The Red Sox are out to make it two straight against the Tampa Bay Rays as they send Felix Doubront to the mound against Jeremy Hellickson and the Rays. We'll keep you up to date on all the action as it goes down in Tropicana.
Red Sox 7, Rays 5, End 8th -- Vicente Padilla comes in to face Jeff Keppinger, surrenders a single, and then is unceremoniously yanked for Craig Breslow, who does a much better job of things. Two ground balls give the Sox two shots to turn the double play, and on the second attempt they succeed, ending the inning with their two-run lead intact.
Too many instances of two to count there.
Red Sox 7, Rays 5, Mid 8th -- A one-out walk from Jacoby Ellsbury combined with a wild pitch put some pressure on the Rays, but Dustin Pedroia can't bring the run in, leaving the Rays still just two runs back headed to the eighth.
Red Sox 7, Rays 5, End 7th -- Clayton Mortensen suffers a two-out meltdown much like Davis', loading the bases and forcing the Sox to turn to Junicihi Tazawa. Tazawa can't get the out immediately, surrendering a two-run single to Ben Zobrist, but he does manage to at least maintain the lead, inducing a ground ball from Evan Longoria to end the frame.
Red Sox 7, Rays 3, Mid 7th -- For a series where it was supposed to be nearly impossible to score, the Sox have really done a pretty good job of putting runs on the board. Wade Davis gets unsettled with two outs on the board, offering up back-to-back walks to Cody Ross and James Loney, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia shoots a single through the left side to plate a fifth Red Sox run. Ryan Lavarnway gets hold of a fastball behind him, launching it deep into the gap for a double, bringing home two more.
Red Sox 4, Rays 3, End 6th -- Doubront likely ends his night strong with another 1-2-3 frame. Given the 101 pitches on his arm, that'll probably be it for him today.
Red Sox 4, Rays 3, Mid 6th -- More defensive troubles for the Rays leave the Red Sox ahead in the sixth. With two down and two on by way of ground ball singles, Pedro Ciriaco hits a ground ball to Sean Rodriguez at third, who just can't make the throw. The ball goes skipping past Jeff Keppinger at first and into first base coach Alex Ochoa. Ryan Lavarnway is able to score, but Ochoa getting in the way knocks the ball down for Keppinger, who throws out Scott Podsednik trying to score a fifth run. Still, it's enough for the lead.
Rays 3, Red Sox 3, End 5th -- Doubront gives up another walk and a line drive, but the latter goes for an out and he manages to get through the inning in four at bats. It would be nice to put this together with his last outing and call it progress, but watching it happen it doesn't really look like any actual progress has been made. He's just facing a weak lineup tonight.
Rays 3, Red Sox 3, Mid 5th -- And there's the sustained offense, not only disrupting Hellickson, but knocking him out of the game. Jose Iglesias leads off the inning with a walk, and after two quick singles Joe Maddon decides to go the conservative route and lift him. A sacrifice fly is good to bring in the tying run, though Jake McGee gets the three outs the Rays need before the Sox can really capitalize on the situation.
Rays 3, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Doubront bounces back with a strong fourth, striking out two batters although it took him a while (and a fair few balls) to do so. Jose Iglesias adds the other out by starting it off with a pretty bit of defensive work to get Ben Francisco.
Rays 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- A leadoff double from Cody Ross and follow-up single from James Loney puts the Sox on the board in the fourth, but they're going to need a more sustained attack to disrupt Hellickson's rhythm.
Rays 3, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- It's becoming downright unconscionable to keep pitching Doubront. That he's already pitched more innings than ever before in his career and many more than he managed in 2011 is bad enough when you don't consider the fact that, due to his lack of efficiency, his arm has had to endure the workload of something like 30 extra innings on top of that. Losing control of the zone yet again, Doubront offers up three straight walks to load the bases with one out, gives up a single to Ben Zobrist to make it 2-0, and then a sacrifice fly to make it three runs in the inning. This time it doesn't even wait until he's at 50 pitches. It's getting worse.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 3rd -- Things get dangerous for Jeremy Hellickson when a high throw to first allows Jacoby Ellsbury to reach base, and then an errant pickoff play lets him move all the way to third. This comes with two outs, however, making Dustin Pedroia's fly ball to center an inning-ender.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, End 2nd -- The Rays get a walk from Ben Francisco, giving them their first baserunner of the night. But it comes with two outs and, in the end, does little more than build the old pitch count up a bit.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 2nd -- The Sox mount the first real threat of the night, with Cody Ross getting a leadoff single over the head of Ben Zobrist at short. The next two batters go down in short order, but Ryan Lavarnway manages to work a walk to extend the inning for another batter before Scott Podsednik goes down looking at strike three.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, End 1st -- It's unusual that Felix Doubront emerges from the first the more efficient pitcher, but he's managed that tonight. Getting his first out on one pitch, Doubront ends the 1-2-3 frame with just 13 on his arm.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- The Sox go down in order, but it's not a completely unproductive first inning against Jeremy Hellickson. Needing ten pitches to strike out Pedro Ciriaco and Jacoby Ellsbury, Hellickson would likely have preferred a quick at bat against Dustin Pedroia. Instead, even though he eventually gets the ground ball out to third, he needs to throw 12 pitches to get their, leaving his pitch count nice and high through one. This is someone the Sox would be glad to have out of the game nice and early.