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For a man who said he was not thinking about hitting his 400th home run, Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz sure looked like he was swinging for the fences on Wednesday. Ortiz popped his 21st long ball of the season in the fifth inning of Wednesday 10-4 win over Toronto. His teammates thought that he was trying send it out of the park to reach the milestone in front of the home crowd.
"He was definitely trying to go to the moon. He took some pretty hard swings," said Dustin Pedroia. "But it's coming, obviously. Might be tomorrow."
Like so many players on the precipice of a historical marker, Ortiz downplayed his intentions.
"Right now, that's something I don't really think about," said Ortiz. "I know at some point, when I'm not playing, you start realizing how good a career you probably had. Right now, my focus is just on contributions for this ballclub, trying to win some games and put ourself in a better situation."
Boston starts a four-game set against the Mariners in Seattle on Thursday night. Ortiz has 25 home rune in 104 career games against Seattle. He hit one against the Mariners in an earlier series this season.
The Red Sox routed Ricky Romero and the Toronto Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon, taking a 10-4 win and grabbing their fifth straight series victory.
While a shaky start for Jon Lester put the Sox behind 1-0 headed to the bottom of the first, the Sox didn't let it rattle them in the least. With Ricky Romero coming out wild, throwing just three of his first 16 pitches for strikes, the Boston quickly evened the score with a Daniel Nava walk and Dustin Pedroia double.
A walk to David Ortiz and single from Cody Ross would load the bases for Adrian Gonzalez, who could only manage a relatively weak ground ball to first. Fortunately for the Red Sox, that's where Edwin Encarnacion was waiting, making a mess of things by waving at the ball feebly as it passed right by him and into right field for a two-run, two-base error. A Will Middlebrooks groundout brought home a fourth run before Mike Aviles and Darnell McDonald added singles to make it 6-1.
The next few innings would be rather quieter, as the Sox only pushed one run across in the second and went scoreless in the third despite putting runners on second and third. Jon Lester, meanwhile, recorded nine straight outs to get to the fourth without any further trouble. Jose Bautista would unload a solo shot to kick off the frame, But Lester would respond by retiring the next six batters while the Red Sox scored three between the fourth and fifth, including home run no. 399 for David Ortiz.
Lester would unfortunately not be able to stay solid through the end of the day, as both Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion put good wood on changeups in the sixth. With Encarnacion's swing leaving the ball somewhere in orbit, Lester was left with four earned runs, putting an unfortunate note on what had been a good day.
Still, with the Sox having effectively put the game away in the first, the rest was academic. Lester went through the seventh, handing the ball off to Mark Melancon and Clayton Mortensen, who was spared a home run when Darnell McDonald went to the air to pull back a certain home run off the bat of Kelly Johnson in right field.
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The Red Sox and Blue Jays are set to finish off their three-game series as Jon Lester takes the mound against Ricky Romero.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, End 8th -- The Jays finally get Ortiz, as Perez makes it a pair of 1-2-3 innings, striking out Adrian Gonzalez as well to end the frame. The Sox should wrap this up in the ninth.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, Mid 8th -- Mark Melancon has a clean 1-2-3 inning in the eighth. He's been pitching in mop-up appearances for the most part since his return, but he's got to be earning some trust with his solid performances.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, End 7th -- Luis Perez picks up a 1-2-3 inning for the Blue Jays. Jon Farrell has done a decent job of saving his bullpen in this lost game, with Perez just the third man to take the mound.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, Mid 7th -- Jon Lester works around an Omar Vizquel single before heading back to the dugout and taking his frustrations out on an empty water bottle. Better that than punching one of the Gatorade coolers and breaking your hand.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, End 6th -- Chavez picks up three quick ground outs against the bottom half of the lineup, keeping the Sox at just the 10 runs for now.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 4, Mid 6th -- Jon Lester's good day goes down the drain in a hurry. A double down the right field line by Jose Bautista turns into three bases when Darnell McDonald misplays it, but the error does not end up mattering, as two pitches later Edwin Encarnacion gets a changeup and hits it to the moon, bringing Lester up to four earned runs on the day.
