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Final, 7-3 Tigers: There was some fun in the ninth, as Xander Bogaerts led off with a ground-rule double to right field, followed up by an Ellsbury triple that bounced off the first base bag and over a diving Prince Fielder.
Alas, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia struck out in the two at-bats that followed, and Ortiz flew out to right field on a full count to end the game.
End 8th, 7-2 Tigers: The bullpen pitched five innings without giving up a run, capped off by Felix Doubront pitching around a hit by pitch, walk and single in the eighth.
It’s now up to Xander Bogaerts and then the top of the order to try to mount a crazy rally.
Middle 8th, 7-2 Tigers: I said the Red Sox needed two or three, but all they got was three outs. Three in a row, actually, with pinch hitter Jonny Gomes popping up, Saltalamacchia striking out and Stephen Drew flying out to fould ground in left field.
End 7th, 7-2 Tigers: The Boston bullpen is doing a mighty fine job of keeping the score where it is, and it was Franklin Morales getting the job done in the seventh. He got two quick outs from Cabrera (with a big assist to Victorino, who made a great play before crashing into the right field wall) and Fielder before giving up a single to Martinez. Don Kelly then battled in a long at-bat, but Morales eventually got him to pop out to second base.
The clock is ticking on the Sox’ chances though. They need two or three here to make the ninth interesting.
Middle 7th, 7-2 Tigers: Smyly gets a grounder to second from Ortiz and a pop-up to first from Napoli, and just like that, the inning is killed.
The Sox have just six outs to try to mount a huge rally. That seventh inning was another big missed chance.
Top 7th, 7-2 Tigers, 1 out: Life indeed.
Victorino hit a 1-2 slider from Alburquerque into the left-center field gap, allowing Ellsbury to come all the way around to score.
Dustin Pedroia nearly reached on a softly hit ground ball to third, but Cabrera’s throw just beat him by a half-step.
Leyland is going back to the bullpen, bringing Drew Smyly in to face David Ortiz with one out and one on.
Top 7th, 7-1 Tigers: Life for the Red Sox? Maybe.
Dustin Pedroia just singled off lefty Phil Coke to lead off the inning. Jim Leyland came right out of the dugout and signaled for Al Alburquerque to come in to face Victorino.
End 6th 7-1 Tigers: A leadoff single goes to waste for Detroit, as Jose Iglesias grounds into a double play that doesn’t count due to a missed call at first base, but Torii Hunter follows up with a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
You know this, but … the Red Sox need runs.
Middle 6th, 7-1 Tigers: There is life for the Red Sox, however small it may be.
Mike Napoli and Daniel Nava hit back-to-back one-out singles, and Saltalamacchia singled with a line drive over Fister’s head to drive in the Red Sox’ first run of the night.
It stopped there, as Drew swung right through a 3-2 curveball, and pinch hitter Mike Carp grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Fister’s at 98 pitches through six innings.
End 5th, 7-0 Tigers: Brandon Workman has done his job tonight, getting out of that inning unscathed and keeping the Detroit lead to “just” seven runs. The “just” stays in quotation marks until the Red Sox put a couple on the board, because right now, a seven-run deficit might as well be a seventy-run deficit.
Middle 5th, 7-0 Tigers: The Red Sox might have had something going there, but they’re not catching any breaks here. After Jacoby Ellsbury’s one-out double, Victorino sent a flare to shallow left field. Iglesias made the catch going away from the dirt and quickly flipped to second, just barely drawing Infante off the bag to double up Ellsbury.
Pedroia then hit a little chopper down the third base line. Cabrera charged, bare-handed the ball and fired to first to beat Pedroia by a half-step.
The bloops aren’t falling in, and Miguel Cabrera is looking like Brooks Robinson. It appears to be one of those nights right now.
End 4th, 7-0 Tigers: Things are bad for Boston. Really bad.
