By Matthew Geagan, CBS Boston

Follow along for all the updates from the Boston’s season opener against the Tampa Bay Rays!

Final — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

Bradley Jr. grounds out to second to end the game, and a painful Opening Day comes to an end for the Red Sox.

The Red Sox were cruising until Joe Kelly and Carson Smith blew a 4-0 lead in the eighth, allowing six Tampa runs off three hits and four walks. It wasted a solid outing from Chris Sale, and ruined Alex Cora’s managerial debut for Boston.

It’s hard to imagine a worse way to start a new season, but at least it’s only one of 162. Still, the concerns about the Boston bullpen rang true down in St. Pete.

At least there’s a pretty big Bruins game set to get underway in the next few minutes. Maybe one Boston team can beat a Tampa team on Thursday.

Top 9th — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

Boston is still alive as Nunez ropes a double down the left field line. He’s now in scoring position for Jackie Bradley Jr., who is 0-for-3 on the afternoon. So he’s obviously due for something great.

Top 9th — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

The Red Sox are down to their final out after Devers grounds out for the second out of the inning. Nunez, 1-for-3, could be their last hope.

Top 9th — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

Bogaerts lines out to center for Boston’s first out of the inning.

End 8th — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

It’s safe for children to look at their TVs again. Mercifully, the inning ends with Joey Wendle grounding out to short. The Rays plated six runs off three hits and four walks in an absolutely brutal inning for the Boston bullpen. Joe Kelly issued three of those walks, and Carson Smith couldn’t clean up the mess.

That duo threw 49 pitches, and only 24 of them went for strikes.

The Red Sox have three outs to plate at least two runs against Tampa closer Alex Colome.

Bottom 8th — Rays 6, Red Sox 4

The Rays get that insurance run as Hechavarria softly hits one over the head of Smith. Bogaerts couldn’t do anything with it and the infield single scored Span to give Tampa a two-run lead.

The disaster continues.

Bottom 8th — Rays 5, Red Sox 4

Well that escalated quickly. Span rocked Smith’s 3-2 offering to deep right well over Mookie’s head (he wasn’t catching that one, boys), and all three runners came in to score to give Tampa their first lead of the game. It’s not over yet, either, with Span just 90 feet away from giving Tampa some insurance.

What a disaster of an inning for the Boston bullpen. The Rays have just three hits in the game but have put up five runs thanks to four walks between Kelly and Smith.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 2

The Red Sox catch a break, as Smith’s wild pitch made its way to the backstop and back to Vazquez quick enough that none of the three Tampa runners could advance. This inning has been downright ugly for the Boston bullpen, but the Sox are one strike away from getting out of it with a two-run lead.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 2

HUGE out for Smith, as he gets Ramos swinging at a nasty slider in the dirt. But the Rays still have the bases loaded with Span stepping to the plate.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 2

Smith walked Miller on five pitches and the Rays are another run closer. Woof.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 1

Kelly walked Gomez (his third walk of the inning) to load the bases, so his day is done. Carson Smith will be tasked with cleaning up Kelly’s mess, with pinch-hitter Brad Miller coming to the plate with just one out.

Hopefully Smith can throw some strikes for the Red Sox.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 1

This one has slowed wayyyyyy down since Sale and Archer left, and things are getting interesting. Kelly walked Kiermaier for his second free pass of the inning, giving the Rays runners on first and second with just one out. Carlos Gomez is now at the plate representing the tying run.

Carson Smith is warming in the bullpen for Boston.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 1

Tampa is on the board thanks to an RBI double to right field by Duffy, scoring Robertson. It’s only the second hit of the day for Tampa, but breaks up Boston’s shutout bid.

Bottom 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Joe Kelly is now on for the Sox.

Middle 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Martinez grounds into a fielder’s choice to end the eighth, and is now 0-for-3 in his Red Sox debut. Lots of time left for him to live up to that contract.

Top 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Mookie gets picked off first for the second out of the inning after he thought a pitch got by Ramos at home. He went just a bit too far off the bag and was tagged out in a very close play.

Top 8th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Mookie Betts has his first hit of the season with a single up the middle to lead off the eighth inning.

End 7th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Easy 1-2-3 inning for Barnes, who retired the side with a ground out, line out and pop out. Solid inning for the Boston righty, who needed just 13 pitches (nine of them strikes) to retire the side.

Bottom 7th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Sale’s day is over, with Matt Barnes coming on for the bottom of the seventh inning.

The Boston ace allowed just one hit and struck out nine Rays over his six innings of work, issuing three walks. Of his 92 pitches, 54 of them went for strikes.

