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Red Sox

Red Sox-Rays Game 2 Live Blog: Sox Win 7-4 To Take 2-0 Series Lead

By Matthew Geagan, CBSBoston
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Red Sox DH David Ortiz celebrates with Mike Napoli after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Red Sox DH David Ortiz celebrates with Mike Napoli after hitting a solo home run in the first inning of Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBS) – Follow all the action from the ALDS Game 2 between the Red Sox and Rays!

Final — Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Uehara makes it look so easy, doesn’t he?

The Boston closer needed just 11 pitches — all strikes — to retire the Rays 1-2-3 in the ninth as Boston wins Game 2 of the ALDS 7-4 to take a 2-0 series lead.

Uehara struck out Joyce and Lobaton on just six pitches, and needed just five more to get Myers to ground out to Napoli to end it.

The Red Sox will head to St. Pete tomorrow and hold a quick workout at 4pm. Game 3 is set for 6:07 p.m. on Monday night, with Clay Buchholz going up against Alex Cobb.

End 8th — Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Jake McGee gave up a pair of singles, but worked around them as he retired the Sox in the bottom of the 8th without any further damage.

But now the Rays will have to face Koji Uehara, who is as lights-out as it comes in the ninth.

Uehara will face Matt Joyce, Jose Lobaton and Wil Myers as he tries to close this one out and give the Sox a 2-0 series lead.

Bot 8th — Red Sox 7, Rays 4

Ortiz just hit a moon shot above and around Pesky’s pole to put the Sox up 7-4. It’s Papi’s second blast of the night, and he got a huge ovation when he stepped out of the dugout for a curtain call.

That’ll do it for Price. He goes seven-plus, allowing seven runs off nine hits and two walks while striking out five.

Mid 8th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

The Rays had the tying run at the plate again, but once again are done in by a 4-6-3 double play.

It’s always an adventure with Tazawa on the mound, and the top of the eighth was no different. After he got Jennings to fly out, Young hit a ground single into center to bring the tying run up in Escobar.

Tazawa ran the count full, but on his 3-2 pitch got Escobar to ground to Pedroia, who started an inning-ending double play for the second straight inning.

Ortiz, Napoli and Gomes are due up for the Sox against Price, as they try to tack on a run or two for Koji Uehara.

End 7th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

It’s a good thing the Red Sox got their runs when they did, because Price is locked in now.

He struck out both Ellsbury and Pedroia with a Victorino ground out sandwiched in for his second straight 1-2-3 frame. His pitch count is right at the century mark, so there’s a good chance he comes back out for the eighth.

Junichi Tazawa will be on the hill for Boston, with Jennings, Young and Escobar due up for the Rays in the top of the eighth. Jennings and Escobar are 4-for-6 tonight.

Middle 7th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Breslow was playing with fire in the top of the seventh, but got out of a jam thanks to a big double play off the bat of Ben Zobrist.

After retiring Myers for the first out, Breslow hit Loney and walked Longoria to put two on with one out. John Farrell stuck with his reliable reliever though, and the move payed off.

Zobrist stepped to the plate 2-for-8 with a double in his career against the Breslow, but the lefty got him to hit a sharp grounder to Pedroia and the Sox turned the 4-6-3 double play to retire the side.

Needless to say, Breslow was very animated coming off the mound. He usually keeps his emotions in check, but hey, it’s the playoffs.

Top of the order is due up in the bottom of the seventh. Time to add some more insurance.

End 6th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Price turns in his best inning of the night as he gets the Sox 1-2-3.

He got Will Middlebrooks to fly out to first, Stephen Drew to ground out to second, and Ross looking to retire in easy fashion.

Breslow will be back in for the top of the seventh, with Junichi Tazawa warming in the pen.

Middle 6th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Breslow promptly gets Joyce to fly out to center, and pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez to ground out to short to end the inning. He got the job done on just four pitches, so we haven’t seen the last of the lefty reliever tonight.

Lackey’s final line: 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K

Top 6th — Red Sox 6, Rays 4

Rays are hanging around in this one, and have chased Lackey from the game.

Lackey gave up a leadoff single to Desmond Jennings, who went to second on a Demon Young fielder’s choice to short (Jennings stayed out of a potential double play by running on the pitch). He scored on Yunel Escobar’s RBI single, the short stop’s second hit of the night, to make it a 6-4 game. The Sox had a chance to get Escobar as he rounded first, but Mike Napoli couldn’t handle the cut off and Escobar was able to get back to the base safely.

Craig Breslow is in now in relief to face pinch-hitter Matt Joyce.

End 5th — Red Sox, 6, Rays 3

The Sox responded to Tampa’s two runs in the fifth with one of their own.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a single to center, his third hit of the night, and a few batters later scored his second run on a Dustin Pedroia line double to left. Pedroia crushed a 2-0 fastball over the plate, and Ellsbury showed off his rocket speed scoring all the way from first to put Boston up 6-3.

Pedroia’s double was Boston’s fifth extra-base hit of the night.

Price was having a nice little conversation with himself on the mound as he faced Jonny Gomes. He was able to get the outfielder to ground into a fielder’s choice to end the inning, but Price is up to 83 pitches on the night and looking very ineffective when his team needs him. It’s not often you can say that about the reigning Cy Young winner.

