SOX LOSE (11:45, END 9, 11-10 O’S)
Bay struck out to cap an unreal loss, the worst this season. The Sox led, 10-1, entering the seventh inning.
YOUKILIS HIT (11:42, TOP 9, 11-10 O’S)
Sherrill hit Youkilis in the hand with two strikes. It didn’t look pretty the way Youkilis reacted, and the trainer, Paul Lessard, came out to check on him. He’s in the game with Bay up and the tying run, Green, at second.
DOWN TO THEIR LAST OUT (11:39, TOP 9, 11-10 O’S)
Pedroia popped out to shallow left. Youkilis is the Red Sox’ last chance, and all that separates the Orioles from an amazing comeback. Payback for the Mother’s Day Miracle?
ONE AWAY (11:37, TOP 9, 11-10 O’S
After Nick Green came on to pinch run for Bailey, Lugo botched a bunt attempt and swung at strike two in the dirt, givivng himself an 0-2 count. He fought back to 2-2, then took strike, a pitch Lugo felt was low and/or away. Replays showed it barely nipped the corner at the knees, a great pitch. Pedroia is up now.
BAILEY SINGLES (11:31, TOP 9, 11-10 O’S)
The Sox have the tying run on after Bailey smacked a line-drive single to left. Here comes Lugo.
FINALLY, THE NINTH (11:27, END 8, 11-10 O’S)
Reimold, the man who began the inning, ended it with a high fly to left after Huff walked on a 3-2 pitch. George Sherrill is out to close for the Orioles. He’ll face Jeff Bailey, Lugo, and Pedroia.
MARKAKIS GIVES BALTIMORE LEAD (11:22, BOT 8, 11-10 O’S)
Wow wow wow. Markakis crunched a double to left-center off of Papelbon with two down, scoring Guthrie and Roberts, who just beat Lugo’s relay throw from Bay. Just incredible. The Sox had a 10-1 lead with nine outs left. With four left — and three of their, most pressing — they trail, 11-10.
PAP STARTS STRONG (11:20, BOT 8, 10-9 SOX)
Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie entered as a pinch runner, which is downright cool, replacing Wieters at second. Papelbon made that irrelevant, for now, by striking out Pie swinging at a 95-mph fastball.
AND ANOTHER (11:16, BOT 8, 10-9 SOX)
Roberts slipped a single — the 12th hit allowed by the Sox bullpen — past a diving Youkilis down the third base line, scoring the run that brought the Orioles to within one. This might not be Boston’s night — Roberts was 0 for his last 18.
Here’s how dire tonight is: Papelbon is coming on for what would be a five-out save. He hasn’t pitched more than one inning since May 4, so this is not something Francona does lightly.
ONE MORE (11:08, BOT 8, 10-8 SOX)
Wigginton crushed a sacrifice fly to right, which Baldelli caught while leaping on the front of the warning track. One down, Roberts up with men on first and third. Worth mentioning again — it’s crazy that this is even a game.
SLIPPING AWAY? (11:02, BOT 8, 10-7 SOX)
Salazar dribbled a swinging bunt toward first. Kottaras scooped the ball, but not in time to make a play at first. Reimold held at third, which loaded the bases with no outs for Wieters. He cracked a single into left, plating Reimold and keeping the bags loaded. With Ty Wigginton out as a pinch hitter, Francona called on Saito. The Red Sox typically suffocating bullpen has been atrocious tonight. No other way to say it.
O’S THREATENING (10:56, BOT 8, 10-6 SOX)
This isn’t quite the slam dunk it should have been. With no outs after a Luke Scott double, Baltimore has men on second and third. Reimold singled into left to lead off the inning. What’s up with the bullpen? Jonathan Papelbon is warming up now.
LATE AT THE PLATE (10:50, MID 8, 10-6 SOX)
Jacoby Ellsbury nearly had himself another RBI. He ripped a single through the middle. DeMarlo Hale windmilled George Kottaras — in at catcher for Varitek — around third base. Pie’s throw zipped from center, in time easily to nab Kottaras. Inning over. Okajima remains on the mound, and Takashi Saito has been warming.
PEDROIA MAKES A SAVE (10:40, END 7, 10-6 SOX)
With men on first and third after Markakis’s bloop single, Huff flared a soft liner toward right field. Pedroia leapt and made a 180 catch, ending the inning and keeping the damage at five runs. Had the hit fallen, the tying run would have come to the plate.
