The Red Sox and Blue Jays are set to decide their series with a Tuesday matinee, as Jon Lester and Ricky Romero face off in a battle of the aces.
While Lester will be looking to keep momentum going from the season opener against the Tigers when he allowed just one run in seven innings of work, Ricky Romero will be looking to forget his first game, when he surrendered four runs in five innings to the Indians.
This is a big one for the Red Sox. A win today, and they can say they've got some momentum and a series win under their belt. Lose, and that first win from Monday will almost cease to matter. 1-5 is little better than 0-6.
We'll keep you up to date here as the Sox go for win number two.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 3, Final -- Despite another late rally, which saw Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia reach on walks against a flagging Ricky Romero, the Red Sox have fallen again. Adrian Gonzalez' long fly ball proved enough to move them both into scoring position, but Kevin Youkilis struck out and David Ortiz hit a weak grounder to end the game and send the Sox to 1-5.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 3, End 8th -- Bobby Valentine will once again have some explaining to do after how he handled the eighth inning. With Jon Lester already over 100 pitches and having just been hit hard twice, Valentine elected to keep his starter out there for the eighth.
By itself, that's not such a big deal. But then, with two outs when Lester gave up a baserunner and his count had risen to something like 115, where was the relief? The answer is that it wasn't even warm, as nobody was even throwing in the pen.
The runner happened to be Rajai Davis, on base via a walk (an even worse sign for Lester). While Lester had him picked off as he tried to steal, the throw to second came in low, and David was fast enough to avoid the out. Sure enough, the first pitch to Yunel Escobar was hittable, and the Jays earned a crucial insurance run.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, Mid 8th -- The Sox are helpless at the hands of Ricky Romero, who recorded what is one of the more perfect innings possible, striking out two batters and adding a groundout on eight pitches.
The Red Sox will have the top of their lineup up to bat in the ninth as they look for more ninth inning miracles.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, End 7th -- With Lester having eclipsed 100 pitches, his day may be done. If so, it's another fine outing for the Sox' lefty ace, with just two earned runs in seven innings, and almost nothing coming outside of that unfortunate third.
Still, the Jays were starting to figure him out in this last inning, with two balls hit hard, and one going to the track before Darnell McDonald could grab it for the out. Now is probably as good a time as any to hand the game over to the bullpen and hope the Sox can do something--anything--against Romero.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, Mid 7th -- The good news? Ricky Romero had to throw 19 pitches to get through the seventh inning. The bad news? The Sox still went 1-2-3.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, End 6th -- Lester must be having flashbacks to opening day right about now. Another 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout of Bautista has him through six today with five strikeouts, two hits, and a walk, but somehow the Blue Jays are still ahead. If the lineup doesn't get him some help here soon, they might just let Lester grab a bat and go for it himself.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, Mid 6th -- The Jays are killing the Red Sox with defense Wednesday, as another 1-2-3 inning for Romero was helped a long by a pair of strong plays by the Jays. The first came from Yunel Escobar, who ranged to his left for a ground ball and saved what seemed very likely to be an infield single for Dustin Pedroia with a strong throw to first. The second came in the outfield, with both Rajai Davis and Jose Bautista closing fast on an Adrian Gonzalez fly ball. Davis would give way to Bautista, who went into a slide to make the grab.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, End 5th -- Another strong inning for Lester, who needs just 12 pitches to retire the side and pick up two strikeouts on J.P. Arencibia and Rajai Davis in the process. The inning was interrupted for a few seconds towards the end when Lester induced a ground ball from Rajai Davis that kicked just foul before Kevin Youkilis threw to first, providing viewers with an amusing look at the grounds crew and mascot scurrying back behind the outfield wall when they realized the inning was still going on.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, Mid 5th -- Ricky Romero has just gotten better as the game has gone on, and after a 7-pitch fifth, doesn't seem likely to be leaving anytime seen. He's on pace for a 99-pitch complete game at the moment.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, End 4th -- Jon Lester seems to have recovered from the third, recording another 1-2-3 inning with a couple of ground outs and a pop-up handled by Kelly Shoppach. While his pitch count is still a little high, another quick inning will have him on track to go deep into the game again.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, Mid 4th -- More ineptitude from two of the players who are supposed to be giving Ricky Romero some of the most trouble. Kevin Youkilis' contact just sounds wrong right now, with every ball in play being tapped in one direction or the other--no drive behind his swings. Darnell McDonald, on the other hand, couldn't even put the bat on the ball, and looks every bit as lost as he did to start last year.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 2, End 3rd -- If a team leads for a third of an inning--especially a team on the road--did they ever lead at all?
The Blue Jays needed all of three batters to claim the lead from the Red Sox in the third. Eric Thames managed to hook an outside curve ball to lead off the inning with a single, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. J.P. Arencibia would strike out for the first out of the inning, but Rajai Davis took a swing at the first pitch he saw--an outside fastball--and sent it into the right field corner for an RBI triple. A sacrifice fly from Yunel Escobar finished the scoring.
Red Sox 1, Blue Jays 0, Mid 3rd -- The Red Sox, amazingly enough, have an early lead over the Blue Jays.
The right-handed portion of the lineup came through in top of the third, with Cody Ross and Mike Aviles both singling to put runners on first and second with no outs. Unfortunately, Bobby V. did not see fit to trust that to continue, calling for a sacrifice bunt from Kelly Shoppach--he of the .900 OPS against lefties. The bunt would fail, with the out coming at third, which cost the Sox a run when Jacoby Ellsbury followed him with an opposite field RBI single.
Still, a run is a run and a lead is a lead.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, End 2nd -- Edwin Encarnacion battled his way to a 10-pitch at bat, but did not manage to reach base as Jon Lester recorded another 1-2-3 inning. Encarnacion would be a victim of the strikeout, swinging at a borderline outside fastball. Ben Francisco and Brett Lawrie fared little better, grounding out to third and second respectively.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, Mid 2nd -- Ricky Romero seems to have settled down in a hurry. Despite having Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz, and lefty-masher Darnell McDonald to face, Romero had no troubles at all in the second. Inducing two ground outs and a foul out, Romero keeps the run of quick half-innings going.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, End 1st -- Jon Lester's inning was not nearly so scary as Romero's. While the Jays did put the ball in the air twice, it didn't come quite so close to leaving the park either time, with one out going to Cody Ross in foul territory. Jose Bautista came up to finish the inning, but had his struggles continue, grounding out to shortstop.
Red Sox 0, Blue Jays 0, Mid 1st -- The first inning managed to be about as scary for Ricky Romero as possible given the lack of a baserunner. After Jacoby Ellsbury was sat down swinging at a pitch in the dirt, Dustin Pedroia put a big swing on 1-1 fastball, but hit it to the wrong part of the park, allowing Rajai Davis to back up to the track in deep center to put it away. Adrian Gonzalez followed suit, going opposite field and sending Eric Thames all the way to the wall in left for the out.