Red Sox 10, Blue Jays 2, End 5th -- Picking up his fourth and fifth strikeouts of the game against Cody Ross and Adrian Gonzalez, Jesse Chavez can feel good about his work in relief of Ricky Romero. Except, that is, for the at bat against David Ortiz. Giving him an 0-1 fastball to hit, Chavez learned why the Jays had been walking him all day, as Ortiz hit home run number 399 to center field, leaving him just one away from the big milestone.
Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 2, Mid 5th -- Jon Lester again enjoys a 1-2-3 inning. A strikeout of J.P. Arencibia is just his third of the night, but he's having a pretty great game since the first all-the-same.
Red Sox 9, Blue Jays 2, End 4th -- Ricky Romero's day mercifully comes to an end in the fourth, but not until the Sox have added two more earned runs to his line. Romero leaves the game after surrendering a leadoff walk and double to David Ortiz and Cody Ross--they've yet to record an out between them--but his replacement, Jesse Chavez, doesn't fare all that much better. A single to Adrian Gonzalez brings in an eighth Boston Run, and Mike Aviles soon makes it nine by dropping a line drive into left that gets past a diving Rajai Davis and to the wall for an RBI double.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 2, Mid 4th -- Jose Bautista puts a dent in the roof on an SUV parked across from Fenway, hitting a majestic homer off of Jon Lester to start the fourth. Still, that's just what Joey Bats will do on any given day, and with Lester following up with three ground balls after having retired the previous nine batters, it's hardly cause for concern.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1, End 3rd -- Some good defense manages to keep runs off the board in the third inning for the Blue Jays. After a walk to Darnell McDonald and a double from Kelly Shoppach with one out, Yunel Escobar makes a great diving grab to keep at least McDonald from scoring on a would-be Daniel Nava single. With Dustin Pedroia giving Ricky Romero his first strikeout in the next at bat, the Sox fail to add to their tally.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1, Mid 3rd -- When the pitch is on, Jon Lester's cutter is a beautiful thing, sliding out of the zone as batters chase helplessly after it. Colby Rasmus is on the receiving end of it this time around, and with Lester grabbing two ground outs to start the inning, it caps off a 1-2-3 third.
Red Sox 7, Blue Jays 1, End 2nd -- Romero can count the one-run inning as a positive, though he's probably lucky to get off the hook so easy. After giving up one-out walks to David Ortiz and Cody Ross, Adrian Gonzalez hit a sharp ground ball down the first base line and into right. Toronto got lucky with the carom, as it came straight to Jose Bautista, but he decided to make the throw home even with no chance to get David Ortiz, causing Gonzalez to head to second. Ross, unfortunately, did not realize where Jose Bautista had thrown and opted to put the brake on, leaving both runners at second and gifting Romero a second out. With Will Middlebrooks grounding out to third, Romero escaped with just the one in.
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1, Mid 2nd -- Jon Lester has a much easier time of things in a 1-2-3 second inning, and perhaps shows he's learned his lesson from the first by getting ahead of Rajai Davis 0-2 and then dropping the curveball down and away for the strikeout. No easy pitches to hit if you don't earn them.
Red Sox 6, Blue Jays 1, End 1st-- Where Lester threw too many strikes, Ricky Romero can't for the life of him find the strike zone in the first. Throwing just 3 of his first 16 pitches for strikes, Romero lets the Sox tie the game with a leadoff walk from Daniel Nava and an RBI double from Dustin Pedroia, and then offers up another walk to David Ortiz and a single to Cody Ross to load the bases.
Adrian Gonzalez, unfortunately, has not read the script, and goes chasing after a high ball to let Ricky Romero finally get ahead of a batter at 1-2. His ensuing ground ball should go for at least one, if not two outs, but Edwin Encarnacion makes an absolute mess of it, letting the easy grounder go right past him into right field for a two-base, two-run error.