Workman came on and made a very difficult play to retire Iglesias on a sacrifice bunt, which came after Jackson stole second. With a runner on third, Workman made another nice play, snagging a shot off the bat of Torii Hunter and throwing to first base for the second out.
But Miguel Cabrera stepped to plate and singled up the middle on the first pitch to allow the Tigers’ seventh run to cross the plate.
That closed the book on Peavy, who was charged with all seven runs, all earned, in three-plus innings.
If you thought Sunday night’s comeback was a miracle, what would tonight’s be?
Bottom 4th, 6-0 Tigers, 0 out, 1 on: Jake Peavy’s night is over after he allowed another run in the fourth.
Again, it was Dustin Pedroia who couldn’t come up with a tough-yet-makeable play, as he let a hot shot off the bat of Austin Jackson bounce off his glove and into right field. Omar Infante, who was at second after leading off with a ground-rule double, hustled all the way and scored the Tigers’ sixth run.
That’s it for Peavy, who could not get it done tonight. He allowed six runs on five hits and three walks in three-plus innings, and he’s responsible for the runner on first.
Brandon Workman is on for the Sox to face Iglesias.
Middle 4th, 5-0 Tigers: A two-out single by Jarrod Saltalmacchia doesn’t help the Sox, as Stephen Drew flies out to right field to end the inning. Napoli and Nava both struck out to start the inning, and Fister has five strikeouts through four innings. It’s not quite as bad for the Sox as it was in Games 1 through three, but it sure isn’t good.
End 3rd, 5-0 Tigers: Well, that inning went better for Peavy. The hobbled V-Mart hit a soft grounder past the mound, but he couldn’t make it to first in time to beat Drew’s throw, which pulled Napoli off the bag for a tag play at first. Peralta then grounded to short, and Avila made a loud out on a fly ball to left field to end the inning.
Middle 3rd, 5-0 Tigers: If the Red Sox are to get back into this game, the ideal scenario would be David Ortiz stepping to the plate with runners on base. They got that in the third, but Ortiz couldn’t come through.
After a wall-ball single for Ellsbury and a five-pitch walk by Pedroia, Ortiz stepped to the plate with two on and two out. He worked the count full, but with the runners in motion on 3-2, he hit a ground ball into the shift for the inning’s final out. Another missed opportunity there.
The Red Sox also seemed to be upset with Alfonso Marquez’s strike zone, particularly after Shane Victorino let a curveball go by for strike three. I don’t think they have much of a case though; Marquez has been fine.
End 2nd, 5-0 Tigers: Jake Peavy walked three batters in the bottom of the second. They all came around to score.
Martinez led off with a single before Peavy walked Jhonny Peralta on four pitches. Alex Avila then worked the count full, fouled off a pitch and then took ball four to load the bases with nobody out. Infante hit a bloop to center, which Jacoby Ellsbury made a diving catch on. Martinez, who hurt his leg in the ninth inning yesterday, was cheating down the line a bit rather than tagging, so he didn’t score.
No matter, because Austin Jackson followed it up with a four-pitch walk to let Martinez trot home with the game’s first run. Jose Iglesias then stepped up and hit a hard grounder to second. It would have been an inning-ending double play, but he bobbled it, and the Sox only got one out at second base, allowing another run to score.
Up stepped Torii Hunter, and he made the mistake costly, smashing a line drive past a diving Will Middlebrooks to plate two more runs. Miguel Cabrera then singled into center to drive home Hunter, and the Tigers lead 5-0.
Pedroia is no doubt furious with himself after that misplay, because it enabled a 1-0 game to turn into a 5-0 game.
Middle 2nd, 0-0: Mike Napoli led off the inning with a line drive double, assisted by Miguel Cabrera’s complete inability to leap to catch the ball. Alas, the Red Sox can’t make much of it. Nava grounded out to second to move Napoli over to third, but Saltalamacchia popped out in foul ground to Cabrera, and Stephen Drew watched strike three make its way right past him for the final out.
