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Rays 4, Red Sox 2: Jon Lester's shaky fifth inning costs Boston

Jon Lester was nearly perfect in the first four innings, but he couldn't hold out, surrendering three runs in the fifth that would cost the Red Sox the game.

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Rays 4, Red Sox 2: Shaky inning costs Jon Lester

The Red Sox fell to the Rays 4-2 Wednesday night, failing to either earn a split in their short series against the Rays or play spoiler in any sense of the word.

For Jon Lester, it was a night of five great innings and one poor one. Through four, Lester had allowed just one baserunner on a walk to Evan Longoria, and that was quickly erased by a double play ball. Twelve up, twelve down, and then thirteen when Jose Iglesias made a tremendous play to get the first out of the fifth inning.

And from there it came tumbling down. The second at bat of the fifth inning would end Lester's no-hitter, with Jeff Keppinger hitting a line drive into left field. The third would end the shutout, as an outside fastball was launched emphatically into the stands in center field by Carlos Pena. Ben Francisco proceeded to work the count full, and then clobber a cutter floated over the plate for another home run. Just like that, and three runs were in.

The attack would grab the lead from the Sox, who had produced a run in the second inning on a walk and a hit, and keep it just out of reach in the sixth when they repeated the performance almost to a tee. That would bring the game within one run, but not close enough. The Rays put together a few hits in the seventh off the Boston bullpen, extending the lead to 4-2, where it would remain through the end of the ninth.

Read more on the Red Sox at Over the Monster and SB Nation Boston.Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis from around Major League Baseball.

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Bobby Valentine thinks he's 'coming back' in 2013

Bobby Valentine might be back. Or he might not. Valentine told media members on Wednesday that he was unsure of his future with the Boston Red Sox, the team he has managed (very unsuccessfully) this season.

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Red Sox announce All-Fenway Park Team

The Boston Red Sox announced the All-Fenway Park Team prior to Wednesday evening's game.

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Red Sox Vs. Rays Live Blog

The Red Sox are ready to close out the home portion of their schedule with one last game against the Tampa Bay Rays. We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as the Red Sox bid farewell to Fenway Park for the year.

Rays 4, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- 1-2-3 go the Sox against Joel Peralta, leaving them three outs away from a short-series sweep at the hands of the Rays.

Rays 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Mark Melancon puts on an impressive show in the eighth inning, striking out the Rays around an infield single back to the mound by Ben Zobrist. Not bad work against the best portion of the lineup.

Rays 4, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Wade Davis enters the game and deals with the Sox in short order, striking out Daniel Nava and Pedro Ciriaco both in a 1-2-3 inning.

Rays 4, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- Just when the Sox pull within one, the Rays push it right back to two. Clayton Mortensen lasts just the one batter, surrendering a quick single, and then Rich Hill follows suit by allowing a single of his own to Carlos Pena. Hill manages to strike out the next two batters to get close to an escape, but can't quite finish the job, surrendering a ground-rule double to Jose Lobaton that brings the run home.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- The Sox grab one back from the Rays' bullpen in the bottom of the sixth, courtesy of the best part of their lineup in Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross. Pedroia gets it started by drawing a walk, snags second base (his 100th career stolen base) while Ross is at the plate, and then scores when the Boston right fielder gets a ground ball into right field for the RBI single.

Rays 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 6th -- Jon Lester bounces back, striking out two in the sixth and working around a double to the wall in left to make his outing meet the quality start threshold. Whether or not it's actually quality is up to interpretation.

Rays 3, Red Sox 1, End 5th -- Alex Cobb has an easy time providing a shutdown inning after being given the lead, facing the combo of Jose Iglesias, Pedro Ciriaco, and Scott Podsednik to get his three outs with no trouble.

Rays 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- And the game takes a decidedly Red Sox turn. After no-hitting the Rays for four innings, Lester gives up a line drive single to Jeff Keppinger and then turns to watch as an outside fastball blasted off the bat of Carlos Pena drops into the stands in center field for an emphatic home run. The pitch to Pena wasn't too bad, frankly, but Lester follows it up with a cutter floating over the middle of the plate to Ben Francisco, and just like that it's two long balls in the inning, this one making its way into the monster seats.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 4th -- The double play ball hurts the Red Sox this time. While Ryan Lavarnway was saved by a double play thanks to Jarrod Saltalamacchia's baserunning in the second, this time he's the victim, being erased after his one-out single as Daniel Nava grounds into the 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0, Mid 4th -- 12 up, 12 down now through four innings for Jon Lester. Desmond Jennings is the most recent strikeout victim of the bunch, giving Lester his third to kick off the fourth.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 3rd -- The Red Sox get their walk and single again, but this time they come in the wrong order, with Scott Podsednik hitting the one-out single and Cody Ross drawing the two-out walk, making for two stranded runners this time instead of one stranded and one run in.

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 3rd -- Jon Lester gets Jose Lobaton swinging to end the third. Once through the lineup, and he's faced the minimum, albeit thanks to the double play in the second.

Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 2nd -- A fortunately-timed hit-and-run keeps Jarrod Saltalamacchia out of a double play with Ryan Lavarnway hitting a ground ball at the plate behind him, and allows the Red Sox to push across the run. While Salty would have been out number three at second base, he beats the diving flip from Ben Zobrist and instead scores when Daniel Nava slaps a base hit into right field.

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 2nd -- Given how Clay Buchholz' night went on Tuesday, the leadoff walk to Evan Longoria was the perfect way to inspire fear in the hearts of Red Sox fans. Luckily, however, Jon Lester was not about to replicate the full awful inning of work, quickly striking out Jeff Keppinger--the man what took Buchholz deep last time--and inducing a ground ball for a double play that ended the inning

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, End 1st -- Dustin Pedroia, fresh off being named to the All-Fenway team, gives the Red Sox their only baserunner in the bottom half of the first inning, drawing a two-out walk before Cody Ross popped up to second to end the frame.

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- It's a good start for Jon Lester. 1-2-3 go the Rays in the top of the first, with just 10 pitches needed to retire the side. We know after last night just how much that's worth, however. There's still plenty of innings to go, and a good first hardly means a good second.

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Red Sox Lineup: Jacoby Ellsbury Still Missing

The Red Sox will try to secure a series split Wednesday night as they send Jon Lester to the mound against Alex Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.

Thankfully, the Lin - Iglesias black hole in the bottom of the lineup is no more, with the return of Scott Podsednik to both the lineup and center field. Podsednik is no longer the world beater he was earlier in the season, but anything, frankly, is better than Lin, who just isn't competitive against major league pitching.

Boston Red Sox (69-86)

  1. Pedro Ciriaco, 3B
  2. Scott Podsednik, CF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. Cody Ross, RF
  5. James Loney, 1B
  6. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
  7. Ryan Lavarnway, DH
  8. Daniel Nava, LF
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Tampa Bay Rays (84-70)

  1. Desmond Jennings, RF
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Ben Zobrist, SS
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. Jeff Keppinger, DH
  6. Carlos Pena, 1B
  7. Ben Francisco, LF
  8. Ryan Roberts, 2B
  9. Jose Lobaton, C

Read more on the Red Sox at Over the Monster and SB Nation Boston. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis from around Major League Baseball.

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Rays 5, Red Sox 2: Buchholz Shaky, Sox Fall

The Red Sox fell to the Rays 5-2 Tuesday night behind a mediocre Clay Buchholz.

Buchholz did not show signs of trouble early on. His first inning went 1-2-3 on thirteen pitches, and for all the world it seemed as though Buchholz was in for a strong night on the mound.
His second did not go nearly so well. Eight of his first ten pitches in the inning went for balls, putting two men on base free of charge, and when he tried to simply get a strike over against Jeff Keppinger, the result was a shot over the Monster that left the Sox in an early 3-0 hole.

Boston would push across one run in the bottom of the inning despite a baserunning failure by Danny Valencia that likely limited the frame's potential. Again in the next frame a baserunning blunder-this time Pedro Ciriaco being caught stealing third-was enough to turn a more promising inning into just a one-run wonder, courtesy of a David Price balk.

Still, that would be enough to bring the Sox within one run, and had it stayed there, they may have been able to manufacture a run at some point. Instead, Clay Buchholz would run into hard contact in the fifth, and then after surviving that frame, offered up three hits in the sixth, the final off the base of the Monster, to score two more.

That would push the lead to three, and with just three innings left against David Price, there was precious little chance to recover. The Tampa Bay lefty would not waiver, lasting through the rest of the game, allowing scant few baserunners and no more runs to come across, leaving the Red Sox losers at the end of the day.

Read more on the Red Sox at Over the Monster and SB Nation Boston. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis from around Major League Baseball as the pennant races heat up.

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Red Sox vs. Orioles Live Blog

Can the Sox play spoilers once again? Or will they help the Rays complete their recovery process? We'll keep you up-to-date on all the action as it goes down in Fenway Park.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, End 8th -- The bottom and top of the Red Sox lineup--which frankly just looks like any other team's bottom of the order--goes down in order with two more strikeouts.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 8th -- Andrew Miller takes over with one out, and while he hits Carlos Pena, manages to get the other two he faces without much fuss.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, End 7th -- Danny Valencia manages to reach first on an error, but all that does is enable David Price to strike out the side by getting Che-Hsuan Lin on three pitches behind him.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 7th -- A double play ball gets Scott Atchison around a pair of singles and through a scoreless seventh inning, but it's too late to just prevent runs for the Red Sox.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, End 6th -- As if to punctuate that fact, David Price induces a double play ball to wipe out a Dustin Pedroia single that in an ideal world would have keyed a Boston rally.

