Game over: Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Alfredo Aceves, despite loading the bases, came into finish off the game and retired Hideki Matsui on a long fly ball to right field.
It was a non-save situation, but Bobby Valentine wanted to make sure he escaped Tampa winning two out of three and Alfredo Aceves made that an issue. But it was good way to start the second half of the season. The Sox pounded James Shields and Rays pitching for 14 hits — three by Jacoby Ellsbury and Will Middlebrooks — and home runs by Mike Aviles and Daniel Nava. The Sox now return home to face Kevin Youkilis and the White Sox. Josh Beckett recovered from a bad start to pitch six strong innings, striking out seven and walking three on eight hits. The game was played in before 26,131 at Tropicana Field.
Top 9th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Wade Davis pretty tough as he struck out the side.
Bottom 8th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Looks like Melancon will likely be the guy to slip into Scott Atchison’s role. He pitched another solid inning in the eighth.
Top 8th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Jacoby Ellsbury reached with his third hit, but was erased on an inning-ending DP by David Ortiz.
Bottom 7th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3:Nice job by Mark Melancon cleaning up Junichi Tazawa’s mess. Tazawa, activated before the game for Scott Atchison (forearm strain), allowed a single by Carlos Pena and then a single by Ben Zobrist sending Pena to third. But Zobrist, who had already made one baserunning blunder earlier in this series, found himself caught between first and second and no way to get back. Cody Ross threw to cutoff man Mike Aviles, who threw to Adrian Gonzalez who applied the tag for the first out. With Pena on third, Valentine didn’t want to take any chances. He bought in Mark Melancon who struck out B.J. Upton and got Hideki Matusi to ground out.
Top 7th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3: Sox went down in order against Burke Badenhop. The line on Beckett: 6 IP, 8H, 3R, 2BB, 7K’s, 104 pitches, 67 strikes.
Bottom 6th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3 Beckett spotted the Rays a two-out double by No. 9 hitter Elliot Johnson, but got through the sixth unharmed.
Top 6th: Red Sox 7, Rays 3 Cody Ross sac fly plated the seventh run after the Sox loaded them up when Ellsbury singled, Nava walked and Ortiz, reached on an infield single.
Bottom 5th: Red Sox 6, Rays 3:Someone must have corrected something in Beckett because he has now returned to form. Two more K’s in a 1-2-3 inning. Beckett fanned four in a row at one point.
Top 5th: Red Sox 6, Rays 3: Daniel Nava, who could be a candidate for demotion to Pawtucket when Carl Crawford returns to the lineup Monday, homered to right off James Shields to put the Sox ahead. It was his fourth homer. Nava had been in a 7-for-61 slump. Ross continued the inning with a single through the right side of the infield, breaking a 1-for-26 skid. After Jarrod Saltalamacchia walked to load the bases, Will Middlebrooks smashed a single past shortstop scoring two runs, his third hit. That’s why you traded Kevin Youkilis folks.
Bottom 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 3 Beckett struck out the side and allowed a single to Will Rhymes, but seems to have gotten his act together.
Top 4th: Red Sox 3, Rays 3: This is now their trademark – leaving runners on base. After Will Middelbrooks doubled to left field, Mike Aviles reached on a bunt single. Two on, nobody out is a recipe for disaster for the Red Sox. Pedro Ciriaco struck out and Jacoby Ellsbury knocked into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
Bottom 3rd:Red Sox 3, Rays 3:Both pitchers are really struggling with their command today. Beckett is so slow. He’s been clocked at an average 25.5 seconds between pitches this season (highest in Majors) and I would guess he’s been slower than that today. He walked Hideki Matsui and then retired the side.
Top 3rd: Red Sox 3, Rays 3: Adrian Gonzalez singled for the second straight time with one out, but Cody Ross and Jarrod Saltalamacchia couldn’t do much against James Shields to forward the inning.
Bottom 2nd: Red Sox 3, Rays 3: Every inning that Beckett doesn’t allow more damage is a plus for the Red Sox. Beckett survives the Rays having runners at second and third. Real struggle for Beckett so far.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 3, Rays 3: Mike Aviles took James Shields deep to center for his 10th homer with Will Middlebrooks (single) aboard. Jarrod Saltalamacchia struck out for the 13th time in his last 17 at-bats. The Sox also wasted a Jacoby Ellsbury two-out double.
Bottom 1st: Rays 3, Red Sox 1: Not what the Red Sox needed – another terrible start, this one by Josh Beckett. The Rays scored three times. It started with three straight singles by Will Rhymes, Carlos Pena, and Ben Zobrist, the last one an off of Beckett’s glove, which scored a run. After Beckett struck out B.J. Upton and Hideki Matsui, he hit Jeff Keppinger with a pitch. Desmond Jennings followed with a two-run single.
Top 1st: Red Sox 1, Rays 0 James Shields walked Daniel Nava and David Ortiz and Nava rode home on Adrian Gonzalez’s single to left. Ortiz was thrown out trying to get to third. With Gonzalez at second base, Shields struck out Cody Ross to end the threat. Shields threw 29 pitches.