Romero finally gets his first out of the inning as Will Middlebrooks grounds out to third, bringing in Cody Ross to make it 4-1, but two pitches later it's Mike Aviles picking up a line drive single to center field, making it 5-1, and stealing second to give the Sox another runner in scoring position with just one out. Darnell McDonald sends a line drive back at Ricky Romero into center field, and at 6-1 the bullpen finally gets warming for Toronto.
Romero finally ends the inning on ground balls from Kelly Shoppach and Daniel Nava, but it's some thirty pitches too late. What an outburst for Boston.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Jon Lester is throwing strikes, but he's throwing too many of them right now. Getting ahead of the first two batters 0-2, Lester offers up a fastball over the inside of the plate which Brett Lawrie clears out for a lead-off double to left, and a hanging curveball which Colby Rasmus grounded between short and second for an RBI single. Lester would settle down some after that, trending more towards the corners, but it's another tough first for the Sox.
The Sox are out to take their fifth straight series win Wednesday afternoon as they send Jon Lester to the hill against Ricky Romero and the Toronto Blue Jays. First pitch is at 1:35 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
While the Sox will keep some of their lineup switches from Tuesday night intact as they take on another southpaw in Romero, they'll bring Daniel Nava back into the fold in the leadoff position and once again turn to Kelly Shoppach behind the plate as they hope to score a few more runs off the starter this time.
Shoppach's absence from the lineup against the left-handed Laffey yesterday was a bit surprising given his domination of opposite-handed pitching, and while it was Jarrod Saltalamacchia who would eventually play the hero by tying the game at 1-1 with a solo shot, it was only once he was turned around to face Jason Frasor that he was able to do so. Shoppach, on the other hand, enjoys a cool .300/.404/.525 line against lefties, and has frankly been one of Boston's better players when he's been given the opportunity.
The parts that will remain the same include Darnell McDonald's presence in the lineup, as Daniel Nava replaces Brent Lillibridge, and Cody Ross batting fourth. He only contributed a single in last night's win, but he's always a threat at the plate, especially against a lefty.
Boston Red Sox (39-35)
Toronto Blue Jays (38-36)
The Red Sox got back to winning Tuesday night behind a strong performance from Daisuke Matsuzka and a late-innings rally off the Toronto bullpen, taking the second game of their series against the Blue Jays 5-1.
It was an ugly first inning for the Red Sox, largely due to the defense. While Daisuke did his part by allowing a leadoff double, the infield didn't help him, as Mike Aviles, trying to catch Brett Lawrie in a baserunning gaffe, threw wide of first, sacrificing the out at first for no return at third. A hard hit ground ball to Will Middlebrooks would be enough to get the run in, as the third baseman made a great diving play, but couldn't finish it off with a great throw, sailing the ball too high for Adrian Gonzalez to get his glove on.
Even as Daisuke settled down, keeping runs off the board into the sixth, when he was joined in the effort by Scott Atchison, the Sox were unable to pick up anything off of Aaron Laffey. Groundballing his way to six scoreless innings, Laffey escaped a jam in the fifth when the Sox stranded Adrian Gonzalez at second after a leadoff single, and then again in the sixth when Rajai Davis bailed him out by gunning down Dustin Pedroia with a great throw home on a David Ortiz double.
With the pen in for the seventh inning, however, things changed quickly. Finally turned around to bat left-handed by Jason Frasor, Jarrod Saltalamacchia got a fastball up over the outside part of the plate and launched a hard-hit solo shot into the Monster seats on a line to tie the game. After Luis Perez gave up a double to Ryan Kalish, the Blue Jays called on David Pauley, and their hopes to win the game went out the window. Hitting Daniel Nava in the leg and walking Mike Aviles, Pauley came up against Dustin Pedroia and had a sinker knocked right back up the middle for a two-run single that made it 3-1.
