Updates: Red Sox at Phillies

Victorino nearly fell over swinging about six seconds too early at a slider near his ankles, a filthy pitch.

The Sox take Game 1 and their fourth straight overall. Jon Lester fired seven brilliant innings, striking 11 and allowing two hits. Ramon Ramirez spoiled his gem for a moment when he allowed a home run to Ryan Howard, but the Red Sox bullpen pitched well enough for long enough for the Sox to smack around Kyle Kendrick for three runs in the ninth.

BARD WILD (11:12, BOT 13, 5-2 SOX)
Bard has been dominant, striking out Werth and Howard, but also erratic, walking Utley and beaning Ibanez with a 99-mph fastball. (Ibanez didn’t rub it.) Victorino is up, representing the tying run.


BARD’S TURN (11:04, MID 13, 5-2)
Pedroia grounded to second, and now Bard gets a crack at his first save. He’ll have to earn it, even with a three-run lead — due up are Utley, Werth, and Howard.

LUCKY 13 (11:00, TOP 13, 5-2)
The Red Sox have just about broken it open. Lowell smacked a single up the middle, scoring Varitek and giving the next Red Sox pitcher — apparently Daniel Bard — ample cushion. Here comes Pedroia, with a man on third.

GREEN SACRIFICE (10:58, TOP 13, 4-2 SOX)
Green lashed a ball to deep left, which scored Lugo easily. This has been a really horrid inning for Kendrick; both outs were hit hard. Lowell has a chance to keep it going.

Kendrick started the at-bat with two balls, and Ellsbury made him pay. He ripped the third pitch to right, plating Bay. Ellsbury ripped the ball so hard Lugo stopped at third. Bases still loaded for Green.

FULLY LOADED (10:53, TOP 13, 2-2)
Varitek walked, bringing Ellsbury to the plate with one out and the bases juiced. The Phillies conferenced on the mound before the home plate umpire broke them up.

LUGO SIGHTING (10:51, TOP 13, 2-2)
Youkilis drilled a liner to center for out one, and Bay flared a single to left, bringing Saito’s turn up in the order. The pinch hitter? None other than Julio Lugo, who hasn’t been in the lineup for six games. Of course, he smoked a single through the left side. Before the game, when asked casually how he was doing, Lugo said “Everything’s great.” It is now. Go-ahead run on second, one out for Varitek.


GREEN LIGHT ON HIS FEET (10:47, END 12, 2-2)
On a 2-2 pitch from Saito, Rollins chopped a ball up the middle. Rollins is one of the quickest players in the sport, so it was a tricky play for Green as he streaked across the middle of the diamond. He stepped on second as he snared the ball and, in one smooth motion, fired to first to get Rollins by a step. Given the footwork and dexterity required, Green made that play look far easier than it was. If the Red Sox win, don’t forget that one.

Youkilis will lead off the 13th against Kendrick.

SAITO IN, MASTERSON OUT (10:39, BOT 12, 2-2)
Ruiz led off by dropping down a surprise bunt, and when Masterson dashed off the mound to field, he slipped and landed on his backside. Brunlett tried to push Ruiz to second, but he popped up the sacrifice attempt to Youkilis, charging in from first. Rollins came up with one out and one on, and Francona emerged from the Sox dugout. Saito is in.

GROUNDED (10:36, MID 12, 2-2)
Kyle Kendrick shut down the Sox with ease. Mike Lowell and Pedroia grounded to Rollins at short. Pedroia grounded out to second. Quick inning. Masterson is still on the mound, and Takashi Saito just got up in the bullpen.

What a crazy end to the inning. So Masterson walked Victorino to get to the pitcher’s spot in the order, and infielder Greg Dobbs pinch hit for Condrey. Dobbs fouled off the first pitch he saw. Masterson snuck an inside fastball past him for strike two. Dobbs took a high fastball for ball one, then flared foul another fastball. Masterson tried a sinker outside that just missed the corner. Dobbs launched a fly ball with no-doubt-about-it distance high down the rightfield line, but it sliced just foul — maybe. Replays seemed to show the ball soar OVER, not around, the foul pole. Charlie Manuel was arguing for a replay, and the crowd was chanting “re-play.” They refused to take a look. Dobbs got back in the box. Dobbs dribbled a ball foul and then swung through a 96-mph, high fastball. Strike three. To the 12th. What drama.


WINNER IN POSITION (10:22, BOT 11, 2-2)
Masterson struck out Werth swinging at an outside fastball, then got Howard swinging at a 2-2 changeup outside, which really got him off balance. Ibanez, through rapped a ball to the warning track in right-center, just out of Drew’s reach. The crowd reacted like it might be a homer, but instead Ibanez rolled into second with a double. Victorino can end it.

CONDREY QUANDRY (10:16, MID 11, 2-2)
That was quick. Varitek and Ellsbury each grounded out to second against Condrey, and Green smoked a one-hopper at Rollins, who converted the play. Masterson still pitching. He’ll face Werth, Howard, and Ibanez, a very dangerous trio.

D UP (10:11, END 10, 2-2)
The Sox have a chance in the 11th because of Masterson and some great defense by Pedroia and Bay. Ruiz tapped back to Masterson, who easily flipped to first. Masterson drilled Brunlett on the hip with a pitch way inside, definitely a big-time miss by Masterson. Rollins grounded into the hole on the right side, but Pedroia made a diving play, hopped up, and fired to second to wipe out Brunlett. Utley’s sliced a 1-1 pitch down the leftfield line, the ball fading away from Bay as he gave chase. When he reached the foul, he slid toward the fence and made a backhanded snag, a great play.

