PAPELBPON STRIKES OUT THE SIDE, CLOSES SERIES (11:41, END 9, 4-3 SOX)
The Red Sox won their first series of the year because Jonathan Papelbon closed out the Rays with an edge-of-your seat save. With men on first and third and no outs, Papelbon struck out three consecutive hitters. Crawford swung at three fastballs, the last of which was 97 mph.
PAPEBLON Ks UPTON (11:37, TOP 9, 4-3 SOX)
Upton swung through a 95-mph fastball above the letters on 1-2. It’s Crawford’s turn now.
PENA STRIKES OUT (11:34, TOP 9, 4-3 SOX)
Pena struck out checking his swing on a called strike three on a 3-2 pitch. Bartlett stole second on the pitch. Upton up, men on second and third, one out.
PAPELBON IN TROUBLE (11:30, TOP 9, 4-3 SOX)
Iwamura led off with a five-pitch walk, then moved to second when his errant pickoff attempt trickled away from Bailey. Bartlett flared a single into center, but Iwamura could not score. Carlos Pena is on to pinch hit for Navarro, no outs, two on, man on third.
SOX CAN’T ADD ON (11:23, END 8, 4-3)
After he intentionally walked Drew, Wheeler got out of the inning with minimal damage. Bailey struck out swinging at a ball in the dirt, and Varitek lined out to right.
Jonathan Papelbon is in to try to finish it off. He’s got no margin for error, even though the Red Sox had a man at third with one out last inning who never scored.
BAY GIVES SOX LEAD (11:13, BOT 8, 4-3 SOX)
Bay launched a towering fly ball that scraped halfway down the wall for a double, driving in Ortiz with the go-ahead run. Lowell is up, no outs and Bay on second.
BIG PAPI COMES THROUGH (11:10, MID 8, 3-3)
For a second, it seemed we might have Ortiz’s first home run of the season. Instead, his towering drive to left center bounced off the top of the scoreboard, and he strolled into second with a double. The Rays brought in Dan Wheeler, and while he warmed, the Sox showed a replay of Davis’s game-winner on the scoreboard. Ortiz clapped at second base. Here comes Bay.
RAMIREZ GETS HIS MAN (11:06, MID 8, 3-3)
Zobrist grounded weakly to first, ending the inning. Brian Shouse, very tough of lefties, is in to face Ortiz. Garza’s night is over, which has got to feel good for the Red Sox — they didn’t him beat them again.
C’S WIN, FENWAY GOES WILD (11:00, TOP 8, 3-3)
Okajima has yielded to Ramon Ramirez after two Ks in the eighth. Funny scene when Burrell was at the plate to lead off. Glen Davis hit the game-winner for the Celtics while he was batting, the news of which circulated throughout the park from the luxury boxes and seats with TVs in front of them. An ovation started and eventually became so loud that Burrell had to step out of the box, and he eventually struck out swinging. Okajima then struck out Aybar. His night is done, and Ramirez is in.
OKIE OK (10:38, MID 7, 3-3)
Okajima was lights out for a 1-2-3 inning. Upton popped to Green, Crawford flied to left, and Longoria grounded to short.
GARZA GOING STRONG (10:28, END 6, 3-3)
Garza put himself in a jam, but he worked out of it. Bay popped up foul to third to lead off. Lowell smacked a single through the left side. Drew struck out swinging at a low slider. Bailey walked, putting two on with two out for Varitek. He grounded out to short on the first pitch he saw.
While Beckett had thrown 116 pitches, Garza has thrown about 100. And Beckett is now out of the game — Okajima is coming on to pitch the seventh. Will we see Daniel Bard at some point?
BECKETT KEEPS IT TIED (10:18, MID 6, 3-3)
After Iwamura stole second, Beckett struck out Navarro to keep the score tied.
TIE GAME (10:13, TOP 6, 3-3)
Bartlett flied to right, sending Aybar to the plate and Zobrist to third. Navarro is batting with two outs.
RAYS THREATENING, OKAJIMA WARMING (10:11, TOP 6, 3-2 SOX)
Hideki Okajima is up in the bullpen while the Rays have the bases loaded. Aybar doubled when Jason Bay missed a sliding catch, and Zobrist and Iwamura walked consecutively, Iwamura on four pitches.
GARZA BACK STRONG (9:59, END 5, 3-2 SOX)
The Sox went in order — a grounder to first from Ellsbury, a grounder to third from Lugo, and a pop to Longoria in shallow left by Ortiz.