With Pauley staying in the game, the Sox were allowed to strike again in the eighth. With David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez each doubling off the Monster around a Cody Ross single, and Will Middlebrooks chipping in with a sacrifice fly, the Sox ended the eighth up 5-1, turning a four-run lead over to Alfredo Aceves for a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
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|WP: Andrew Miller (2 - 0)
LP: Luis Perez (2 - 2)
Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is in stable condition in the hospital on Tuesday but has been diagnosed with esophagitis. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Sunday after being scratched from his start. The internal bleeding Buchholz was suffering from was thought to be caused by anti-inflammatory medication, according to reports that came out after Buchholz was admitted to Mass General.
The Red Sox said in a statement:
"Clay Buchholz has esophagitis, which led to an erosion of the esophagus and an associated gastrointestinal bleed. He has been evaluated and observed at Mass General Hospital. Clay is doing well and is expected to make a full recovery." (via Red Sox)
The right-hander is 8-2 on the season with a 5.53 ERA. He has not pitched since June 19 and will finish the month of June at 4-0 with a 2.40 ERA in 30 innings of work.
The Red Sox are out to even up their three-game series against the Blue Jays at one game a piece as they send Daisuke Matsuzaka to the mound Tuesday night to take on Aaron Laffey and the Toronto Blue Jays.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 1, End 8th -- With David Pauley staying in the game, the Sox strike for a couple of big insurance runs. David Ortiz nearly leads off the inning with a home run, but falls just short as his high fly ball clanks high off the Monster for a double. Moving to third on a Cody Ross single, Ortiz is in excellent position to watch Adrian Gonzalez match his wall ball double with one of his own before crossing home plate. Will Middlebrooks adds a sacrifice fly to right off of Scott Richmond to plate Ross,and give the Sox the 5-1 lead.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1, Mid 8th -- Vicente Padilla comes in for Andrew Miller and makes sure that the Jays don't make any inroads on Boston's newfound lead in the eighth, striking out Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in the process. The Sox are three outs away from the win now, headed to the bottom of the eighth.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1, End 7th -- The break through comes in the seventh, as the Sox get to the Toronto bullpen for three big runs! While the second and third are team efforts, Jarrod Saltalamacchia takes care of the first on his own. Finally turned around to bat left-handed against Jason Frasor, Salty gets a fastball belt-high over the outside part of the plate and goes to the opposite field, sending the ball up and over the Monster in a hurry for the equalizing home run.
Things get no better for John Farrell as he turns first to Luis Perez, who gives up a double down the right field line to Ryan Kalish, and then David Pauley, who hits Daniel Nava and walks Mike Aviles to bring the suddenly hot-hitting Dustin Pedroia to the plate. The 0-1 pitch to Pedroia is away, but the second baseman reaches out and puts the head of the bat on the ball, sending a speedy grounder back up the middle. With neither Yunel Escobar or Kelly Johnson able to cover the requisite ground, it gets into center field, bringing two runs home even as Mike Aviles gets caught in a run down to end the inning.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Andrew Miller comes in to pick up the final out of the seventh with Adam Lind on second. Getting ahead 0-2, Miller had Rasmus work the count full before he dropped a slider over the inside part of the plate for the called strike three. An excellent out pitch for a relatively big moment.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- Rajai Davis ends up preserving the Toronto lead in the sixth, leaving the Red Sox offense frustrated once again. Aafter Dustin Pedroia drew a leadoff walk, David Ortiz went to the opposite field for a wall ball double. With the carom getting past Rajai Davis in left, Pedroia rounded third and looked almost guaranteed to score, right up until Davis fired off his cannon. Going all the way through the air, Davis put the throw almost perfectly on target to Jeff Mathis, who just got the tag on Dustin Pedroia as he was sliding in to the opposite side of home plate to record the big out. With Cody Ross grounding out immediately afterwards, the Sox were again held scoreless.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Daisuke struggles a bit as his night comes to an end, as his first walk of the night ends up costing him a runner at third after a two-out double down the left field line. The second hit prompts Bobby Valentine to turn to the bullpen, with Scott Atchison coming on to face Rajai Davis. Atchison needs just two pitches to induce a ground ball, but with an angle that shouts "seeing-eye single," it seems like trouble. Mike Aviles, however, does not let it get by him, ranging to make the grab and then spinning and firing to second just in time to keep the run off the board.