One other quick note from the bottom of the fifth: Myers received a nice ovation when he caught a Victorino pop-out in right. Bet he can’t wait to get back to the empty stands of the Trop.

Middle 5th — Red Sox 5, Rays 3

The Rays tagged Lackey for a pair of runs off two hits and a hit-batter, but the Sox starter kept the damaged to a minimum with a big punch-out to end the inning.

Yunel Escobar got things started with a lead-off, ground-rule double. Two batters later, David DeJesus leaned into a Lackey offering and was awarded first — much to the dismay of Lackey. After Myers flied out to right, former Sox James Loney came through with a 2-run double off the wall in center to make it 5-3 Boston.

Lackey walked Longoria to give Tampa runners on first and second, but froze Ben Zobrist with a nice fastball on a full count to retire the side.

Lackey is up to 88 pitches for the night, so this one will come down to the Boston bullpen on the end.

End 4th — Red Sox 5, Rays 1

Stephen Drew hasn’t been good against lefties this season, but he came through with a huge two-out, RBI triple off the Monster to give Boston a 5-1 lead.

Drew was down in the count 0-2, but fought back and went opposite field on the sixth pitch. It looked like it was a pretty catchable ball for DeJesus in left, but that’s pretty much how the Rays defense has been tonight. Jonny Gomes was only on base because Ben Zobrist airmailed a potential double-play earlier in the inning for Tampa’s second error of the game.

The Sox are taking advantage of the Rays miscues, and Lackey now has a four-run cushion to work with.

Boston lefties are 4-for-6 against Price tonight with three runs and three RBIs.

Middle 4th — Red Sox 4, Rays 1

Lackey worked around an Evan Longoria leadoff single, and has found himself in a nice groove since the second inning.

He got Zobrist looking for his fifth strikeout, Jennings to pop out to third, and Young to line out to right. Young hit the ball hard, but Victorino made it look easy with a running grab (I’m sure Wil Myers will hear about that this inning).

63 pitches for Lackey through four innings, with 12 of Tampa’s outs by way of the K.

End 3rd — Red Sox 4, Rays 1

David Ross owns David Price, and the Red Sox have another run because of it.

Ross led off the inning with a wall-ball double off a Price cutter, and scored the very next batter when Ellsbury got jammed and went opposite field for an RBI double to left. The ball barely made it out of the infield, but with Longoria playing in for a potential bunt it blooped down in the middle of the infield and the speedy Ellsbury was able to make it to second.

The Sox had runners on first and third with no outs after a Victorino single, and Ellsbury came in to score on a Pedroia fielder’s choice to third. Victorino did a great job taking Zobrist at second to keep Tampa from turning a double play, but Ortiz followed it up with a liner to first, and Loney was able to spin the 1-4 double-play.

But the Sox get two more off of Price, who is up at 39 pitches through three. Boston has been aggressive against the lefty early in counts, and it’s paying off so far.

Middle 3rd — Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Lackey looked great in the third, both on the hill and in the field.

After getting DeJesus swinging on three pitches, he made a nice play to field a soft grounder hit by Myers to the third base side and fired it to Napoli to retire the rookie.

He completed the 1-2-3 inning by getting Loney swinging. Lackey is up to four strikeouts in the first three innings.

So no leadoff walk, and two K’s off a swing-and-misses. Nicely done Mr. Lackey.

End 2nd — Red Sox, Rays 1

The Sox go quietly in the bottom of the 2nd, as Price gets Gomes, Middlebrooks and Drew 1-2-3 on just eight pitches.

Price got Gomes to fly out to deep center, Middlebrooks to ground out to short, and Drew to fly out to left.

This is the first inning of the postseason the Red Sox did not score a run.

Middle 2nd — Red Sox 2, Rays 1

Lackey walked the leadoff man again, giving Ben Zobrist a free pass on five pitches. Lackey walking guys at home is pretty unusual, as he gave out just 15 free passes in 13 Fenway starts during the regular season.

A Desmond Jennings single to center moved Zobrist to third, and he later scored on a sac fly by Delmon Young to deep right.

Jennings stole second, but Lackey got out of it by striking out Jose Molina on a 92 MPH fastball.

20 of Lackey’s 35 pitches have gone for strikes so far, but only five have been swings and misses. He looks a little off, so we’ll have to see if he gets more comfortable as the game goes on.

End 1st — Red Sox 2, Rays 0

The Red Sox got that early lead they wanted in the bottom of the first.

Ellsbury scored easily on a Pedroia sac fly to center, and David Ortiz added another with a monster blast into the Boston bullpen for a solo shot. It’s Ortiz’s 13th career postseason home run, and fifth in the ALDS.

It’s the first homer Papi has hit off Price in his career.

Price struck out Napoli to end the inning, but the damage was done for Boston.

Bot 1st

The Sox are looking to get an early run off Price right now.

Ellsbury hit a second-pitch blooper to right, and after a few pitches and throw overs from Price, took off for second. He had a great jump and stole the bag easily, but went to third as Jose Molina’s throw went into center.