LUGO MAKES THE PLAY (9:51, MID 5, 3-2 SOX)
Beckett got out of the inning when Longoria tapped a ball up the middle. Lugo ranged to his left and made the play and a strong throw to first.
RAYS CHIP AWAY (9:49, MID 5, 3-2 SOX)
Beckett seemed back in his best form tonight as he mowed through the first two batters of the fifth. He struck out Bartlett, then Navarro tapped a ball down the third base line. Beckett chased the ball down and fired to first for the out. Upton followed with a double into the leftfield corner. Crawford plated him with a bloop single to right, then stole second. Man on second, Longoria at the plate, two out.
DOUBLE VISION (9:41, END 4, 3-1 SOX)
The Sox took their first lead of the night with a two-out rally. Garza struck out Lowell and Drew to start the inning, but Bailey started a spurt by smashing a double off the centerfield wall. Varitek flipped another double to the opposite field down the leftfield line, scoring Bailey. Green followed with a pop up to shallow right. Iwamura drifted back, and at the last moment back off to let Zobrist catch the ball. The problem: Zobrist wasn’t that close, and the ball fell in. Green tried for second and, for the second time tonight, was thrown out at second.
BECKETT ROLLING (9:30, MID 4, 1-1)
Beckett hasn’t allowed a hit since the first and has retired nine of the last 11 hitters he’s faced. That inning, Aybar grounded to third. Zobrist followed suit, and Lowell made a great, charging play, throwing the ball across his body as he ran toward home. Iwamura flied to left.
PEDROIA OUT, LUGO IN (9:23, END 3, 1-1)
First, the inning: Garza allowed two singles and a walk, but it led to no damage. Green drilled a ball off the Monster to lead off the inning, but he might have hit it too hard. Crawford grabbed the ball on one bounce and rifled it to second, where Iwamura slapped the tag on Green for an out. Green grabbed his right lower leg, but he looked OK jogging off the field. Ellsbury bounced one through the left side for a single, and he moved to second when he was running on a 3-2 pitch and Pedroia grounded out to third. Ortiz walked to put two men on. The right man, seemingly, came up. But Bay struck out swinging at a slider in the dirt.
Second, the news: Green remains in — but not Pedroia. He is out, and Lugo is at shortstop, with Green at second.
BECKETT SETTLING IN (9:05, MID 3, 1-1)
B.J. Upton reached when he smacked a hard grounder at Lowell, who couldn’t handle it. Tough play, but definitely an error. Varitek caught Upton stealing, a rare feat this season. Crawford tapped a curveball back to Beckett. Beckett walked Longoria, but then Burrell grounded harmlessly to second.
SOX KNOT IT (8:54, BOT 2, 1-1)
The Sox finally got to Garza, who nearly fired a perfect game against them the last time out. Bay (who else?) led off with a double off the Monster in left-center. Mike Lowell moved him to third with a fly ball to right. Drew grounded to first, where Willy Aybar maybe a terrible decision. Aybar came up firing to get Bay, which was questionable in itself. Then Aybar doubled-pumped, but he still threw home, anyway. Bay was safe by a mile as Aybar’s throw sailed wide. The Sox couldn’t take advantage, though. Bailey flied to shallow right, and Varitek, after spoling two 3-2 pitches, struck out looking at a curveball.
BECKETT GETS GOING (8:41, MID 2, 1-0 RAYS)
The Rays went in order in the first. Beckett induced a fly to left from Akinori Iwamura, dusted Bartlett looking at an outside fastball, and got Dioner Navarro to ground to first, where Jeff Bailey handled it himself.
RAYS TAKE EARLY LEAD (8:32, END 1, 1-0 RAYS)
Josh Beckett allowed the Rays three singles in the first inning, and Carl Crawford scored on one of them — from first base. With two outs and Crawford on first, Burrell rapped a ball hard off the Monster. Jason Bay’s throw came into second base, holding Burrell at first. But Crawford bolted home, and beat Dustin Pedroia’s throw as Jason Varitek tried to block the plate.
The Red Sox couldn’t answer, going down in order against nemesis Matt Garza, despite some good contact. Jacoby Ellsbury lined to right, and Pedroia lined hard, but right at Jason Bartlett at shortstop. David Ortiz’s woes continued, as he struck out on a 2-2, 87-mph slider.