A runner on third with one out, and the Sox didn’t get him in. That’s the first missed opportunity of this one.
End 1st, 0-0: New lineup, no problem for Peavy, who retires the side in order. He got Torii Hunter and Prince Fielder to ground out to third base, sandwiched around a Miguel Cabrera strikeout. Peavy fell behind Cabrera 3-1, but he hit the low and inside corner on back-to-back pitches to get a foul ball and a strikeout looking. Good start for Peavy, who needed just 12 pitches in the first.
Middle 1st, 0-0: The Red Sox won’t get no-hit tonight.
After Jacoby Ellsbury grounded to second and Victorino popped out to first, Dustin Pedroia singled over Omar Infante’s head at second base for a first-inning single.
It didn’t do much, as Ortiz chopped out to second base to end the inning. Jake Peavy time now.
Top 1st, 0-0: Doug Fister’s first pitch to Jacoby Ellsbury is a fastball on the outside edge of the plate, and Game 4 is under way.
8:01 p.m.: Oh, and let’s hope the power doesn’t go out again!
7:58 p.m.: First pitch is just about here. I think a key for the Red Sox will be getting a hit early on. It’s been simply too difficult for them to fight in every game. They ought to make things a bit easier for themselves tonight by squaring up a couple of offerings from Fister and get on the board early.
6:18 p.m.: As we wait to see if the NLCS will continue beyond this afternoon, here are tonight’s lineups:
1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Shane Victorino, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Daniel Nava, LF
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Stephen Drew, SS
9. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
1. Torii Hunter, RF
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
3. Prince Fielder, 1B
4. Victor Martinez, DH
5. Jhonny Peralta, LF
6. Alex Avila, C
7. Omar Infante, 2B
8. Austin Jackson, CF
9. Jose Iglesias, SS
It’s a big mix-up for the Tigers, with Jim Leyland sliding up the lineup and moving former leadoff man Austin Jackson to the eight spot. He’s also putting Peralta back in left field and starting Iglesias, who curiously was used as a pinch hitter in Game 3.
4 p.m.: The Red Sox have just 12 hits in three games to go along with their 43 strikeouts, and yet, they are in firm possession of a 2-1 series lead. That’s thanks to some timely hitting and some lights-out pitching from John Lackey in Game 3, and tonight, they’ll try to keep it going to stretch it to a commanding 3-1 series lead.
It will be Jake Peavy on the mound for Boston tonight in Game 4, opposed by Doug Fister. Peavy, as is his M.O., battled his butt off in his one ALDS start, when he limited the Rays to just one run on five hits and zero walks in his 5 2/3 innings of work. He threw just 74 pitches before John Farrell took him out, and that clinching game was eight days ago, so the veteran right-hander will be plenty strong when this one begins.
“That was the exciting part about getting traded,” Peavy said Tuesday. “It was obviously hard to leave a place I loved and had so many friendships and relationships with in Chicago. But when you get traded you know you’re going to a contender and this is what, as a competitor, as a baseball player, playing at the highest level, you dream of being able to do, pitch in games that mean the world to your teammates, to yourself, to your coaching staff and your fan base.
“I promise you this: every part of me will be ready to go [Wednesday] and I’ll be mentally prepared and rested. I’ll be physically ready and rested. It comes down to go out and executing pitches and staying under control. I can’t tell you how excited I am for [Game 4], but at the same time, all that excitement and adrenaline will be channeled in the right direction as it was in Tampa.”
Fister is rested just the same, and he’s coming off six innings against the A’s in which he allowed three runs on seven hits, including a two-run home run by Jed Lowrie.
The good news for the Red Sox? Fister had just one strikeout in his last outing, so perhaps the Boston bats won’t spend the majority of tonight’s game swinging and missing.
The first pitch is at 8:07 p.m., and we’ll have any and all pregame updates leading up to then, along with play-by-play and analysis all game long. Check back with the live blog as the Sox look to take a 3-1 lead and the Tigers try to even it all up at 2-2.