The Red Sox and Rays are set to go at it in Tampa Bay, with each side looking to extend a winning streak.
For the Rays, this is a chance to possibly grab sole possession of the top spot in the AL East as the Baltimore Orioles take on Kansas City. For the Red Sox, it's all about necessity. After such a terrible start to the season, the team simply can't afford to lose momentum.
We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it goes down in Tropicana Field.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, Final -- A two-out baserunner is all the Sox get as the winning streak comes to an end. On a balk, no less...
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- Scary stuff in the eighth, as Will Rhymes collapses at first after being hit in the arm with a fastball. It's not clear what exactly caused his collapse, other than that it was presumably connected to the hit by pitch. He would be carted off the field.
Another pair of balks from Morales helped move a runner to third with one out, but Scott Atchison managed to strike out Jeff Keppinger on three pitches, and got a ground ball from Elliot Johnson to end the inning.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- The Sox just saw their best chance go wanting, with Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and Adrian Gonzalez going down in order. They'll have to make something happen with the bottom half of the lineup if they want to keep their winning streak alive.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- Matt Albers allows a very long fly ball to B.J. Upton, but Marlon Byrd makes a nice play, racing back and twisting around to make the grab as he banged into the wall in center field. A two-out walk to Matt Joyce gets Albers out for Franklin Morales, who gives up the second balk of the game before striking out Carlos Pena to end the threat.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, Mid 7th -- The Sox get a baserunner in the form of Mike Aviles against Jake McGee, but he's quickly erased as Mauro Gomez, pinch hitting for Ryan Sweeney, grounds into a double play on the first pitch he sees.
Rays 2, Red Sox 1, End 6th -- The Sox concede the lead, but it could have been a much bigger inning. A couple of ground ball singles are all it takes for Bobby Valentine to turn to the bullpen--Andrew Miller in this case. A fly ball wasn't likely to score Matt Joyce from third, but Cody Ross stumbles a bit at the end and gives him a chance to break for home on the sacrifice and score. Miller ends up loading the bases, but strikes out Elliot Johnson to end the inning without further damage.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, Mid 6th -- Jarrod Saltalamacchia stays hot with a two-out single, but Cody Ross goes down to end the inning.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, End 5th -- Shockingly enough, Clay Buchholz just keeps rolling right along, throwing a 1-2-3 fifth inning on nine pitches with a strikeout of Dan Johnson. By far the best game we've seen from Clay all year, at least through five innings.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, Mid 5th -- The top of the order gifts Hellickson an 8-pitch innings. Not the sort of thing we've grown to expect from them of late.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, End 4th -- The Rays work their own two out rally, with the bottom of the order picking up back-to-back singles off of Clay Buchholz before he battles back to retire Jose Molina looking at strike three.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, Mid 4th -- The Sox get their run back against Jeremy Hellickson in the fourth, as his luck runs out a little bit. This time the trouble starts with two outs, as Jarrod Saltalamacchia laces a double down the line in right. A walk from Cody Ross makes it two baserunners, and Daniel Nava ends up making good on one, dropping a flair into left which a diving Matt Joyce can't make the play on, bringing Salty home to score. Mike Aviles works a long at bat behind him, but ends up grounding out to end the frame.
Rays 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Clay Buchholz settles down in the third, working around a leadoff bunt hit down the third base line with a couple of strikeouts and a ground ball. It's very good to see Clay finally getting some swings and misses, since the strikeout has been almost completely absent from his repertoire this year.
Rays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- A scoring opportunity goes by the wayside in frustrating fashion for the Red Sox, as Jeremy Hellickson allows hard hit ball after hard hit ball and still manages to strand Mike Aviles, at second via a leadoff double, on the basepaths thanks to the defenders being placed perfectly every time. I don't know what percentage of Hellickson's success is owed to his surgically implanted horseshoe and what percent comes from the Rays' defense, but it's not fun to watch for an opposing fan.
Rays 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- Amazingly, the Red Sox have balked in another run. This one came after a walk, single, hit by pitch, and key double play ball left runners on the corners with two outs. Throwing to first without really stepping off the mound, Clay let Carlos Pena come home for free before striking out Jose Molina at the plate.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 2nd -- Who is this and what has he done with Jeremy Hellickson? While Saltalalamacchia - Ross - Nava is not exactly the best portion of the lineup, especially when it comes to consistent contact, seeing Hellickson retire all the with strikeouts is not at all encouraging. Hopefully that means he's used up his allotment for the day, but that doesn't tend to be how it works...
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, End 1st -- Clay Buchholz has a very quick start, getting the first two outs on just seven pitches with an easy fly out from Ben Zobrist and ground out from B.J. Upton. Matt Joyce gets ahead in the count, 2-0, but makes it a clean inning with a pop fly for out number three.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- The Sox make Jeremy Hellickson work through some long at bats to get out of the first unharmed. Dustin Pedroia placed a nice ground ball through the left side of the infield for a single to get the Sox their first baserunner, and David Ortiz drew a walk to make it two. A big swing from Adrian Gonzalez sounded good off the bat, but the fly ball died very early in the outfield, and Will Middlebrooks struck out watching a fastball as Hellickson's pitch count brushed 25.