Updates: Sox at A’s

SOX LOSE IN 12 BY A HAIR (2:33, END 12, 6-5 A’s)
After walking the bases loaded with one out, Lopez struck out Suzuki on three pitches. Then the Sox, after 4 hours, 24 minutes of baseball, lost by the thinnest of margins. Buck chopped the ball sky high in the middle of the diamond. Pedroia charged and threw across his body. Buck beat the throw by about a millisecond.

Lopez walked Giambi to lead off the inning, not what the Red Sox wanted against a lefty from their lefthanded specialist. Holliday grounded weakly up the middle, and Velazquez made a nice, charging play. But then Lopez walked Cust and Crosby. Rajai Davis pinch ran for Giambi at third.


Suzuki fouled off the first pitch he saw, and then the next, getting himself in an 0-2 hole. He struck out on the third pitch, an 87-mph sinking fastball. Then Buck stepped to the plate and hit the second pitch he saw for the game-winner.

Despite Papelbon’s quick inning, he’s done for the night. Lopez is in. The Red Sox went down in order: Varitek struck out looking (his third strikeout tonight after entering with none on the year), Velazquez grounded to short. Ellsbury lined to left-center, where Sweeney made a diving catch.

Giambi leads off. No action in Boston’s ‘pen.

After his marathon Saturday, Papelbon was efficient in the 11th. He needed 15 pitches to get a 1-2-3 inning — Ellis flied to left, Sweeney lined to third after a pesky at bat, and Cabrera flared to center.

Righthander Sean Gallagher has replaced Ziegler. Javier Lopez is warming in the Red Sox bullpen. Varitek leads off.