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- The Red Sox choke hard after a leadoff double from Adrian Gonzalez. Needing just some productive outs, the Sox produce two ground balls to the left side of the infield (with Jarrod Saltalamacchia having swung at a 3-1 pitch about a foot outside and low) and, after a Darnell McDonald walk, add a pop-up from Brent Lillibridge to end the inning.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Two strikeouts highlight another 1-2-3 inning for Daisuke Matsuzaka. He's struck out five now and walked not a single batter. In other words, he hasn't been himself.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- Unluckily for the Sox, Aaron Laffey is playing at being Cy Young, grabbing three ground outs against the heart of the order to keep the home team trailing.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- A two-out single is all the Jays get, as once again Daisuke has settled down after early trouble. Luckily for the Sox, this time the early trouble was minimal, leaving them just one run down.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Since the leadoff single, Aaron Laffey has now sat down nine straight Red Sox. It's becoming apparent that the key to success against the Sox lies in having mediocre numbers in Triple-A. Or something like that.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Daisuke enjoys his first 1-2-3 inning of the game, striking out Edwin Encarnacion to finish the third. Dustin Pedroia does have to do some cleaning up for Adrian Gonzalez in the process, however. Gonzalez snagged the line drive that started off the inning, but after dropping it clearly on the transfer, the umpire decided not to call the out until (with Colby Rasmus having assumed he was out), Dustin Pedroia scooped up the ball from the ground and jogged over to first to complete what may have been his first time forcing a runner out on said bag.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- This is not a pretty start to Boston's offensive night. The Sox go 1-2-3 in the second, with only a hard hit ground ball up the middle from Adrian Gonzalez to show for it. Unfortunately, Escobar was shading him that way, and it goes for an easy out.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- Daisuke's second inning doesn't go a ton better on the mound, with another pair of hits coming. This time, however, the defense is solid and Matsuzaka adds a picture-perfect pickoff of Rajai Davis in-between the hits to keep runs off the board.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- Despite a good deal of solid contact, the Red Sox can't pull even in the bottom half of the first. Mike Aviles leads off the inning by pulling an outside fastball past Yunel Escobar and into center field for a single. Unfortunately, though, the Sox leave him there. Dustin Pedroia hits a long line drive to left, but has it come just short of the wall, allowing Rajai Davis to settle in front of the scoreboard for the out. Ortiz goes the same way, but without as much distance leading to a rather easier second out. Cody Ross, on the other hand, can't even put the ball in play, ending a seven-pitch battle with a strikeout.
Blue Jays 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Things go sour for Daisuke in a hurry--at least in terms of at bats, as after an eight-pitch battle Brett Lawrie takes the ninth toss and sends it to deep center field for a double. Colby Rasmus would hit an easy ground ball to Mike Aviles, and arguably Daisuke should have been spared a run because of Lawrie's decision to run on it, but Aviles' throw to third goes very wide of the bag, pulling Will Middlebrooks much too far away to make any sort of play. After a pop-out, the defense's troubles continue, as Middlebrooks makes an excellent diving play to take away a ground ball double down the line...and then gives it right back by throwing high over Adrian Gonzalez' head as the run comes in to score.
Matsuzaka manages to work out of the inning without any further trouble, but with one run already in the Sox have to be lamenting their early misadventures in the field.
Brent Lillibridge will make his Red Sox debut Tuesday night as Daisuke Matsuzaka takes on Aaron Laffey and the Toronto Blue Jays in Fenway Park.
Lillibridge, who came to Boston in the Kevin Youkilis trade on Sunday, has had a very rough beginning to the season, particularly against left-handed pitchers like Laffey. Over the last few years, however, he's been much better, hitting southpaws to the tune of an .854 OPS.
Lillibridge is not the only adjustment being made to take on the lefty, however. Darnell McDonald will play next to him in left field, and Cody Ross will move up to the fourth spot in the lineup, replacing Jarrod Saltalamacchia who will hit seventh.