No outs and a man on third for Boston.

Middle 1st

It wasn’t the sharpest inning for Lackey, who walked leadoff hitter David DeJesus on six pitches. It marks just the second time all season Lackey walked the leadoff man.

But he was able to get out of a mini-jam. He struck out Myers swinging on a nice slider, and after James Loney singled to right, Lackey got Evan Longoria to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the inning.

Lackey needed just 15 pitches to get out of the inning, throwing nine strikes.

Now we’ll see what the Sox bats can do against David Price, who they hit .167 against this year.

Pregame — 5:30 p.m.: Baseball is almost here, I can assure you that.

The Fenway fans gave Wil Myers a nice ovation when he was announced in the Rays lineup. He’ll hear plenty more from the fans in right field throughout the evening as well. We’ll see if he can put yesterday’s gaff behind him and figure out those pesky dimensions out there.

It was Tom Menino who threw out the ceremonial first pitch yesterday, and today it was “Gentleman Jim” Lonborg, who won the Cy Young on Boston’s 1967 “Impossible Dream” team.

Pregame — 4:15 p.m.: There are a few quick notes from manager John Farrell’s pregame media session to pass along.

Farrell said his Red Sox know they’re in for a tough game with Price on the mound, and we because of that we might see them be a little more aggressive early on in at-bats and even some small ball.

“We know we’re going to get a lot of power stuff thrown at us and a lot of strikes,” said Farrell “If that causes us to swing the bat a little earlier in the count, we’ll see. We know we’re in for a challenge today.”

He also spoke of the decision to go with Lackey in Game 2 rather than Clay Buchholz, and as he’s said since making that decision, it all has to do witt Lackey’s home/road splits.

“The one thing is that center field and right field here are more spacious than other ballparks, and he’s pitched accordingly to that,” said Farrell. “It’s clear that he’s comfortable with this mound, with the environment and it’s allowed him to be relax and be that much more consistent with his execution. To me that’s why he’s put up a two-run difference here and on the road.”

Lackey was 6-3 with a 2.47 ERA at Fenway, and 4-10 with a 4.48 ERA on the road during the regular season.

The Sox manager also said he could use Koji Uehara for more than one inning today with an off-day on Sunday.

“Today’s a unique opportunity for that, where we’ve got a little more flexibility,” he said. “If we’re in the eighth inning and hopefully trying to preserve a lead, he’s ready to go, as is our whole bullpen.”

Pregame — 3:37 p.m.: We’re still a couple of hours away from Game 2, but baseball is in the air in Boston.

The Red Sox look to take a 2-0 lead over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, but will have to defeat a wizard on the mound to do so.

David Price is on the hill for Tampa today, and though he’s just 2-2 against the Sox this season, the lefty touts a 10-6 career record with a 2.93 ERA against Boston.

However, Price threw 118 pitches on Monday to lead the Rays to a 5-2 win over the Texas Rangers and into the AL Wild Card game against the Indians. Price has been human this season in his four outings after throwing over 115 pitches his previous time out, sporting a 5.31 ERA. He faced Boston after throwing 117 pitches against the Blue Jays back in May, and allowed four earned runs off five hits and departed after just 2.1 innings with a triceps strain. Boston went on to win that one 9-2 in St. Pete.

More recently, on September 15 Price held the Twins to just two runs over 6.1 innings, taking a no decision in a Rays loss, following a 127-pitch outing against Boston. He gave up six hits and walked three that outing, so Price is less than sharp in his starts following a heavy workload.

But this is October baseball, and the adrenaline will be flowing in this one. The key for Boston will be to get to Price early, and give John Lackey, who is 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA in two starts against the Rays this season, plenty of run support to work with.

David Ross will catch for Lackey this afternoon, which is a good thing both behind the plate and at it. Lackey has a 2.38 ERA in the 11.1 innings with Ross behind the plate this season, and the Red Sox’ backup backstop has had success against Price. In five career at-bats, Ross has two hits against Price, both solo home runs.

Here are the lineups for Game 2:

Red Sox

1. Ellsbury, CF

2. Victorino, RF

3. Pedroia, 2B

4. Ortiz, DH

5. Napoli, 1B

6. Gomes, LF

7. Middlebrooks, 3B

8. Drew, SS

9. Ross, C

Rays

1. DeJesus, LF

2. Myers, RF

3. Loney, 1B

4. Longoria, 3B

5. Zobrist, 2B

6. Jennings, CF

7. Young, DH

8. Escobar, SS

9. Molina, C

A few of the Rays have had good success against Lackey, with Evan Longoria a career 10-for-31 against him, and Ben Zobrist 11-for-27. David DeJesus, who wasn’t in the lineup yesterday against lefty Jon Lester, is atop the Rays order today, and is a career 6-for-24 against Lackey.

Just one final note to pass along for now: the Red Sox have gone on to win 10 of 16 postseason series after winning Game 1, but the last team to beat them after losing Game 1 was Tampa in the 2008 ALCS.

The great thing about sports is that even after a dominating 12-2 win, Tampa can steal home-field advantage with a win in Game 2.

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