The Red Sox and Athletics are set to face off in the rubber match of their three-game series, with Daniel Bard facing off against Brandon McCarthy as the Sox look to make it three straight winning series.
The spotlight will shine on Will Middlebrooks today as he makes his major league debut. The exciting young prospect will play third base and bat eighth tonight in Boston's lineup.
We'll keep you up-to-date here as all the action goes down in Fenway Park.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 2, Final -- The Sox rally again, but Adrian Gonzalez' struggles continue with a weak ground out ending the game and stranding Dustin Pedroia at second.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 9th -- Who is this and what has he done with Clayton Mortensen? The 27-year-old from Triple-A has six strikeouts in three innings of one-hit ball. What?
Athletics 4, Red Sox 1, End 8th -- David Ortiz seemingly gets all of one to lead off the eighth, but the ball dies as it approaches the corner and the big man is left with just a double. Unfortunately, the opportunity ends up wasted, as Cody Ross strikes out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia lines out, and Will Middlebrooks fails to conjure more debut magic, striking out to end the inning.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 8th -- Clayton Mortensen completes another two-strikeout inning, this time without the pesky leadoff single. That's two good debuts for Boston tonight.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 1, End 7th -- The Red Sox get one as Jarrod Saltalamacchia singles and Will Middlebrooks continues his fine debut with a double, but they leave a lot more behind as Adrian Gonzalez strikes out with the bases loaded.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 7th -- Clayton Mortensen actually has a very nice inning in his Red Sox debut, giving up a leadoff single but striking out two to end the threat.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 0, End 6th -- David Ortiz doubles high off the wall, but the rest of the Sox go quietly in the sixth. No signs of a big comeback there, sadly.
Athletics 4, Red Sox 0, Mid 6th -- Cody Ross costs the Red Sox big, misplaying a ball off the bat of Seth Smith as it headed towards the monster and allowing a double where, with Josh Reddick already well on his way to third, the Sox should have had a double play. The run scores, Smith scores on a soft line drive down the right field line, and then after Kurt Suzuki gets hit, two more come across on a double before Bard is pulled and Albers finishes the inning.
That's four earned in 5.1 for Bard, but really it should be one in six, with three on Ross.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, End 5th -- The Sox get a pair of baserunners with a little help from Mr. Reddick, who has Jarrod Saltalamacchia's sinking liner clang off his glove in right, and Lady Luck, as Will Middlebrooks once again reaches, this time on an infield single to third base.
Unfortunately, Marlon Byrd fails twice in his attempt to bunt, Mike Aviles grounds out (Will Middlebrooks saves a double play by stopping midway and then rushing to second when the defender has to throw to first, where Aviles frankly was safe), and Sweeney flies out nice-and-easy for the third out.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 5th -- Daniel Bard has a much easier time of things in a 1-2-3 fifth, though he does need eight pitches to get Coco Crisp for his first strikeout of the night.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, End 4th -- The Red Sox are really struggling against Brandon McCarthy right now, with Adrian Gonzalez, David Ortiz, and Cody Ross producing a strikeout and two weak groundouts in the fourth. It's been ugly ever since that first inning--they just can't get anything on that cutter.
Athletics 1, Red Sox 0, Mid 4th -- The Athletics finally get to the shaky Daniel Bard in the fourth as he falls behind batters and is made to pay for it. Yoenis Cespedes caught ahold of a slider that caught too much of the plate for a double off the top of the scoreboard in left, and then quickly scored when Seth Smith took advantage of a high 2-0 fastball with a base hit to center. Some more long at bats helped the Athletics to build Bard's pitch count over 60, too, wasting his quick early innings.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, End 3rd -- Unlike in the first, the Sox go down very meekly in the third. Mike Aviles takes just one pitch to retire, Ryan Sweeney three, and Dustin Pedroia four. Not what you're looking for after a rather promising start to the night.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 3rd -- Daniel Bard seems to be struggling with his control again tonight, surrendering a second walk and falling behind a bunch of hitters. You may remember the last time he had control difficulties, when he allowed one run in 6.2 innings against the Rays. And with plenty of ground balls being hit to this staunch defensive infield, he's through three on relatively few pitches without a run in.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, End 2nd -- The rest of the team does nothing around him, but Will Middlebrooks is off to a good start in the major leagues. Drawing a four-pitch walk with two outs, the young third baseman waited a few pitches and then stole second base. Not a bad debut.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 2nd -- The Athletics get the first baserunner they're allowed to keep on a two-out walk from Kila Ka'ahue. Of course, the next batter grounded out to short, so perhaps only circumstances kept them from a second inning-ending double play.
Of note: Will Middlebrooks records his first major league assist, looking smooth at third as he ranges to grab a routine ground ball and tosses it across to first to get Yoenis Cespedes out.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, End 1st -- The Sox look like they could have a decent night against Brandon McCarthy, even based on a scoreless first inning.
Four of five batters had good at bats against the right-handed starter. Mike Aviles put a pretty good swing on a 2-1 fastball that unfortunately headed straight for Josh Reddick in right. Ryan Sweeney also found right field, but much further towards the line, resulting in a double. Dustin Pedroia tried to bring both Sweeney and himself in on a high-inside fastball, almost perfect but just a bit too inside for him to work his usual homer magic on it, resulting in a long fly out to left. Adrian Gonzalez managed to work the walk, but unfortunately David Ortiz proved the one weak link in the chain, hitting a routine ground ball to second for the final out.
Athletics 0, Red Sox 0, Mid 1st -- A nice quick inning for Daniel Bard to start the game. While Cliff Pennington manages to get some good wood on a 1-0 fastball, Bard quickly got Josh Reddick to bounce one right back to the mound, where he calmly started the 1-6-3 double play.