Final, 8-0 Red Sox: That’s all she wrote on this one, as Layne got Utley to ground out to first and Howard to line out to Sandoval (standing on the right-field side of the second base bag). Ruiz walked on four pitches, but Jeff Francouer then grounded out to third base to end the ballgame.
That was quite the eventful opener, one that certainly gets this season off to a promising start for Boston.READ MORE: Kyle Van Noy Hosts Christmas Party For Foster Children In Need
Middle 9th, 8-0 Red Sox: Cesar Jimenez got Sandoval to strike out and Victorino to fly out to get out of the top of the ninth. But obviously, the damage was already done.
Tommy Layne will pitch the bottom of the ninth for Boston.
Top 9th, 1 out, 8-0 Red Sox: Jake Diekman entered the game to pitch for Philly, and he immediately got himself into some trouble. Allen Craig, pinch-hitting in the pitcher’s spot, smoked a single through the left side of the infield. Diekman then walked Betts on just four pitches.
Diekman then won a battle with Pedroia, getting the second baseman to swing and miss at a 98 mph heater for strike three.
Mike Napoli then took his first at-bat of the season, falling behind 1-2 before working the count full and earning himself a free base on balls.
With the bases loaded, up stepped Hanley Ramirez. The left fielder took two healthy cuts at the first two pitches he saw, falling behind 0-2. But Diekman went to a breaking ball on the 0-2 count and hung it over the plate. Ramirez turned on it in a hurry, banging it off the left-field foul pole for a grand slam.
That ought to put this one in the books. Diekman is done for the day, and the Sox lead 8-0.
End 8th, 4-0 Red Sox: New pitcher, same results for the Red Sox, as Tazawa sits Andres Blanco, Ben Revere and Odubel Herrera down in order.
The Sox are now just three outs away from a 1-0 start to the season, but you can bet they’ll be swinging for the fences to try to add to that lead in the top of the ninth. The pitcher’s spot is due up first, then the top of the order.
Middle 8th, 4-0 Red Sox: An uneventful inning for the Sox, as Sandoval and Victorino grounded out before Bogaerts worked a walk. Hanigan came to bat with two outs and he grounded out to shortstop.
Junichi Tazawa is coming into the game to pitch for Boston. Buchholz’s day is done.
End 7th, 4-0 Red Sox: If that is going to be the afternoon for Buchholz, then he ended it on a high note, getting Freddy Galvis to swing and miss for the third out of the inning.
Buchholz had gotten into a little trouble, allowing singles to Ruiz (liner to right) and Sizemore (grounder up the middle), but Pedroia came up with an incredible play at second base to make the crucial second out on a hard-hit grounder by Asche.
Up stepped Galvin, with runners on the corner and two outs, but he went down swinging for Buchholz’s ninth strikeout of the day.
Buchholz: 7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 9 SO, 0 ER. He’s thrown 94 pitches, so he’s likely done, but I’ve said that already and I was wrong.
Also of note — Mike Napoli entered the game in place of David Ortiz.
Middle 7th, 4-0 Red Sox: The Sox got off to a promising start that inning, with Betts and Pedroia both singling through the hole on the left side of the infield to start things off. But David Ortiz struck out, and Hanley Ramirez grounded into a 6-3 double play, and it’s on to the seventh-inning stretch.
Buchholz is heading back out there for the seventh.
End 6th, 4-0 Red Sox: Clay Buchholz continues to be the story. He just struck out Odubel Herrera and Chase Utley for strikeouts No. 7 and 8 of the afternoon after getting Ben Revere to line out to first base to start the inning.
Buchholz has his off-speed stuff working today, getting most of his K’s via changeup and curveball.
He’s thrown 83 pitches, so he might be done for the day, but if so, that’s an impressive outing to start the season: 6 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 0 R, 8 SO.
Middle 6th, 4-0 Red Sox: Clay Buchholz nearly contributed on the other side of things, as he sent a sharp grounder to the hole between short and third. But Freddy Galvis made a nice backhand stab and threw over to first to end the inning.
Shane Victorino was the lone batter to reach base that inning, after his second walk of the day, with Bogaerts flying out and Hanigan grounding out.
End 5th, 4-0 Red Sox: Three up, three down yet again for Buchholz.
Cesar Hernandez, pinch hitting for Hamels, did give one a ride, but Victorino was able to make a catch while smashing into the right-field fence. Shane was smiling after making the play, but that couldn’t have felt too good.
So through five innings, Buchholz has thrown just 67 pitches, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out six.