Boston Red Sox (38-35)
Toronto Blue Jays (38-35)
Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Aaron Cook, Franklin Morales.
These are the seven names available to fill five spots in a Red Sox rotation that, while crowded, has been entirely unimpressive thus far this year.
When Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz return, their spots are guaranteed. Buchholz had been pitching too well lately, and Beckett has ended up once again being the team's best starter this year.
So to is Jon Lester's. While he's never had a bad start last as long as this one, the Red Sox are not going to turn away from their would-be ace after just 94 innings of mediocrity. Especially when they've got nowhere else to turn.
That leaves Daisuke Matsuzaka, Felix Doubront, Aaron Cook, and Franklin Morales. The first two have to be considered the "incumbents," and as of a week ago it would seem ridiculous to even talk about Doubront losing his spot, but is that a possibility in the short term?
It's been nearly a month since Doubront's run of consistent starts came to an end. Since then it's been up and down, and frankly mostly down. 10 homers in his last six games and a declining strikeout rate do not help appearances.
Add in the fact that at 24-years-old this is the first exposure to a full Major League starting schedule Doubront has had, and the Sox' tendency to be conservative, and it seems possible that, should Doubront continue to struggle, they may opt to give him a quick break--just a few starts off--while they try to sort out the rest of their starting rotation.
Then there's the slow-motion train wreck that is Daisuke. The Sox won't allow themselves to be fooled by all the promise he shows in his good innings after years of watching him fall apart suddenly and dramatically. His results so far have been unacceptable even on a team with a weak rotation, and with Franklin Morales showing big possibilities and Aaron Cook pulling off the sort of solid start that's expected of him, it's going to be hard justifying Daisuke's continued presence at one of their expense unless something changes soon.
Josh Beckett is due back at the end of the week, while Clay Buchholz will likely be back sometime around the All-Star break. With the spots filling back up, the Sox will have to make some big decisions before too long.
The Red Sox fell to the Blue Jays Monday night, 9-6.
The Sox were put in a very early hole by starter Felix Doubront, who had anything but the sort of bounce-back outing he needed. Surrendering a quick line drive to Brett Lawrie for a leadoff single, Doubront gave Colby Rasmus a curveball that stayed up just enough for the Toronto center fielder to jump out in front of the plate and give it a ride to right field and around the foul pole for a two-run shot.
The troubles for Doubront did not end there, with an error and more hard contact leaving the Sox down by four runs before the inning was over. Quickly, however, the Sox began to dig themselves out. With Dustin Pedroia on third, David Ortiz got a middle-in fastball and launched a no-doubter into the right field bleachers past the bullpens to make it 4-2.
While the Blue Jays would tack on another run in the second, Felix Doubront would settle down for the next three innings, giving the Sox a chance to score two more runs thanks to some bad two-out defense from Toronto, and then tie the game up in the fourth when Cody Ross lead off with a double and was brought home by a Ryan Kalish single.
Unfortunately, that's when momentum shifted dramatically. After looking like a new man for the better part of four innings, Doubront got in trouble with his changeup. One to Ben Francisco was planted off the wall, and another to J.P. Arencibia resulted in a huge home run over the Monster that left the Sox in a 7-5 hole. A bad outing from Matt Albers culminating in a two-run shot from Jose Bautista left the Sox behind 9-5 before the rains came to Fenway causing a lengthy delay.
Those fans resilient enough to wait out the weather would be given some small reward when David Ortiz made it two home runs on the day, crushing a Darren Oliver offering to center field, but that would be all. Casey Janssen came in to pitch the ninth, and made short work of the bottom of the lineup to end the game with a Blue Jays win.
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The Red Sox and Blue Jays are set to get underway in the first game of their three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays.
