Final, 10:24 Red Sox win 5-2. Jonathan Papelbon strikes out the side.
Top 9, 10:14 Papelbon will get a chance to close out what could be a blueprint Sox win.
Bottom 8, 10:12 Aaron Bates makes another case for ash bats, as his splintered bat goes further than his groundout to first. Everybody is OK, again. This time.
(There. I had to put in the indignant “somebody’s-gonna-get-hurt” media comment.)
Top 8, 10:03 Masterson enters for Okajima and Papelbon is stretching.
Bottom 7, 9:52 Jason Bay gets his eighth stolen base of the season after Jason Giambi drops the pickoff throw. Giambi’s case for playing time is looking worse by the second. He’s batting .196 after an 0-for-3, two strikeout night so far.
Middle 7, 9:44 Okajima gets Adam Kennedy to ground out. Rally averted. Beckett’s closed book: 6 2/3 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K. 107 pitches, 73 strikes.
Top 7, 9:37 Josh Beckett gives up a base hit and infield single. He’s then taken out for Hideki Okajima and is not happy with the decision. The infield single happened with two down and was a high hop to Beckett. Mark Ellis beat it by a quarter of a step. The frustration is understandable.
End of 6, 9:29 Youkilis pops out to center stranding two more.
9:25 It’s starting to look like it. Dustin Pedroia knocks in Ellsbury easily on a single to left. 5-2, Sox.
Bottom 6, 9:20 Aaron Bates reaches base for the first time in his major league career on a walk. He joins Jacoby Ellsbury in another potential one-out rally. The Sox haven’t had a full-out, Everybody Quit Panicking Already explosion rally yet. Let’s see if this is it.
Middle 6, 9:05 Another nice defensive play — a soft nubber to Pedroia who turns over the double play regardless — gets Josh Beckett out of the sixth unscathed. He’s only thrown 91 pitches and the A’s have had one discernible threat the whole night. Beckett looks like he has the stuff to go the distance if he keeps it up.
Bottom 5, 8:48 But Nick Green will have none of this rally business. He competes with Kennedy’s feet for a groundball and tosses out Orlando Cabrera. Green is starting to look like the best defensive Sox shortstop since Cabrera, too. And Nomar before him. Hey, is Rico Petrocelli in the ballpark? Does he get an at bat for the A’s, too?
Top 5, 8:41 Mark Sweeney finally connects on a Josh Beckett heater and drives it to deep center with two down. Then a Mark Ellis walk and an Adam Kennedy double that scores Sweeney give the A’s a little life, 4-2 Sox.
Top 4, 8:22 Green is presumably forgiven. For the second time tonight he ranges and makes a throw deep in the hole to nab a speedy runner. This time it was Scott Hairston and this time, unlike a similar Jack Cust ranger in the second, Aaron Bates pulled a pants-defying split to get the out call.
8:14 Nick Green leaves the bases loaded with a first-pitch popout, but the offense seems to have reawakened.
8:13 The Sox offense hammers a pitcher out in the bottom of the third for the first time in a while. Edgar Gonzalez enters for Eveland. While they’re changing pitchers, here’s the Twitter Comment from an At Least Semi-Famous Person of the Night, delivered by SNL Head Writer/Weekend Update/Red Sox fan anchor Seth Meyers:
sethmeyers21: Something I’ve now heard over a hundred times on NESN – “David Ortiz will be stopped at third…”
8:10 Jason Varitek’s bases-loaded single (his second base knock of the day) drives in JD Drew and Jason Bay. 4-1 Sox, who are still rolling with a Jacoby Ellsbury single that reloads the bases.
Middle 3, 7:50 Josh Beckett hasn’t given up anything close to a hard hit ball since Scott Hairston’s bomb in the first. He is the anti-Dana Eveland so far and, for the first time in about a week and a half, being the anti-opposing pitcher is a good thing.
7:45 A Nick Green bases-loaded double play scores David Ortiz. 2-1, Sox, who are still rallying. Jacoby Ellsbury just took his 36th base of the year sliding into third. He’s five back of Carl Crawford for the league lead and 18 shy of the Sox’ single-season record held by Harry Hooper.
Bottom 2, 7:36 Jason Bay powers another ball over the monster, then an Ortiz double and a Varitek single. 1-1 and nobody out. Is this one of those “rally” things I’ve been hearing about?
Bottom 1, 7:22 The Sox offense probably has to show some signs of life against Dana Eveland, who hasn’t pitched in two months and, in his six appearances this season, made Vin Mazzarro look like Nolan Ryan. He has a 7.40 ERA and a 1-2 record so far this season.
Not a good start so far, though, as the Sox go down in order.
Top 1, 7:16 Scott Hairston cranks a Josh Beckett fastball to the light scaffolding on the Monster. 1-0, A’s. Not sure when he decided to quit being a utility player, but Hairston is on pace to hit a lot more home runs than his career high of 17 from last year. It’s a nice pickup for the A’s, who got him from the Padres for a couple of minor leaguers over the weekend, and slid him into the three-hole in his first start.