WE’VE GOT A GAME (10:33, BOT 7, 10-6 SOX)
Francona is making another pitching change, going with Okajima to face Markakis. Delcarmen yielded a two-out single to Pie, which drove Robert Andino, who reached on a fielder’s choice and moved to second on a grounder by Roberts.
LIFE FROM THE O’S (10:26, BOT 7, 10-5 SOX)
Oscar Salazar blasted a three-run jack deep to left, his first home run this year. Wieters followed with a single. Huff had scored after he singled Scott doubled off the wall. There are still no outs, and Francona has pulled Masterson for Manny Delcarmen. That inning — at least four runs, no outs — is going to murder Masterson’s ERA. Hideki Okajima is warming.
DOUBLE DIGITS (10:18, MID 7, 10-1 SOX)
Dustin Pedroia drove in Bailey with an RBI single. Bailey had tripled off the rightfield wall. An observation: This seems to be one drunk crowd. The Sox fans wents nuts on that RBI single. Either they all have Pedroia on their fantasy team, or they enjoyed some Natty Boh during the delay.
If (when) the Sox win tonight, they’ll have won the first two games of six of their last seven series. That’s a whole lot of winning.
COUNTING TO THREE (10:08, END 6, 9-1 SOX)
Something funny happened after the second out of that inning. The Red Sox infield ran off the field. They huddled by the dugout steps and started walking in — all of them, Kevin Youkilis and Julio Lugo and Dustin Pedroia and Jeff Bailey and Justin Masterson — before Randazzo and Varitek alerted them to the fact that THERE WERE ONLY TWO OUTS. Masterson came back, laughed, and then struck out Markakis. Then everyone ran off the field, because that’s what you do when there are three outs.
EASY ONE FOR MASTERSON (9:54, END 5, 9-1 SOX)
Masterson struck out Wieters and Andino to blow through the inning. This one will be in the books if the rain comes back.
GAME ON (9:50, BOT 5, 9-1 SOX)
Mora grounded out, and the game in underway. The official restart time is 9:48, giving the game a 1 hour, 11 minute rain delay.
Smoltz threw 52 pitches in four innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk.
WAITING ON THE WIN (9:45, MID 5, 9-1 SOX)
John Smoltz won’t get his first American League win tonight. The rain delay has forced him out of the game, and Justin Masterson will pitch. We’re about five minutes away from resuming.
RESTART TIME (9:35, MID 5, 9-1 SOX)
OK, they just announced the game will begin again at 9:50. That would make it a 1 hour, 13 minute delay.
TARP COMES OFF (9:33, MID 5, 9-1 SOX)
The grounds crew is peeling the tarp off the infield now. No official word on when the game will start back up, so we’ll go with “soon.” There could be more rain tonight, which the Sox would welcome the sooner, the better. It’s been a 56-minute delay, so far.
TARP TIME (8:37, MID 5, 9-1 SOX)
Right after Smoltz threw his final warm-up pitch, the umpries called the grounds crew into service. We’ve got ourselves a rain delay. Blegh.
HERE COMES THE RAIN (8:35, TOP 5, 9-1 SOX)
Three outs away from this game becoming official, we have our first drops of rain. No tarp yet, just a smattering of umbrellas and folks taking cover in the concourses. Youkilis reached with a two-out single off of Robert Andino’s glove. Starting to rain harder now. The Sox, rightfully, are taking a bunch of first-pitch swings. They want to get this bad boy in.
ELLSBURY AGAIN (8:24, MID 4, 9-1 SOX)
Ellsbury sent an RBI single through the right side, his second RBI hit of the inning — he also led off with a solo home run. The Sox put up five runs in the inning, three of which were earned. After a long layoff, Smoltz is out for the fourth. There are some spooky dark clouds gathering overhead. It almost looks like one of the spaceships from Independence Day.
VARITEK TAKES ONE FOR THE TEAM, MAYBE (8:20, TOP 4, 8-1 SOX)
Albers threw a high, inside pitch to Varitek, and home plate umpire Tony Randazzo sent Varitek to first. The replays were tough to tell, but it looked like the pitch just missed brushing Varitek. Either way, a run scores, the bases are still loaded with two outs. Baldelli struck out looking at a pitch low and away.