We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 6, Mid 9th -- Mortensen sits down three more on ground balls in rapid fashion. The Sox are down to their last three outs.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 6, End 8th -- The Blue Jays turn to elder statesman Darren Oliver to record three outs, and are frankly lucky to escape with just the one run. A middle-middle fastball to David Ortiz provides him with the perfect opportunity for his second home run of the night on a bomb to dead center. While Jarrod Saltalamacchia goes down swinging behind him, Adrian Gonzalez gets some great contact and hits a fliner that unfortunately heads directly for Rajai Davis in left field. Will Middlebrooks tries to get the rally going again with a majestic fly ball that's gone in just about any park, but in Fenway is just a double high off the wall. With Cody Ross unable to cash in behind him, the Sox head to the ninth down three.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 5, Mid 8th -- Adam Lind gives a first-pitch fastball a long ride out to center field, but it dies on the track in the triangle, and Mortensen comes back with off-speed stuff to strike out J.P. Arencibia and induce a ground ball from Brett Lawrie to end the frame.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 5, End 7th -- The equivalent of a leadoff double is wasted, as Ryan Kalish singles and then steals second before Nick Punto pops out and Daniel Nava hits a hard grounder that Edwin Encarnacion makes a diving play on both for the out, and to keep Kalish from rounding third. Dustin Pedroia puts the bat on the ball, hitting a solid line drive to right field, but it stays in the air just long enough for Jose Bautista to make the running grab and rob the Sox of a run.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 5, Mid 7th -- The game is finally back on after a very lengthy rain delay, with Clayton Mortensen taking over for Matt Albers and inducing a quick ground ball to end the inning.
Blue Jays 9, Red Sox 5, Top 7th -- And with two outs and two in thanks to a Jose Bautista homer off of Matt Albers, we're in a rain delay sure to prolong the suffering.
Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5, End 6th -- This time the Sox don't respond with any great haste, as Gonazlez, Middlebrooks, and Ross go 1-2-3. Henderson Alvarez is out of the game after wincing in pain following a delivery, but that may not be a good thing for the Sox.
Blue Jays 7, Red Sox 5, Mid 6th -- It looked like Doubront was on a roll, but all-of-a-sudden things just fell apart in the sixth on a pair of changeups. The first thigh-high on the outside corner to Ben Francisco, gets planted off the wall in dead center over a leaping Ryan Kalish for a double. The second, down in the zone but over the plate to J.P. Arencibia is hooked for a majestic homer over the Monster that puts the Jays back up by two.
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 5, End 5th -- The heart of the Red Sox' order goes 1-2-3, as Henderson Alvarez finally seems to be finding some footing. Unfortunately for him, it comes with 93 pitches on his arm, meaning he is not long for this game.
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 5, Mid 5th -- Felix Doubront offers up his first walk, but also records his first strikeout in the fifth, which Dustin Pedroia ends by reaching out to snag another line drive for out number three.
Red Sox 5, Blue Jays 5, End 4th -- The Sox endure a messy offensive inning, but have the tie in hand none-the-less. After a leadoff double from Cody Ross, Ryan Kalish knocks a ground ball single into center field to tie the game before an out is recorded. That's when things get a bit embarassing. On a 1-0 count, the hit-and-run is on, and the Blue Jays opt to pitch out. Kalish manages to realize what's going on before it's too late for him to turn back, but Nick Punto still has to try and make contact. The result is Nick Punto flailing at a pitch a good foot outside of the zone, but even that might be better than the double play that follows. Daniel Nava does try to restart the rally, but his line drive comes just short of catching wall, allowing Rajai Davis to grab the third out.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4, Mid 4th -- You can feel momentum shifting now. Felix Doubront kicks a comebacker over to first, where Gonzalez charges it and applies the tag for the out. J.P. Arencibia makes it two by grounding into an easy out behind him, but there's nothing easy about the out on Brett Lawrie, who hits a quick grounder to the left of short. Nick Punto, however, is up to the task, making his best play of the season by ranging, making the grab on the backhand, and firing a bullet to first to just barely get the out and secure the 1-2-3 inning.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 4, End 3rd -- The Sox close the gap to one run with the help of the Toronto Defense. Dustin Pedroia gets a two-out rally started with a single up the middle--he's suddenly on fire again over the last few games--then steals second, bluffs towards third with Yunel Escobar having come well off the bag in trying to apply the tag, and earns an errant throw that lets him take the extra base. David Ortiz walks behind him, but all this seems to be for nothing as Jarrod Saltalamacchia hits a ground ball to Kelly Johnson...
