Game over: Red Sox 4, Rays 3: Junichi Tazawa preserved the one-run lead in his first strong outing as the team’s closer. He allowed a single to right to Luke Scott, but then got Ben Zobrist to line out to shortstop. The biggie was striking out Evan Longoria. He went 1-2 to Yunel Escobar, before the temperamental SS singled through the 5-6 hole. James Loney, 0-for-3 coming into the at-bat, got behind 0-2 quickly and then grounded out to shortstop to end the game. The game took 3:43 to play before 16,055. The Red Sox took two out of three and now head to Minnesota.
Top 9th: Red Sox 4, Rays 3 – Fernando Rodney didn’t have it. He walked Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz to start the ninth. But he found his composure in striking out Mike Napoli. Daniel Nava walked to load the bases. With one out, Stephen Drew was fooled on three pitches, two of them change-ups and struck out. That left it up to Will Middlebrooks.
After showing him a 100 mph fastball for a ball, Middlebrooks cleared the bases with a double to left center on a change-up that rolled to the wall, scoring all three runs to give the Red Sox the lead. After Rodney walked Saltalamacchia, Joe Maddon had to pull his closer. Lefty Alex Torres, just called up from Durham to replace the injured David Price (triceps strain), came on to retire Ellsbury (0 for 5).
Bottom 8th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 – Rays just want to get to Fernando Rodney.
Top 8th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 – Jacoby Ellsbury went 0-for-4 as the Sox go down in order.
Bottom 7th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 – Three-up, three down for the Rays vs. Craig Breslow.
Top 7th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 – Mike Napoli started the inning with a leadoff walk, but the Sox couldn’t do much especially when hatrd-throwing lefty Jake McGee came on to get Drew and Middlebrooks.
Bottom 6th: Rays 3, Red Sox 1 – After issuing his sixth walk to James Loney on four pitches, Doubront exited the game. Clayton Mortensen induced a fielder’s choice grounder by Matt Joyce, pinch-hitting for Sean Rodriguez with the runner eliminated at second base. Lobaton walked and after a passed ball by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Ryan Roberts also walked. Desmond Jennings singled in a run. This brought Andrew Miller in. He singled to right, driving in the second run.
Top 6th: Red Sox 1, Rays 1 – With two outs, Dustin Pedroia singled, but David Ortiz grounded out into the shift.
Bottom 5th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 – The Rays draw a pair of walks against Doubront, but he’s able to keep it tied, getting Yunel Escobar to pop out to shorstop in short rightfield ending the potential threat.
Top 5th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 – Will Middlebrooks drew a walk, but Alex Cobb still seems very much in control.
Bottom 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 – Doubront has his best inning yet with a pair of Ks to Sean Rodriguez and Jose Lobaton, and a ground ball out by Ryan Roberts. What ever Doubront worked on on the side with Juan Nieves this week seems to be working.
Top 4th: Rays 1, Red Sox 1 – David Ortiz roped a single to right field which bounced against the wall on a hop scoring Shane Victorino who had doubled.
Bottom 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 – Evan Longoria managed a single vs. Doubront, but the lefty got the next two hitters to stop any momentum.
Top 3rd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 – Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks especially, both struck the ball well toward center but both balls were caught for outs and Cobb has now pitched to nine batters in three innings.
Bottom 2nd: Rays 1, Red Sox 0 – Ryan Roberts took Doubront deep on a 2-0 pitch to left-center to give the Rays the early lead. Doubront had retired the first two batters, but left the 2-0 pitch too far out over the plate. It was the third homer for Roberts.
News update via Pete Abraham: Closer Joel Hanrahan had Tommy John surgery: It was the worst-case scenario for righthander, who went in for surgery by Dr. James Andrews on Thursday. In addition to flexor tendon surgery, Hanrahan required Tommy John reconstruction surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. He also had bone spurs removed.
Hanrahan is expected to miss 12-15 months recovering from the surgery. The 31-year-old will be a free agent after the season. Hanrahan, who was obtained from Pittsburgh in December, appeared in only nine games for the Red Sox.
Top 2nd: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 – Cobb, with a nice changeup/sinker combo, struck out Napoli and Nava on route to a 1-2-3 inning. He’s retired all six batters he’s faced.
Bottom 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 – Luke Scott reached on an infield single to shortstop in the shift. Felix Doubront, for whom this was an important start, then walked Ben Zobrist, got Evan Longoria to fly out to center. he lost a real battle with Yunel Escobar who fouled off a few pitches on 3-2 before Doubront thought he had the SS struck out with a nice curveball, that was just a little bit high called Ball Four by home plate umpire Joe West. With the bases loaded and two out, James Loney, the league’s top hitter, took a called third strike to end the threat.
Top 1st: Red Sox 0, Rays 0 – Alex Cobb, who became the first major league pitcher to strike out 13 batters in less than five innings in his last start vs. San Diego (4-2/3 innings), struck out two (Ellsbury and Pedroia) of the three Red Sox batters he faced.