The Red Sox turn to Daisuke Matsuzaka to get them a series win against a free-falling Rays team Wednesday night. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Tropicana Field.
Rays 12, Red Sox 3, Mid 8th -- Nothing doing for the Triple-A lineup now in the game, as the Sox go in order again. Nearly through with this blowout.
Rays 12, Red Sox 3, End 7th -- Both teams make wholesale substitutions with the game decided. Atchison, meanwhile, picks up another 1-2-3 frame.
Rays 12, Red Sox 3, Mid 7th -- This game is, thankfully, being quick about hurtling towards its inevitable conclusion now that the Sox are in an impossibly bad position. They go 1-2-3 in the seventh, leaving them three outs away from defeat.
Rays 12, Red Sox 3, End 6th -- Well, that happened. Alfredo Aceves dispels any hopes of such a "strong finish" by coughing up a walk, single, and triple-turned-homer by an errant throw into third which allowed Desmond Jennings to scamper home, making it three runs in off the long reliever with not an out recorded. Aceves was left in to allow another double before Daniel Bard was called upon to perform his little sideshow act of the Broken Man, giving up three walks, a single, and a sacrifice fly. Even the usually solid Andrew Miller could not stop the attack, walking in two straight runs.
The sheer volume and length of the attack made the eventual conclusion all the more amusing, as Scott Atchison threw one pitch and got a double play ball to end the inning.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 6th -- 1-2-3 go the Sox in the sixth, with nothing to show from the middle of the order.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, End 5th -- Alfredo Aceves continues to record outs, allowing just an Evan Longoria walk. This was the role where he was so strong last year, though he's likely forced his way out of Boston with his antics this season strong finish or not.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 5th -- Chris Archer has settled in well enough since his early struggles. A Jacoby Ellsbury single is all the Sox get in another scoreless inning, leaving their deficit stuck at two.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, End 4th -- The good news is that Daisuke won't be here next year. Sandwiched around a Matt oyce base hit, long balls from Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Pena leave the park before an out is recorded, and with Jose Molina adding a double that missed being a third homer by inches, Matsuzaka is unceremoniously yanked from the game. Alfredo Aceves finishes the inning without further incident, but the damage is done.
Red Sox 3, Rays 2, Mid 4th -- Daniel Nava draws a two-out walk--his first in 33 AB dating back to late July--but it's the only baserunner hey manage in their least threatening offensive inning thus far.
Red Sox 3, Rays 2, End 3rd -- Nothing is ever easy with Daisuke. Jose Iglesias makes a good play just to get to a well-placed ground ball from Desmond Jennings, but his leaping throw to first arrives late, giving the Rays a leadoff baserunner. Jennings quickly steals second, and with one down is driven in by a sharp hit from Ben Zobrist, leaving the Sox' lead at just the one run.
Red Sox 3, Rays 1, Mid 3rd -- The weak Sox lineup continues to give the strong Rays rotation fits, and it's really a glorious thing to watch. This time it's a Jose Iglesias walk, of all things, that starts it off. Pedro Ciriaco picks up his second hit behind Iglesias, and Jacoby Ellsbury knocks one run in with a ball back up the middle. The Rays fail to turn two on Dustin Pedroia's ground ball, allowing a second run to come in the back door, and the Sox head to the bottom of the inning with a 3-1 lead.
Red Sox 1, Rays 1, End 2nd -- Here's Daisuke! In the prototypical Matsuzaka frame, the control-free pitcher surrenders the tying run before escaping by the skin of his teeth. After three straight singles start the frame and load the bases, Matsuzaka gets to his real comfort zone and walks the run in. He does manage to get Carlos Pena swinging, however, making Jose Molina's double play ball to third an inning-ender.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, Mid 2nd -- Another strong start leads to another weak finish for the Sox, but this time without the benefit of the run. After James Loney and Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off the inning with back-to-back walks, Ryan Lavarnway could only hit a ground ball, leading to a double play that put an end to the Sox' momentum in the second.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 1st -- Things go smoothly for Daisuke Matsuzaka in the bottom of the first. Despite throwing most of his pitches for balls, the Rays let him off the hook with a relatively aggressive approach, leading to two fly balls on a combined 3-0 count to help him through a 1-2-3 frame.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- A strong start for the Red Sox doesn't lead to a big inning, but it does get them on the board. Pedro Ciriaco starts the game by slapping a single into right field to give the Sox a leadoff baserunner, and then steals second to get into scoring position for Jacoby Ellsbury. The center fielder leans across the plate to put the bat on a pitch low-and-away, and manages to drop it into left field for the base hit that gets the Sox on the board. Ellsbury ends up getting picked off and caught in a rundown, but the Sox are at least ahead early rather than behind.