The Red Sox are looking to make it a winning streak, the Rays are looking for revenge, and Sox fans are looking for answers.
The questions? Simple: how will the Red Sox survive without Jacoby Ellsbury? They will have to for at least the next month if not longer after his collision with shortstop Reid Brignac on Friday. Can Cody Ross play center field? Can Mike Aviles lead off? Probably not, but it can't hurt to try, I suppose.
Clay Buchholz, meanwhile, just wants things to go better than they did in his debut, when he offered up seven runs in four innings. If they don't, chances are the Sox aren't going to be able to provide another double digit offensive effort in support against the likes of Jeremy Hellickson.
We'll keep you up to date here as all of the action goes down in Fenway Park.
Rays 5, Red Sox 13, Final -- Alfredo Aceves wraps up a very nice win for the Red Sox by striking out two batters in a perfect ninth inning. The Sox now sit at 3-5 after establishing their first winning streak of the season.
Rays 5, Red Sox 13, End 8th -- Once again the Sox have taken a decent lead and made it untouchable with a big eighth inning. After Josh Lueke suffered the brunt of Friday's barrage, it was Dane De La Rosa taking it on the chin this time. The Sox would load the bases before recording an out, but have the Rays quickly record two and prevent the run as Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play.
Kevin Youkilis would reload the bases by drawing his second walk of the game, setting up David Ortiz with the chance to put the game away. Putting a good swing on a 2-2 slider, he would do just that, dropping a long fly ball into left just past the glove of a diving Elliot Johnson. Cody Ross would put an exclamation mark on the assault, once again connecting with his big pull swing and finding the parking lot past the Monster with a 2-run shot to leave the Sox up by 8.
Rays 5, Red Sox 8, Mid 8th -- Franklin Morales continues to be an anchor for this scattershot bullpen. Striking out Elliot Johnson to start the inning, Morales would get quick ground balls from Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott to get the Sox to within one inning of their first winning streak of the year.
Rays 5, Red Sox 8, End 7th -- From down 4-0, the Sox now find themselves with an 8-5 lead after getting to Burke Badenhop and J.P. Howell for three big runs.
While the baserunners would be provided by the likes of Adrian Gonzalez (double off the wall), Kevin Youkilis (walk) and David Ortiz (shift-beating single to left), the actual run production would come from unexpected places. Mike Aviles got things started before the big three in the middle of the order, launching a solo shot into the Monster seats to give the Red Sox the lead. Then, with the bases loaded and one out, Cody Ross finally found the swing Sox fans were expecting to see result in wall ball after wall ball. With two runs coming across on the double, Ross found some level of redemption and the Sox found a fairly comfortable lead.
Rays 5, Red Sox 5, Mid 7th -- Clay Buchholz likely caps off his day with an excellent final act, inducing a pop-up and ground ball from the top two batters in the Rays lineup, and then sending Evan Longoria to get his glove with a nasty cutter that left the third baseman swinging at air.
Rays 5, Red Sox 5, End 6th -- Burke Badenhop effectively stalled the momentum of the Red Sox, sandwhiching a routine fly ball from Jarrod Saltalamacchia between a pair of strikeouts to give the Rays a clean inning.
Rays 5, Red Sox 5, Mid 6th -- Three weak ground balls to the left side--all right to Youkilis or Aviles, luckily--and Clay Buchholz has his first clean inning of the game. He's just getting stronger now, though he might have just one inning left on his arm, if that.
Rays 5, Red Sox 5, End 5th -- And we're all the way back from 4-0, courtesy of David Ortiz!