...Who completely boots it. With the ball heading into short right field, Pedroia scores from third and Ortiz moves into scoring position. Adrian Gonzalez, perhaps having recognized an effective strategy, hits a hard ground ball that reaches Johnson on one short hop and eats him up. It's a very difficult play to make and contact deserving of a single, but after the previous play, there's probably not much slack left for him in Toronto. Ortiz scores from second, and the Sox pull back within a run.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- Felix Doubront finally gets his scoreless inning, though it's not for a lack of bad luck. The first batter of the inning, Edwin Encarnacion, hits a pop-up to the perfect spot in shallow left for a single. The misfortune is mitigated, however, as Saltalamacchia quickly catches him stealing second by a good few feet. A solid hit by Yunel Escobar gives the Jays a second baserunner, this one coming with two outs, but Dustin Pedroia picks a line drive out of the air to end the inning.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, End 2nd -- After the first inning promises fireworks, the second proves a dud for the Red Sox. Will Middlebrooks hits a ground ball that sounded a lot better than it looked, likely breaking his bat in the process for the first out. Cody Ross hits an easy fly ball for the second, and Ryan Kalish grounds weakly to first to complete the 1-2-3 frame.
Blue Jays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 2nd -- Felix has a better second inning, but that's setting a terribly low bar. On the very first pitch of the frame, Ben Francisco hits a long gapper to left to immediately put a runner in scoring position, and while Doubront follows up by inducing two weak ground balls, the second one bounces incredibly high in the air and by the time it comes down behind the mound there's no opportunity to get the out on Brett Lawrie. Colby Rasmus quickly adds to Doubront's misery with a ground ball past a diving Dustin Pedroia, and adds a fifth run to Toronto's total.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 2, End 1st -- The Red Sox aren't all the way back, but they're certainly still in the game. With one out, Dustin Pedroia slices a line drive past a diving Edwin Encarnacion, and moves to third as Jose Bautista fails to come up with it cleanly in right field. The error does not prove important, however, as David Ortiz gets a middle-middle fastball from Henderson Alvarez and completely loses it into the bleachers past the bullpens in center field. It's going to be a high-scoring night in Fenway.
Blue Jays 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Felix Doubront is the most recent Red Sox pitcher to suffer through a terrible first inning. Thing start poorly for Doubront, who has Brett Lawrie jump all over a 1-0 fastball for a single into right field. Relying almost exclusively on off-speed stuff against Colby Rasmus turns out to be a big mistake, as even with the curveball tailing towards the low, outside corner, Rasmus manages to catch it out in front of the plate, and hooks a line drive around the pole in right field for a two-run shot that just barely gets over the wall.
The empty bases may help Doubront settle down some as he gets a ground ball from Jose Bautista, but an error by Will Middlebrooks on a tough hop undoes any good that may have come from it. An Edwin Encarnacion double just barely misses being a homer, ending up high off the wall in left-center, but scores Bautista from first, and a soft single past Dustin Pedroia moves Encarnacion to third, from where he scores on a ground ball out that the Sox can't quite turn two on.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays will kick off their first Fenway series of the year as Felix Doubront takes on Henderson Alvarez. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.
Though the Sox will presumably be out to set a standard lineup now that Kevin Youkilis is gone to Chicago, they've started with a fairly odd arrangement, including Jarrod Saltalamacchia batting cleanup despite a .713 OPS in June. Things have been better of late, however, with the catcher posting a line of .286/.412/.571 over the past week.
The Red Sox will be without Mike Aviles at short, as Nick Punto gets a rare start. While he's still sporting some pretty awful numbers for 2012, he's been amazing in his limited June at bats--a trend which will hopefully continue against Henderson Alvarez.
Boston Red Sox (38-34)
Toronto Blue Jays
The Red Sox and Blue Jays are set to square off in what promises to be a high-scoring series in Fenway Park.
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