HILL OUT (8:14, TOP 4, 7-1 SOX)
Not a good night for Hill, who surrendered a single to Oritz. The bases are still loaded as Matt Albers jogs in from the bullpen and Varitek is getting ready to come up to the plate.
SOX PILING ON (8:12, TOP 4, 6-1 SOX)
Kevin Youkilis ripped a one-out double to left that scored Bailey (walk) and sent Pedroia (E5) to third. Hill intentionally walked Bay, and Ortiz is batting with the bags loaded.
The weather radar doesn’t look pretty, and the air has got that it’s-gonna-rain feel right now.
ELLSBURY LAUNCHES ONE (8:03, TOP 4, 5-1 SOX)
Didn’t take long for the Sox to get that run back. Jacoby Ellsbury mashed the third pitch of the inning, a letter-high 1-1 fastball, 408 feet over the right-centerfield fence. Ellsbury should buy Hill a steak after that pitch.
A SLICE OF FELIX PIE (7:59, END 3, 4-1 SOX)
After the Sox went down in order, Smoltz ran into his first trouble. Matt Wieters led off with a warning track fly ball to left. Robert Andino followed with a single up the middle, and Roberts flied to left. Pie delivered a two-out triple to left, getting the O’s on the board after 11 scoreless innings this series. Markakis popped to Varitek in foul territory.
SMOLTZ KEEPS IT GOING (7:46, END 2, 4-0 SOX)
Smoltz gave up his first base runner, a two-out walk to Luke Scott. Otherwise, he still looks great. Aubrey Huff grounded to second, Nolan Reimold flied to left, and Melvin Mora flied to right.
Felix Pie is now in center, replacing Jones, who had that crunch against the fence trying to catch Youkilis’s home run.
PEDROIA STRANDED (7:38, TOP 2, 4-0 SOX)
Bay chopped to Melvin Mora at third, who made the play on an awkward high bounce. Bay almost beat the throw, but the Sox couldn’t add a fifth run.
SOX ROLLING (7:35, TOP 2, 4-0 SOX)
The Sox strung together two more runs with just one out and have Hill on the ropes already. Bailey walked with one out, and Lugo delivered a single, his second of the night. Pedroia then belted a 2-2, high fastball from Hill into left-center for a two-run double. He stole third on the first pitch when Hill lost track of him, but Youkilis failed to bring him home. Jason Bay is trying now with two down.
SMOLTZ DOMINANT (7:27, END 1, 2-0 SOX)
Well, John Smoltz was just a little better tonight in the first than in his debut. He pitched a 1-2-3 inning while striking out Adam Jones swinging at a 93-mph two-seamer at the knees and Nick Markakis looking at a low fastball. (He didn’t like the call, which is a common theme among the Orioles so far this series.) Brian Roberts led off with a chopper back to Smoltz.
ORTIZ DOUBLES, STAYS AT SECOND (7:20, MID 1, 2-0 SOX)
David Ortiz roped a two-out double to left-center, and Jason Varitek walked. Rocco Baldelli couldn’t add on to the lead, bouncing back to Hill. John Smoltz is warming up, set to make his second start as a Red Sox. Let’s see if his nerves have settled down.
YOUKILIS GOES DEEP (7:14, TOP 1, 2-0 SOX)
Adam Jones couldn’t rob Youkilis tonight, but he came awfully close. Youkilis drove the ball to deep leftcenter, and Jones, who made an unreal catch last night, sprinted back. He didn’t break stride before jumping about a pace short of the fence. His body smacked into the fence as he reached his glove over. For a moment, the ball landed in his glove. But between the force of Jones hitting the wall and the ball hitting his glove, the glove fell off into the O’s bullpen with the ball in it. Jones is going to be a joy to watch in coming years — and he may already be an All Star.
Bay followed with a ground out to short.
TITO IS A GENIUS! PART TWO (7:09, TOP 1, 0-0)
Terry Francona shuffled Dustin Pedroia and J.D. Drew yesterday, and it immediately led to a run. Today, he puts Julio Lugo at leadoff, and he cracked a single off Rich Hill to begin the game. Pedroia followed with a foul pop to first. Here comes Kevin Youkilis.