We knew the Red Sox were going to do their best to lighten Sale’s workload throughout the season, and they’re off to a good start.

Top 7th — Red Sox 4, Rays 0

Back-to-back doubles by Bogaerts and Devers gives Boston a nice insurance run to start the seventh inning. Bogaerts led things off by crushing one to center, and Devers drove him in with a screamer to right. That ends Archer’s afternoon with righty Austin Pruitt coming in for Tampa.

Xander is now 3-for-3 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored on the day, and he’s hit the crud out of the baseball.

End 6th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Sale makes quick work of the Rays in the sixth, finishing the 1-2-3 frame with back-to-back K’s of Gomez and Cron — both on fastballs. Sale is up to nine punchouts for the game, but at 92 pitches, his afternoon may be over.

Middle 6th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Another 1-2-3 inning for the Red Sox, with Archer striking out Martinez and Ramirez after getting Benintendi to ground out to start the frame. Archer is up to six strikeouts on the day.

Sale is coming back out for the bottom of the inning, with Matt Barnes warming in the Boston bullpen.

End 5th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Uncharacteristically, Sale walked Refsnyder for his third free pass of the day. Usually walking the No. 9 hitter leads to bad things, but Sale got Duffy to ground out to second on the very next pitch to retire the side.

Bottom 5th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Sale is making Robertson look silly today. He got the second baseman swinging at a 95 MPH inside fastball for his seventh strikeout of the day. It’s the second time he’s put down Robertson by way of the K, and this time he only needed three pitches.

Middle 5th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Tough day for Mookie Betts so far. He’s 0-for-3 and just struck out looking to end the fifth inning for Boston. Archer now has a trio of 1-2-3 innings in the game.

End 4th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Another 1-2-3 inning for Sale, as he gets Span to line out to Bogaerts to end the frame. He also got C.J. Cron swinging to start the inning for his sixth punchout of the game.

He’s making it look easy out there, but is up to 65 pitches for the game. At least 37 of them have gone for strikes.

Middle 4th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Nunez strikes out swinging to end the inning for Boston.

Top 4th — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Tough break for Xander Bogaerts, who just go doubled up on a line-out by Rafael Devers. Xander thought Devers’ sharp liner to right was going to drop, and couldn’t make it back to the bag before Carlos Gomez’s throw.

End 3rd — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Sale works around a leadoff walk by Refsnyder for another scoreless inning. After getting Duffy to pop out to center, he sat down Kiermaier swinging for his fifth strikeout of the game. Gomez flied out to Bradley Jr., in center to end the inning.

Middle 3rd — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Archer makes quick work of the heart of the Sox order in the Top of the 3rd. He got Benintendi to pop out to first, Hanley to ground out to second, and then struck out Martinez swinging to retire the side.

End 2nd — Red Sox 3, Rays  0

Sale worked around some trouble after retiring the first two batters of the inning. Span worked a walk and Adeiny Hechavarria sliced a two-out single to right for Tampa’s first hit of the afternoon. They both advanced on a lazy passed ball by Vazquez to give the Rays runners at second and third with two out.

But Sale froze Robertson with a 97 MPH fastball to end the inning, giving him four strikeouts through two innings. He’s up to 35 pitches on the afternoon/early evening.

Middle 2nd — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Betts fouls out to first to end the inning, but it was a solid one for the Sox offense as they plate a trio of runs. Nice cushion for Sale going forward.

And how’s this for a stat on Nunez’s inside-the-park homer:

Top 2nd — Red Sox 3, Rays 0

Woof, Rays baseball ladies and gentlemen. Nunez blooped one to center that bounced between Kiermaier and Span, and given it’s a carpet in St. Pete, the ball bounced for a while once it got by those two. Nunez raced around the diamond for an inside-the-park homer, giving the Red Sox a 3-0 lead.

It’s the second inside-the-park homer in Nunez’s career, and they’ve both come against Tampa.

If you had Nunez hitting Boston’s first homer of the season — and had a side bet that it was an inside the parker — well you’re very rich now.

Top 2nd — Red Sox 1, Rays 0

Devers grounds out to short for the first out but drives in Martinez to give Boston a 1-0 lead. Bogaerts moved to third, giving Eduardo Nunez a great opportunity to add to that lead.

Top 2nd — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

Xander tattooed a 2-1 offering from Archer, smoking a double off the wall in left to give Boston runners at second and third with no outs.

Baby Devers now has a great opportunity to drive in Boston’s first run(s) of the season.

Top 2nd — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

Martinez works a 6-pitch walk in his first at-bat with the Red Sox. Xander Bogaerts now steps to the plate for Boston.

