Jarrod Saltalamacchia gives the Sox a walk-off win, hitting a two-run home run off Rays closer Fernando Rodney, his first blown save of the season. Nava opened the inning with a walk, and was bunted to second by Nick Punto, who was pinch-hitting for Shoppach. Saltalamacchia, pinch-hitting for Byrd, drove Rodney’s 0-1 pitch over the bullpens and into the stands, his first walk-off home run in his career.
Middle of 9th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Rich Hill replaces Miller for the Sox, and after Joyce grounds to first, Zobrist walks. Zobrist steals second, and moves to third when Scott grounds out to first. Hill helps his cause by grabbing a hard comebacker by Sutton, flipping to Youkilis for the third out. Sox will try to rally against Fernando Rodney, who’s a perfect 15-for-15 in save opportunities.
End of 8th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Peralta sets down the Sox in order: Youkilis strikes out, Podsednik (pinch-hitting) popped out to third, and Middlebrooks flew out to left.
Middle of 8th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Beckett’s day is done, with Andrew Miller coming on in relief. He retires the Rays in order: Johnson grounds to short, Pena pops out to Pedroia in short right, and Upton strikes out swinging. Sox about to get their shot at Rays reliever Joel Peralta in the bottom of the eighth.
End of 7th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1: The only extra-base hit in the game belongs to Shoppach, who led off with a Wall-ball double. But the Sox couldn’t get him home: Byrd struck out looking,Aviles flew out to center, and after Pedroia singled to left (sending Shoppach to third; it’s the fourth time Pedroia’s been on tonight), Ortiz grounded out to shortstop Johnson, who was playing to the right of the second-base bag.
Middle of 7th: Rays 2, Red Sox 1: Rays score twice and promptly take the lead, with Sox foil Luke Scott knocking in the go-ahead run on a single that gets through the right-side shift. Upton led off with a single down the left-field line, then Joyce singled him to third. Zobrist hit a sacrifice fly to left field, which tied the score. Scott then untied it. After he stole second, Sutton struck out swinging, and Rodriguez reached on a fielding error by Middlebrooks at third. With runners at the corners, Molina strikes out swinging, ending what was a 27-pitch inning by Beckett.
End of 6th: Red Sox 1, Rays 0: Sox finally break through, with Middlebrooks scoring Ortiz on a two-out single that second baseman Rodriguez can’t handle. It could have been more, but Pedroia got thrown out at home plate by Upton on a one-out single by Gonzalez. Pedroia led off with a walk — the third time in six innings the Sox have put the leadoff man on — and Ortiz followed with a sharp single to left. Youkilis lined out to short, and Gonzalez then singled to center, with Upton’s one-bounce throw to Molina cutting down Pedroia easily. But Middlebrooks hit a hard shot up the middle that Rodriguez got his glove ono but couldn’t field. Nava ended the inning with a groundout to third. So, the Sox score first. The way Beckett has pitched, will it be enough?
Middle of 6th: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Beckett has retired the last 11 batters. He throws Molina out on a comebacker, Johnson flies out to center, and Pena grounds out to Youkilis at first.
End of 5th: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Still no score as Price continues to match Beckett, zero for zero. Nava leads off with a walk and moves to second after a sacrifice bunt by Shoppach. But two groundouts — Byrd to third, Aviles to short — ends the inning.
Middle of 5th: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Scott flies out to Nava on the first pitch, Sutton strikes out swinging, and Rodriguez grounds to second. Beckett has faced just one over the minimum, and has needed only 58 pitches to get through five innings.
End of 4th: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Price is proving just as difficult to figure out. He gets the Sox in order for the second time tonight: Youkilis grounds to third, Gonzalez strikes out swinging for the second straight time, and Middlebrooks grounds out to third.
Middle of 4th: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Beckett continues to cruise, getting Upton on a groundout to short, Joyce on a slow roller along first that Shoppach grabs and applies the tag on, and Zobrist on a long fly to center, with Byrd jumping on the warning track.
End of 3rd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Not much offense to this point, although the Red Sox squander a one-out single by Aviles. Marlon Byrd struck out to start the inning, and after Aviles reached, Pedroia hit into a force play, wiping out Aviles. Ortiz flew out to right.
Middle of 3rd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Rays finally get a baserunner, with Jose Molina singling after Sean Rodriguez grounded to short. Elliot Johnson flew out to center, and Pena grounded out to second.
End of 2nd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Sox waste a lead-off single by Will Middlebrooks; Daniel Nava strikes out looking, then Kelly Shoppach hits into a double play.
Middle of 2nd: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Six up, six down for Tampa so far. Birthday boy Ben Zobrist (30 today) flies out to center, then fan favorite Luke Scott (kidding) flies to the base of the Wall in left-center. Drew Sutton grounds to second.
End of 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Price, who is 6-4 in his career against the Sox (12 previous starts), gets out of a two-on, two-out jam to keep it scoreless. Mike Aviles flew out to right, then Pedroia lined a sharp single to left-center. David Ortiz flew out to left, Youkilis worked a walk, but Adrian Gonzalez struck out swinging to end the threat.
Middle of 1st: Rays 0, Red Sox 0: Beckett starts strong, striking out Carlos Pena, getting B.J. Upton to softly line out to Dustin Pedroia, and retiring Matt Joyce on a hard liner to Kevin Youkilis, playing first base tonight.
Pregame: Wondering if there will be any residual effect from last night’s ninth-inning dust-up? We’re about to find out. Josh Beckett (4-4, 4.38 ERA) takes the hill for the Sox having won his last two starts in dominant fashion: 14 2/3 innings pitched, 11 hits, one earned run. He’ll be opposed by Rays ace David Price (6-3, 2.88 ERA). Here we go.