of the third, and Mike Napoli deposited it just beyond the fence in left-center. Aybar popped to center. Chone Figgins popped up a bunt, which Varitek caught. Kendrick bounced a single over Penny’s head and into centerfield, and Abreu walked to put two on with two out for Guerrero. He launched a fly ball to right center, and Ellsbury tracked it down.
DOUBLING UP (4:55, MID 3, 1-0 ANGELS)
Jed Lowrie, who started the season in a 1-for-15 slump, walked to lead off. Jason Varitek flied to right. Ellsbury had gotten in a groove with his swing, but he grounded to short to start a 4-6-3 double play.
PENNY REVS UP (4:43, END 2, 1-0 ANGELS)
Penny dispatched the Angels in order, and his stuff improved from the first inning. He reached 94 mph when he struck out Torii Hunter, his first strike out with the Red Sox. Morales tapped one to first, and Juan Rivera grounded to Lowell.
GOOD START, FAST FINISH (4:37, MID 2, 1-0 ANGELS)
Kevin Youkilis and Rocco Baldelli both blooped singles, bringing Lowell to bat with one out and two on. He grounded to the hole in the left side, and Erick Aybar made a backhanded play. He fired to second, where Kendrick made the turn and fired to first. Kendry Morales had to leap to catch the ball, but he landed on the big before Lowell, running hard but slowly, reached first, ending the inning.
ONE THE HARD WAY (4:28, END 1, 1-0 ANGELS)
The Angels grinded out a run against Brad Penny in his first inning with the Red Sox. Figgins walked to lead off, then stole second on the first pitch to Howie Kendrick. Kendrick pushed Figgins to third with a groun ball to second, and Bobby Abreu brought him home with another grounder to Pedroia. Guerrero grounded out to Mike Lowell at third.
Penny’s velocity has not been as good today as it was in his final spring training start. Penny was hitting 94 and 95 consistently then. He topped out at 93 in the first inning.
ELLSBURY SPARKS, FIZZLES (4:18, MID 1, 0-0)
Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a line drive single to center, and then stole second on the first pitch Dustin Pedroia saw off of catcher Mike Napoli. Pedroia flied to right. But then Saunders picked Ellsbury off of his second base, and Chone Figgins tagged him out after a brief rundown. David Ortiz ended the inning with a soft one-hopper to first.
IN STYLE (4:10, PRE 1, 0-0)
First pitch in Joe Saunders vs. Brad Penny is moments away. The Red Sox are debuting their road gray primary jerseys today, whith which they wear traditional ‘B’ cap, not the Hanging Sox cap they wore last night with their blue roadies.