Rays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- That hard contact? This time it leads to hits. Three of them, in fact, with the last one blasted off the wall by Jose Molina to score a pair. This puts this decidedly in bad night territory for Buchholz, and makes the Sox a long shot to come back against David Price and keep the Rays down in the playoff race.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- And hopefully David Price does not do the same, though for all the world it looks like he will now. Pedro Ciriaco strikes out to end his most recent successful inning. The question is whether or not the Sox have wasted their only chance in the earlier innings.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 5th -- Ben Zobrist gets back on the basepaths against Buchholz, doubling with two down on a fastball. It's not the only significant contact against him in the inning, but the Red Sox starter survives none-the-less. Hopefully he can continue to do so to keep the Sox in the game.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, End 4th -- David Price responds in kind, getting through the middle of the order 1-2-3 with

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, Mid 4th -- Buchholz goes back to the 1-2-3 inning for the first time since the first, striking out Jose Molina in the process.

Rays 3, Red Sox 2, End 3rd -- Another promising inning results in just one run, but the Sox are lucky to get even that. One-out singles from Pedro Ciriaco and Daniel Nava should have set up Dustin Pedroia for an RBI double into right-center field. Instead, it sets him up for a two-out double thanks to Pedro Ciriaco running into an out trying to steal third. The Sox do manage to get the run when David Price balks in Nava from third, but Cody Ross strikes out to end it there.

Rays 3, Red Sox 1, Mid 3rd -- A much cleaner inning for Buchholz--not that that's a high bar to set--who works around an Evan Longoria single to keep the Sox within a pair of runs.

Rays 3, Red Sox 1, End 2nd -- The Sox get one back, but it perhaps could have been more. After two singles start the inning, putting runners on the corners, a one-out single from Danny Valencia helps plate Cody Ross from third, and also helps end the inning early, as Valencia is caught rounding first and finds himself in a rundown. Che-Hsuan Lin grounds out behind him, and a promising inning comes to a premature end.

Rays 3, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- In the blink of an eye, good Clay Buchholz becomes awful Clay Buchholz. Eight of ten pitches to Evan Longoria and Luke Scott go for balls, and with Jeff Keppinger coming to the plate, Buchholz is just trying to get one over for a strike. Keppinger doesn't wait around. Swinging at pitch number one, he hits a shot right over the Monster, and just like that the Sox are behind 3-0. A couple more baserunners in the inning don't lead to any more runs, but they certainly don't inspire any more confidence in him for the next few innings.

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, End 1st -- The Sox mimic the Rays' inning, complete with Daniel Nava going down on strikes for out number two. Surprisingly, though Nava took seven pitches to retire, it's Price who gets ahead in the pitch count early, needing just 12 pitches to retire the side to Buchholz' thirteen.

Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- Clay Buchholz looks much like he did in his last impressive outing against the Tampa Bay Rays. The top three go down in order, with B.J. Upton falling victim to the strikeout on a well-placed fastball. Buchholz didn't exactly pile up the Ks in that last game, but he didn't need to to keep runs off the board. Adding a few more in certainly can't hurt.

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Red Sox Vs. Rays Lineups: Che-Hsuan Lin In Center

The Red Sox are out to play spoiler again as they take on the Tampa Bay Rays Tuesday night in the first of two games. First pitch is at 7:10 p.m. EST with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.

The Jacoby Ellsbury injury "situation" continues as mysterious as ever. The center fielder hasn't been seen in the lineup for a good five days now, and tonight is no different. Che-Hsuan Lin will get the start in his place, making just his second ever major league start. The Taiwanese outfielder possesses a fantastic defensive package between his lightning speed and cannon arm, but so far has not shown a bat that can play at the top level, with his discipline ruined by a complete lack of power.

Lin will join Jose Iglesias a the bottom of the lineup, making for one of the weakest offensive duos the game has seen. Each of them are top flight defenders sure to make highlight reels with adequate playing time, but both will have to improve at the plate to have any sort of real long-term prospects.

Boston Red Sox (69-85)

  1. Pedro Ciriaco, DH
  2. Daniel Nava, LF
  3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
  4. Cody Ross, RF
  5. Mauro Gomez, 1B
  6. Ryan Lavarnway, C
  7. Danny Valencia, 3B
  8. Che-Hsuan Lin, CF
  9. Jose Iglesias, SS

Tampa Bay Rays (83-70)

  1. Desmond Jennings, LF
  2. B.J. Upton, CF
  3. Ben Zobrist, SS
  4. Evan Longoria, 3B
  5. Luke Scott, DH
  6. Jeff Keppinger, 2B
  7. Matt Joyce, RF
  8. Carlos Pena, 1B
  9. Jose Molina, C

Next Game

Tampa Bay Rays
@ Boston Red Sox

Tuesday, Sep 25, 2012, 7:10 PM EDT
Fenway Park

David Price vs Clay Buchholz

Clear. Winds blowing out to left field at 5-10 m.p.h. Game time temperature around 65.

Complete Coverage >



Read more on the Red Sox at Over the Monster and SB Nation Boston. Baseball Nation is your source for news and analysis from around Major League Baseball as the pennant races heat up.
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Red Sox Vs. Rays: Another Chance To Play Spoiler

The Red Sox thought they did the job last time, but the Rays have come surging back. Can Boston end their playoff hopes once and for all?

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