While it seemed like the middle of the order was ready to let the inning go by the wayside, with Dustin Pedroia being called out on strikes as Hellickson painted the outside edge and Adrian Gonzalez fell behind 0-2 before popping up, Kevin Youkilis finally showed some of his old offense with a big hit off the wall in left. While it would only result in one base, that wouldn't matter given what David Ortiz did at the plate. Working the count full on six pitches, Ortiz forced Hellickson to put one over the plate or risk the walk. Hellickson opted for the former, and Ortiz got all of the middle-high fastball, depositing it into the bullpen for a game tying two-run shot.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 5th -- Clay Buchholz has settled down nicely since the first, finishing up the fifth inning with 88 pitches on his arm after it looked like he might not escape the second or third. Despite giving up another hit in the fifth, this one coming on the ground, Buchholz managed to strike Evan Longoria out to start the inning and retire Ben Zobrist and Luke Scott without too much hassle to finish it.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, End 4th -- The Sox have Jeremy Hellickson's pitch count very high, but just wasted a big opportunity, leaving the bases loaded in the fourth. David Ortiz started the attack with a line drive to right. Cody Ross would nearly follow suit, but unfortunately had his rocket go right to Desmond Jennings in center. Ryan Sweeney would give the Sox two men in scoring position with a double off the wall in left, and after Jarrod Saltalamacchia flew out to shallow left Darnell McDonald would load the bases with a walk, but Mike Aviles' fly ball died in right field, allowing Hellickson to escape unscathed.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, Mid 4th -- Clay Buchholz escapes the inning unharmed despite a leadoff single from Jose Molina. After Kevin Youkilis made what might be his first good defensive play of the season to field a bunt, Buchholz would get Jennings to fly out to right, and struck out Carlos Pena trying to check his swing.
Rays 5, Red Sox 3, End 3rd -- The Rays add to their lead, Dustin Pedroia takes it right back. Taking one of his all-or-nothing swings, Pedroia got into Hellickson's 1-1 fastball like only he can, launching a shot clear over the Monster in left and almost out of the parking lot behind it. A very, very big homer from the diminutive second baseman.
Rays 5, Red Sox 2, Mid 3rd -- More control struggles for Clay Buchholz in the third, as he surrendered his third walk of the day to Matt Joyce and then gave Luke Scott a pitch to hit. He obliged, connecting with an RBI double to put the Rays back up by three.
Rays 4, Red Sox 2, End 2nd -- The Red Sox have life yet, after a two-run shot from Jarrod Saltalamacchia cut the Rays' lead in half in the second. After offering up a two-out walk to Ryan Sweeney, Hellickson managed to get Salty to swing at a pitch low and out of the zone, but the Sox' catcher simply crushed it, putting enough of a charge in the ball to send it well over the wall in dead center.
Rays 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- It's hard to call an inning where the pitcher drops the ball behind him trying to throw to first an improvement, but somehow that's what the second inning was for Clay Buchholz, who escaped with just a single to his name.
Rays 4, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The Sox showed signs of coming out strong against Jeremy Hellickson to start the inning. Not so much to finish it. Mike Aviles' hard hit grounder was stopped by Carlos Pena, making a great diving play, but Aviles still managed to beat out the throw. With Dustin Pedroia getting ahead 2-0, things were going well.
Then Hellickson threw to first and Aviles fell on his face, leaving him picked off in pathetic fashion. Pedroia started swinging at bad pitches, flew out, and while Adrian Gonzalez would end up reaching first with a walk, Youkilis hit a ground ball right to short to end the inning.
Rays 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- Clay Buchholz did not get off to the start he was hoping for, clearly. Falling behind 2-0 to Desmond Jennings, Buchholz would eventually allow a leadoff walk, and then serve up a fastball to Carlos Pena for the first pitch of the at bat. Pena would not waste the opportunity, driving the ball all the way to the bullpen wall for an RBI double.
For a minute, it seemed as though Buchholz was ready to settle down, getting Evan Longoria to ground out and striking Matt Joyce out. But it was not to be. With Buchholz surrendering a second walk to Ben Zobrist, Luke Scott walked to the plate to a chorus of boos, worked the count full, and then took a chest-high fastball and knocked it past Pesky's Pole in right for a three-run shot.