PAPELBON ENTERS (2:01, MID 11, 5-5)
Bay singled after Youkilis and Drew were retired, but Lowell struck out looking at a 2-2 offspeed pitch at the knees.
Jonathan Papelbon has entered. He’s due to face Ellis, Sweeney, and Cabrera.
PERFECT 10 (1:54, END 10, 5-5)
The Red Sox bullpen continues to keep the Sox alive. Cust flied to right. Pedroia saved a hit with a ridiculous backhanded, lunging catch in shallow center that robbed Crosby. Suzuki walked.
The Red Sox bullpen has 12 strikeouts in nine innings without allowing a run. A 12-strikeout, complete game shutout by Masterson, Delcarmen, Ramirez, and Okajima.
Youkilis leads off against Ziegler.
The Sox loaded the bases after Varitek walked with one out, Ellsbury walked with two outs, and Pedroia followed with an infield single, a chopper that bounced to third baseman Crosby. Ziegler, the righty side-armer, got Ortiz to pop to shallow left, where Ellis made the easy catch. Ortiz is 0 for 4 with a walk tonight. For the season, he is 5 for 28 with no extra-base hits.
Okajima remains in the game. Can the Red Sox bullpen throw the equivalent of a complete-game shutout?
ON TO EXTRAS (1:33, END 9, 5-5)
Okajima’s continued the bullpen’s great work. He induced lazy flies from Cabrera and Giambi, and he struck out Holliday looking with a nifty piece of pitching. He froze Holliday with an outside fastball right on the black, then got strike three on the next pitch with an inside fastball on the black.
Brad Ziegler is in for the A’s.
OKAJIMA IN (1:25, MID 9, 5-5)
If the Red Sox are going to win this game, it will be in extra innings and Hideki Okajima will get the game there. Ortiz struck out looking. Youkilis flied to left. Drew got something going with a two-out single, but Bay, after fouling off several pitches with the count 2-2, struck out swinging.
RAMIREZ ROLLS (1:11, END 8, 5-5)
What a job by the Red Sox bullpen. Ramirez allowed a lead off walk to Buck, but he came back by striking out Ellis and getting Sweeney to hit into a 4-6-3 double play. The bullpen has allowed five hits, one walk, and no runs in seven innings.
Ortiz is leading off the ninth against Russ Springer.
Ellsbury put a great swing on a ball for a two-out single, but Pedroia couldn’t move him over because of a great play from Mark Ellis. Pedroia popped foul by the Red Sox bullpen, and Ellis darted all the way over from second to make a diving catch with his back to the infield. Great play.
RAMIREZ GETS HIS MAN (12:51, END 7, 5-5)
After starting Suzuki with two balls, Ramirez evened the count at 2-2. His next pitch stayed up, and Suzuki smacked it to right-center. Ellsbury and Drew appeared as if they were about to collide, but Drew caught the liner on the run in front on a sliding Ellsbury, stranding the go-ahead run at second.
With two men on base and two outs, Ramon Ramirez is coming on to replace Delcarmen. Delcarmen started the inning by walking Giambi on a 3-2 check swing. Delcarmen appeared as if he was going to cruise through, striking out Holliday on an inside, 95-mph fastball and Cust on a 79-mph curve; Cust still may be undwinding from the swing he took. Crosby singled to right, though, which brought Ramirez into the game to face Suzuki.
Lowell popped up to Crosby in the middle of the infield. Casilla is a really impressive, hard-throwing reliever. The go-ahead was left in scoring position.
SOX THREATENING (12:33, TOP 7, 5-5)
Ortiz led off with a walk, but he was erased when Youkilis hit into a double play. Drew reached on an error by Giambi, and he moved to second when Bay walked. Bailey has exited in favor of righthanded Alexi Casilla, who will face Lowell, the man who already has the game-tying.
Delcarmen allowed a leadoff single to Suzuki and put two on with one out after Mark Ellis hit a single, too. But he struck out Sweeney looking and got Cabrera, after knocking him down twice with inside heat, to ground into a fielder’s choice.
MASTERSON DONE (12:11, MID 6, 5-5)
The Sox went down in order, including a grounder to first by Ellsbury and a fly to right from Pedroia. Manny Delcarmen has entered for Masterson, who gave a clutch performance. Four innings, two hits, six strikeouts.
Matsuzaka left with arm fatigue.
MASTERSON MANS UP (12:07, END 5, 5-5)
The Red Sox have not received a more important performance from any this young season than the one they’re getting from Masterson tonight. In relief, he’s allowed two hits in four innings and thrown 60 pitches — and 42 strikes. He has six strike outs.
That inning, he struck out Holliday looking at a nasty, 91-mph two-seam fastball that dropped straight down. Cust grounded to first. Crosby swung over a slider. Masterson has given the Sox a chance to win a game that, given their starter’s outing, they have no business winning.
SOX TIE IT UP (11:55, MID 5, 5-5)
It was not visually impressive, but the Red Sox have drawn even and knocked out Eveland. Youkilis — who else? — started the rally with a one-out infield single. Drew followed with a single to right, sending Youkilis to third. Bay knocked in Youkilis by smacking the ball off of Eveland, who recovered and just barely got Bay at first. Lowell followed by ripping the ball off of Crosby; Drew scampered home from second when it dribbled into shallow left.
Andrew Bailey is in with two outs and Varitek batting.
