Game over: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Impressive series opener for the Sox as they handcuff the Rays, retiring the final 14 batters in order. Boston has won three straight and six of its last seven. They’re now 7.5 games out of first place and two games out in the wild card.
Back with more later on.
Middle of the 9th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Pedroia (3 for 5) doubled with one out but Varitek fanned and Youkilis flied to right. The Sox will turn the lead over to Daniel Bard.
Top of the 9th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Nice democratic inning for Oki, who induced fly balls to center, left and right. Sox have set down 11 batters in a row.
Middle of the 8th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Hermida singled with one out. But Scutaro again grounded into a double play. The Rays had had effective relief pitching tonight for the most part.
Top of the 8th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Okajima had a drama-free inning, setting down the side in order. Since Pena hit that home run, Sox pitching has retired 10 of the next 11 batters.
Middle of the 7th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
The Sox went in order against Andy Sonnanstine. The former starter has a 4.24 ERA in relief. Given how the Rays maximize their assets, I bet they trade him to a team that needs a starter. He’d help the Mets.
Hideki Okajima in for the Sox.
Top of the 7th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
If that was it for Buchholz, he finished strong. Longoria flied to center, Jason grouned to first and Blalock grounded deep in the hole at short. Scutaro, who knows how to play on turf, bounced a perfect throw to Youkilis.
Buchholz’s line: 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K. He has thrown 108 pitches, 69 strikes. Buchholz has 15 strikeouts against two walks in his last two outings.
Middle of the 6th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
The Sox went in order as Ellsbury grounded out for the fourth time, Pedroia grounded to second and Varitek flied to right. Ellsbury is 1 for 13 since his return.
Top of the 6th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Bartlett had a bloop double to right with one out. But Buchholz got Crawford to ground to third and struck out Zobrist again. Buchholz is at 96 pitches, however, so he may have only one more inning in him.
X-rays on the left big toe of Victor Martinez were negative. Good news for the Sox. He left the game in the third inning after being hit with a foul tip while catching in the second inning.
Middle of the 5th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
Beltre (3 for 3, now hitting .337) led off with a single. But Hermida lined to right before Scutaro bounced into a double play.
Top of the 5th: Red Sox 6, Rays 1
They’re happy in Haverhill and Northeastern as Carlos Pena just crushed a homer to right field. Carlos has been struggling this season (.187 coming into the game, 8 for his last 80) but he got all of a high changeup.
Middle of the 4th: Red Sox 6, Rays 0
Davis got two outs before Varitek singled. In came Lance Cormier to face Youkilis. Out went the baseball to left field.
Youk now has seven homers and 17 RBI in 22 games this month. All the Rays fans in the crowd are sitting on their cowbells at this point. Shame to see so many empty seats for the team with the best record in the game.
Top of the 4th: Red Sox 4, Rays 0
Big-time inning for Buchholz there as Crawford grounded to first before Zobrist and Longoria struck out. After your team scores a few runs, a pitcher wants to have a quick inning and get the offense back out there. That’s exactly what he did.
Middle of the 3rd: Red Sox 4, Rays 0
The Sox scored some more runs but lost their catcher.
Pedroia singled before Martinez walked with one out. But after limping to first, Martinez was replaced by Jason Varitek. Martinez took a foul ball off the lower part of his left leg in the second inning during Brignac’s at-bat and obviously it’s bothering him.
We’ll have more here as it becomes available.
Youkilis walked to load the bases. An overanxious David Ortiz swung at the first pitch and fouled out. But Drew walked to force in a run. Beltre then hit a slow grounder to third that Longoria picked up and dropped. Beltre was credited with a single.
Hermida, Mr. Two-Out RBI, singled to left field to drive in another. Scutaro flied to center. Davis threw 40 pitches that inning and is over 80. He will be cooked soon.
Top of the 3rd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0
Buchholz has been an escape artist so far as he left two runners stranded again. Pena walked with one out and went to third when Upton singled up the middle. When Ellsbury unsuccessfully tried to throw Pena out at third, an alert Upton took second.
But Buchholz struck out Brignac and Bartlett to end the inning. Impressive work by him so far. The Rays have four hits and a walk in two innings and somehow haven’t scored.
Middle of the 2nd: Red Sox 1, Rays 0
David Ortiz drilled a Davis pitch into the seats in right field for his eighth home run this month. Beltre singled with one out but Hermida and Scutaro flied to left. Love watching Carl Crawford play left field. He covers a ton of ground. He and Ichiro are the two best corner OFs around, I think.
Top of the 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Bucholz allowed singles by Crawford, Zobrist and Longoria to load the bases with one out. But Jaso grounded up the middle and Scutaro stepped on the bag and fired to first to end the inning.
Scutaro also kept Longoria’s grounder deep in the hole from going into left field, saving a run.
Middle of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
Pedroia singled with one out, snapping an 0-for-19 skid. But first Martinez and then Youkilis grounded into force plays.
Top of the 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0
We’re about to get under way here in St. Petersburg. A young lady named Katie Bryant just did the best version of the National Anthem I’ve heard this season. Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman threw out the first pitch.
Hope you enjoy the game. Maybe two Boston teams can beat two Florida teams tonight. Go C’s.