Clay Condrey is in to pitch for the Phillies.

J.D. Drew struck out on a 3-2, 85-mph changeup from Madson, who then plunked Youkilis to put the go-ahead run on base. Bay struck out on an 86-mph sinker. Youkilis stole second with Kotsay batting, just beating Ruiz’s tag. It didn’t matter, because Madson struck out the side when Kotsay flailed at a pitch in the dirt and inside. Madson was impressive. He used a lot of offspeed, but he also hit 98 on the gun.

Justin Masterson is now in the game. Mike Lowell is also in to play third, and Youkilis shifts back to first to bolster the defense. Masterson will bat fifth — Kotsay’s spot — and Lowell ninth. That’s a clue that Francona plans to use Masterson for multiple innings.

EXTRA, EXTRA (9:52, END 9, 2-2)
Ramirez survived the inning after Howard’s bomb. Victorino popped foul to Youkilis at third. Matt Stairs pinch hit for Phillies reliever J.C. Romero. He swung out of his shoes for one strike, then blasted a pitch to center, where Jacoby Ellsbury darted back and settled under the ball. Stairs sure is scary. Ryan Madson, the Phillies temporary closer while Brad Lidge is on the disabled list, is in. Daniel Bard was warming up for the Sox during the ninth, so it might be his show in the 10th. That would be a huge spot for Bard, who has not been tested in a pressure position yet.

WINNING RUN ON (9:47, BOT 9, 2-2)
Shane Victorino is up with one out after Ibanez walked on a 3-2 count.

RAMIREZ GIVES IT UP (9:45, BOT 9, 2-2)
Ramirez struck out Werth, but then Howard, probably the game’s best slugger, came to the plate. Ramirez left a change out over the outside part of the plate, and Howard launched a rocket over the rightfield fence into the bleachers. Here comes Ibanez, who has 21 home runs.

Jonathan Papelbon has had two demanding saves in a row, and it won’t be three. Ramon Ramirez is on for the Sox in the ninth. The Sox didn’t threaten in the ninth, getting a walk from pinch hitter Rocco Baldelli.

JUST MISSED IT (9:25, END 8, 2-1 SOX)
After striking out Ruiz to lead off the inning, Okajima plunked Eric Brunlett, who had entered the previous inning for defense. Rollins followed with a drive to left, which got the crowd to its feet and roaring. But the liner settled at the warning track and into Bay’s glove. The Phillies missed taking the lead by about five feet. Instead, Utley struck out looking at a pinpoint, 87-mph fastball on the outside corner, a great pitch by Okajima.

The Sox could not add on to their lead, and Lester is out of the game. Francona summoned Okajima to replace Lester, who had thrown roughly 110 pitches. Okajima had a huge performance Wednesday, striking out three Yankees in 1 1/3 innings. Big spot for him here, too.

Another 1-2-3 inning, two more Ks for Lester. He has retired 18 of the last 19 batters he faced, walking one and striking out 10 of them. Lester has allowed two hits on the night, and he’s got 11 Ks. That inning, the victims were Ibanez and Feliz, who swung over a filthy, 80-mph curve in the dirt.

HE CAN BUNT, TOO (8:54, MID 7, 2-1 SOX)
Nothing came out of it, but Lester had a nice sacrifice bunt that inning. Nick Green hit a one-out infield single that Rollins stopped deep in the hole, but too deep to nab Green. Lester, batting next, laid down a nice bunt toward to put Green on second. Dustin Pedroia grounded out, though.

Lester walked Jayson Werth with two outs, but that was all he allowed. He struck out two more, Utley and then Howard on a wicked curveball, which gives him nine through six innings. This is a really good Phillies lineup, and it would be hard for any major league team to look as helpless as it does against Lester. He is a monster right now.

The Red Sox went in order, a strikeout by Jason Bay and two grounders from Ortiz and Jason Varitek. With Lester cruising, Terry Francona inserted Mark Kotsay in at first for Ortiz. Lester has promptly gotten a pop to short by Jimmy Rollins and looking strikeout of Chase Utley.

Aside from a brief rough patch in the second, when Ibanez and Victorino led off with hits, Lester has been absolutely dominant. He has allowed two hits, and he just struck out the side for the second straight inning. Consecutively, Lester has struck out Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz, and Joe Blanton. Impressive.

J.D. Drew, one of the most hated athletes in Philly, just turned those boos into … well, more sad boos. Drew belted a solo home run to the opposite field with two outs off of Joe Blanton. Youkilis struck out to end the inning, but the Sox gave Lester the lead.

CATCHING UP (8:15, BOT 4, 1-1)
We’re moving along swiftly here at Citizen’s Bank Park. Sorry for the lack of updates; I was busy with some work for tomorrow’s bird cage liner. The Sox and Phils are tied up. The Phillies scored when Pedro Feliz drove in Raul Ibanez, who had doubled, with a grounder in the second. Kevin Youkilis ripped a home run to the opposite field to lead off the fourth. Lester has struck out three through 3 2/3. In his lone at-bat so far, Lester struck out. David Ortiz had one notable play in the field. He bobbled a low throw from Youkilis at first, but he recovered to record the out.

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