Buck snapped Masterson’s six-out streak with a leadoff single, and Cabrera sent a two-out single into right, which Drew added another base to when he let the ball roll under his glove. With men on second and third, Masterson struck out Giambi on a 94-mph riding fastball. His work this spring as a starter has paid dividends tonight. Through three innings and 48 pitches, Masterson still looks strong.
ELLSBURY STRANDED (11:29, MID 4, 5-3 A’s)
Ellsbury reached on an error by third baseman Crosby, one of those errors that he forced with his speed; Crosby’s throw after he bobbled Ellsbury’s grounder would have beat most runners. He stole second, too, but Pedroia grounded weakly to second.
MASTERSON ROLLING (11:23, TOP 4, 5-3 A’s)
Masterson struggled a bit in first two outings. He entered with batters hitting .500 off of him, and he gave three runs on four hits Friday in one inning. So far, he’s retired all six batters he’s faced. He struck out Cust and Crosby that inning, then induced a weak fly from Suzuki to shallow left.
The Red Sox already have two outs. Varitek struck out looking — his first K of the season — and Green grounded to short.
SLIPPING AND SLIDING (11:13, MID 3, 5-3 A’s)
The A’s finally figured out a way to get Youkilis out. He walked to lead off the third. Drew followed with a fly to shallow left. Holliday charged and slid feet first to make a snow-cone catch. He came up firing to first base, which Youkilis had strayed off of. As first base coach Tim Bogar hollered for Youkilis to slide, he tip-toed back to the base. He made it in time, but his feet got tangled with Giambi’s, and he tripped and fell down, off of the base. Giambi applied the tag.
The play may have the Sox a run. Bay followed with a double to right, where Buck’s dive came up hilariously short. He dove and missed the ball by a good five feet. Lowell grounded to third to end the inning.
BACK TO NORMAL (11:04, END 2, 5-3 A’s)
Masterson calmed things down in the second. Cabrera grounded to short, Giambi grounded to second, and Holliday grounded to short. He threw 12 strikes in 14 pitching. That was refreshing.
Garciaparra left last inning with tightness in his right calf. Still no word yet on Matsuzaka.
The Red Sox went 1-2-3 on grounders from Ellsbury and Pedroia and a fly ball to center from Ortiz.
The real news is that Daisuke Matsuzaka has been pulled after one inning, replaced by Masterson. Matsuzaka’s previously pitched just one inning in a start last year against the St. Louis Cardinals. There is no word if Matsuzaka was pulled due to ineffectiveness or if he might be injured.
In the inning, he allowed five runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out none.
MATSUZAKA CRUMBLES (10:50, END 1, 5-3 A’s)
John Farrell came out for a chat after Cust’s RBI single, but if he told him to throw strikes, Matsuzka didn’t listen. Nomar Garciaparra, noted for his free swinging, walked on four pitches. Kurt Suzuki sent a missile to right, right at Drew, fortunately for the Red Sox. Travis Buck pulled a line-drive single to rightfield, which scored Cust and brought Justin Masterson to his feet in the Red Sox bullpen. Mark Ellis reached on an infield single. Sweeney, the 10th batter of the inning, grounded to Youkilis. Matsuzaka needed 43 pitches.
Between Eveland and Matsuzaka, the pitchers threw 83 pitches in the first inning, which lasted 41 minutes. The way in unplayed had to be crushing for the Red Sox, who finally scored some runs and got going, only to be overtaken immediately.
Garciaparra is out, replaced by Bobby Crosby at third. Didn’t see if or how he was injured.
TIED UP (10:40, BOT 1, 3-3)
Jack Cust followed by flaring a single up the middle to score Holliday. Matsuzaka’s only out has been a sacrifice fly to the warning track, and he has thrown 24 pitches.
A’S SLASH LEAD (10:37, BOT 1, 3-2 SOX)
The Red Sox gave Daisuke Matsuzaka a three-run lead, and he promptly allowed a leadoff single, followed that with a walk, and took 13 pitches to record his first out. After Ryan Sweeney and Orlando Cabrera reached, Jason Giambi smacked a sacrifice fly to left, pushing Sweeney to third. Matt Holliday followed with a double high off the left-centerfield fence, scoring a pair of runs.
The Red Sox well-documented offensive woes stopped swiftly tonight. Lowell shot another single up the middle, and Varitek followed with a walk to load the bases. Nick Green left ’em loaded by looking at an inside slider for strike three, but the Sox have a three-run lead for the first time since they entered the eighth inning Opening Day.
SOX BUST OUT (10:20, TOP 1, 2-0)
The Red Sox entered the game batting .180 with runners in scoring position. Thanks to the major league’s leading hitter, they started 1 for 1 tonight. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a grounder to second. Dustin Pedroia, one of the Red Sox buried deepest in a slump, showed a possible spark with a ground ball single through the left side. David Ortiz grounded out into the shift, sending Pedroia to second for Kevin Youkilis. He poked 1-2 pitch through the box, grounding it into center to score Pedroia. J.D. Drew followed with a double to left, scoring Youkilis. Jason Bay walked to extend the inning. Here comes Mike Lowell as Oakland starter Dana Eveland gets a visit.
The wind will be a major factor tonight. It’s blowing extremely fast, and in Oakland-Alameda Stadium, with it’s high banks of seats, it’s whipping around in several different directions. Already in the first, it seemed to blow Matt Holliday’s throw into the infield after Drew’s double a bit off target.

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