End 1st — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

That looked easy. Sale needed just 13 pitches to set down the Rays in order, getting Carlos Gomez to pop out to short for the inning’s final out.

J.D. Martinez will lead of the second for Boston.

Bottom 1st — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

Sale sets down Kiermaier on just four pitches, blowing a 97 MPH fastball by the center fielder for the second out of the inning.

Bottom 1st — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

Chris Sale sets down the first batter he sees, Matt Duffy, with a 96 MPH fastball.

Middle 1st — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

The Red Sox go down in order in their first inning of the season. After Mookie’s loud first out, Benintendi grounded out to second and Hanley Ramirez followed with a strikeout. Hanley fought back from a 1-2 count, but went down swinging at a low slider by Archer.

It’s Sale time.

Top 1st — Red Sox 0, Rays 0

Mookie Betts put a charge in the first pitch he saw from Chris Archer and sent it to deep center, but Kevin Kiermaier made a great leaping grab to snag it out of the air against the wall.

3:57 p.m.: First pitch is nearly here! Alex Cora and Kevin Cash are at home plate exchanging lineup cards, and this one is just about ready to get started.

Perhaps this is a new way of speeding up the game — starting early?

3:46 p.m.: The introductions have been made and the National Anthem is about to begin. First pitch is slated for 4:00 p.m., so it’ll be interesting to see how they fill the next 10-plus minutes in St. Pete.

3:44 p.m.: We’re on to the Rays’ starting lineup for today, inching ever so closer to Red Sox baseball.

3:40 p.m.: Introductions have begun at The Trop. The Rays are going all out this year. Nice to see a grounds crew for a dome is getting the recognition they deserve.

2:20 p.m.: Alex Cora remains as cool as a cucumber as he heads into his first season as a manager. It also helps that he has a pair of tiny distractions at home — his eight-month-old twin daughters.

Even with those bundles of joy at home (or in this case, on the road with him), Cora still managed to get a good night’s sleep last night. And this morning was like any other morning for Boston’s new skipper.

“For some reason, I feel OK. I was able to sleep. I got up this morning and had to go to CVS to get diapers and baby food at 9 a.m. — it’s a regular day for me,” Cora said earlier.

So if Cora disappears for a few minutes between innings this afternoon, there’s a chance it was his turn to change one of those diapers.

1:45 p.m.: As we inch closer to the first pitch of the 2018 Red Sox season, here are some interesting notes heading into the game.

– Boston is 58-58-1 all-time on Opening Day, a record that does not included Game 2 of doubleheaders in 1903, 1948 and 1982.

– The Red Sox have won each of their last three Opening Day games. The last time they won four straight openers was from 1997-2000.

– Mookie Betts didn’t hit one out of Fenway Park last season, but hit a homer on Opening Day in both 2015 in Philadelphia and 2016 in Cleveland. The only Red Sox to homer in three or more Opening Day games are Carl Yastrzemski (5), Dwight Evans (4), Ted Williams (3), Jim Rice (3), David Ortiz (3), and Dustin Pedroia (3).

– Chris Sale will make his first Opening Day start for the Red Sox, and while Tropicana Field may not be the most incredible ballpark to play in, it has some special meaning for the Boston ace. It’s where he saw his first-ever baseball game in person when he was nine years old.

“I remember I was sitting just to the left of [section] 144 and I had a Rays jersey on. Whoops,” he recalled to reporters on Wednesday. “My uncle bought me a polo, like for Rays colors, the blue and green and white, and I got mustard on it. So that’s where the jersey came from. And I actually have a panoramic picture at my house of the first pitch being thrown here.”

The Lakeland, Florida native will also have a handful of friends and family on hand to watch him take the hill on Thursday.

12:45 p.m.: Baseball is back!

The most glorious day is upon us, as baseball season is set to begin around North America. For the Red Sox, that means a trip to Tampa to take on the Rays. We’ll have every pitch of that game covered right here in the live blog, but for now as we wait, here’s a peek at the Red Sox’ lineup:

1. Mookie Betts, RF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. Hanley Ramirez, 1B
4. J.D. Martinez, DH
5. Xander Bogaerts, SS
6. Rafael Devers, 3B
7. Eduardo Nunez, 2B
8. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
9. Christian Vazquez, C

Chris Sale, P

And here’s Tampa’s starting lineup:

1. Matt Duffy, 3B
2. Kevin Kiermaier, CF
3. Carlos Gomez, RF
4. C.J. Cron, 1B
5. Wilson Ramos, C
6. Denard Span, LF
7. Adeiny Hevarria, SS
8. Daniel Robertson, 2B
9. Rob Refsnyder, DH

Chris Archer, P

First pitch will be at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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