The Red Sox are at it once again, trying for the fifth time to get above .500 and into "winning" territory.
Fifth time's the charm?
The Sox will have to get to the unfamiliar Alex Cobb in order to make what seemed like a far-off dream a month ago into a reality, and they'll have to do it without Will Middlebrooks, who is riding the pine with Youkilis at third, Gonzalez at first, and both Byrd and Podsednik in the outfield. If they do get something off of Cobb, then it may well be enough with Jon Lester on the mound--assuming he's got better stuff than he had in his last outing.
We'll keep you up-to-date with all the action as it goes down in Fenway
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, Final -- 0-and-5 in games that can put them over .500. We may love the Sox, but I don't think they love us back.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, Mid 9th -- And the benches empty! With two down in the top of the ninth, Franklin Morales misses behind Luke Scott, and then hits his target with his second attempt. Everyone runs out to the field...and then in typical baseball fashion stand around.
The coaches were actually the ones to eventually get into it, with Bob McClure, Tim Bogar, and Bobby Valentine getting into shouting matches with the Tampa Bay staff before everyone was separated and sent back to their dugouts to watch the third out be recorded soon thereafter without any ejections in between.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, End 8th -- The bottom of the Sox order imitates Tampa's top-of-the-inning performance by giving Joel Peralta a 1-2-3 inning. The difference is Byrd and Podsednik going down by way of the K. Gonna need something of a miracle now.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, Mid 8th -- Scott Atchison is finally out of the game, as Matt Albers takes over to start the eighth. The Rays manage to put their bats on the ball, and get some good contact against him, but Albers still gets all three outs in order, which is about all you can ask for in a game like this.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, End 7th -- 4-5-6 go 1-2-3, leaving the Sox with just six outs to make this happen.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, Mid 7th -- An infield single from B.J. Upton eventually gives the Rays a RISP, but Atchison works out of it to record another scoreless inning.
Rays 7, Red Sox 4, End 6th -- The Sox get something back in the sixth, as J.P. Howell walks the only two batters he faces in relief of Alex Cobb, and both end up scoring on a Marlon Byrd single and Mike Aviles sacrifice fly. Dustin Pedroia was hit in the back to put two men on for David Ortiz, but David Ortiz could only take Jake McGee too deep right, and not out of the park, leaving the Sox still down by three.
Rays 7, Red Sox 2, Mid 6th -- The Rays get their leadoff batter at second base on a single to right and a bobble from Marlon Byrd. Scott Atchison manages to fight back, however, striking out both Chris Gimenez and Carlos Pena to end the inning.
Rays 7, Red Sox 2, End 5th -- A bit of wall ball from Adrian Gonzalez gets the Red Sox a run, but they're still far off the pace of the Rays. They need to put up some crooked number in a hurry if they want to have any shot at this game.
Rays 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 5th -- Scott Atchison records a 1-2-3 fifth in relief of the terrible Jon Lester. It's shocking given where we were at the beginning of April that it would be preferable to have long men from the bullpen putting together the first six innings of games rather than the rotation.
Rays 7, Red Sox 1, End 4th -- Another 1-2-3 inning for the Red Sox, who are just having one of those days. There have been too many of these days this year, unfortunately, and all the way back to last September.
Rays 7, Red Sox 1, Mid 4th -- Jon Lester surrenders back-to-back homers to Elliot Johnson and Carlos Pena as the Sox continue to make an art form out of frustrating their fan base. Looks like it's going to take at least six tries for Boston to make it to a winning record barring a massive comeback, all because their top pitcher stood at a crossroads with a 3.95 ERA, and rather than building towards the level you expect of a #1--or even #2--went ahead and gave up seven runs in four innings.
Rays 4, Red Sox 1, End 3rd -- David Ortiz gets his bat on the ball, but hits it right into the shift for the second out in a 1-2-3 inning. Not exactly a good show of picking up the pitcher by the 2-3-4 hitters.
Rays 4, Red Sox 1, Mid 3rd -- The strike zone seems to shrink on Jon Lester, who responds to the adversity by completely falling apart. A walk, a single, and another walk leave the bases loaded with two outs, and Lester falls behind Matt Joyce 2-0 and then 3-1, forcing him to groove a fastball down the middle. Joyce doesn't miss it, launching a high fly ball to right field which carries back into the bullpen for a grand slam.
Not a good sign for the whole "winning record" thing.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 2nd -- An uneventful bottom half to the second sees the Sox go down around a walk to Marlon Byrd. The bottom of the order isn't terribly impressive tonight, so anything the Sox get from them is just a bonus.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, Mid 2nd -- Jon Lester escapes some trouble in the second. After a strikeout of Ben Zobrist got the inning off on the right foot, Matt Joyce got the Rays their first hit of the game with a soft line drive into left field. Kevin Youkilis managed to snag a line drive off the bat of Sean Rodriguez to keep things under control, and after a walk to Drew Sutton a ground ball from Chris Gimenez ended the inning without any damage.
Red Sox 1, Rays 0, End 1st -- Already having Kevin Youkilis in the lineup tonight has paid dividends for the Red Sox, with the third baseman lining an RBI single to center to give the Sox the early lead.
The baserunner came on an error by former Sox backup Drew Sutton, who let a relatively routine ground ball off the bat of MIke Aviles slip past him. Aviles would steal second with David Ortiz in the process of drawing a walk, and then came around when Youkilis caught a fastball square for his hit.
Red Sox 0, Rays 0, Mid 1st -- John Lester has a very quick 1-2-3 first to get the Sox off on the right foot. Carlos Pena, who has had plenty of success in his career against Lester, was the first to go down, pounding a 2-0 fastball into the dirt to first base for the out. B.J. Upton jumped all over the first pitch he was thrown, but had the ensuing line drive head straight towards Scott Podsednik in center. Luke Scott would take as many pitches as the first two batters combined, but watched a well-placed fastball go by for strike three to end the inning.