Right-hander Luis Garcia is in the game to pitch for the Phillies.
Middle 5th, 4-0 Red Sox: You might have read a story or two this spring that Dustin Pedroia might have his power back, now that his hands and fingers aren’t all banged up. Well, through three plate appearances, he’s making a case.
Pedroia belted an inside fastball over the wall in left field, nearly in the same place that he did in the first inning. When it came down, it was the second dinger of the day for Pedroia.
He hit seven home runs all of last year.
David Ortiz tried to go back-to-back with Pedroia but ended up striking out. No matter, as Hanley Ramirez was there to add to the Philadelphia Tater Party. Ramirez cranked an 0-1 pitch over the left-field wall, stretching the Boston lead to 4-0.
So, on the strength of four solo homers, the Sox lead 4-0.
Hamels, by the way, allowed just 14 homers in 30 starts last year.
End 4th, 2-0 Red Sox: Clay Buchholz hasn’t looked this good since the first half of 2013.
He struck out Herrera and Utley to lead off the inning, before allowing a double to Howard. That hit broke up the no-hitter and ended a stretch where Buchholz had retired nine batters in a row.
Clay followed up the Howard double by walking Ruiz after a seven-pitch battle, but he got Sizemore to ground out to shortstop. Xander Bogaerts fielded the grounder and ran to the second base bag to record the final out of the inning on his own.
A couple of hiccups, but overall, Buchholz looks sharp. He’s thrown 55 pitches, so he should be able to give the Sox at least a couple of more innings. He’s allowed one hit and one walk.READ MORE: 'Get Vaccinated And Get Boosted': Gov. Baker Pushes COVID Shots In Brockton
Middle 4th, 2-0 Red Sox: Ryan Hanigan is hitting eighth today, and he’s now kept the inning alive twice in two chances. That’s big, because it allowed Buchholz to come to the plate with two outs instead of leading off the next inning.
This time, Hanigan roped a 3-2 pitch over third base for a single. Buchholz made contact again, but Ryan Howard fielded the grounder and backhanded it over to Hamels for the final out of the inning.
End 3rd, 2-0 Red Sox: Clay continues to roll, getting Galvis, Hamels and Revere to go down in order. Galvis bunted out to second on the first pitch of the inning, Hamels got caught looking at a 1-2 curveball, and Revere lined out to second. Revere made some solid contact on a pitch above the belt, but Pedroia was in the right place to make the inning-ending play.
Buchholz thus far: 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 SO, 30 pitches, 21 strikes. Not bad.
Middle 3rd, 2-0 Red Sox: The Mookie homer was all the damage done, but Hamels again had to labor through that inning. He got Pedroia (5-3), Ortiz (P6) and Sandoval (K), but Hanley Ramirez worked a walk in the middle of it. In total, Hamels threw 26 pitches that inning and he’s now up to 64 pitches on the day.
Top 3rd, 2-0 Red Sox: Mookie Betts isn’t waiting around. The kid just swung away at the first pitch of the third inning, and he blasted it into the left-field seats. That was a no-doubt-about-it shot, and it doubles the Sox’ lead.
End 2nd, 1-0 Red Sox: Clay Buchholz is cruising early on.
He got Carlos Ruiz to flail helplessly at a changeup for a strikeout to start the inning. Grady Sizemore then grounded into the shift at second base, and Cody Asche got caught looking at a 3-2 curveball perfectly placed on the outside edge.
Clay has thrown 23 pitches through two innings, and the only batter to reach came via error.
The top of the order is due up for the Red Sox.
Middle 2nd, 1-0 Red Sox: Hamels had a lot more work to do that inning, but he escaped unscathed.
After Pablo Sandoval hurled his bat to the shortstop position while flailing at a 3-1 changeup, the Sox’ new third baseman grounded out to second base.
Shane Victorino then received a standing ovation from the Philly fans and promptly worked a five-pitch walk. He advanced to second when Hamels was called for a balk. Victorino later stole third base.
Xander Bogaerts popped out in foul ground to Ryan Howard, which brought up Ryan Hanigan in front of the pitcher’s spot with two outs. Though Hanigan missed out on an infield single when Carlos Ruiz patiently let a nubber up the third base line go foul, Hanigan eventually worked a walk.
In stepped Buchholz, who surprisingly took three straight balls to get ahead in the count. After Hamels gathered himself and got the count full, Buchholz sent the 3-2 offering right back to the box. Hamels fielded the hard grounder and made the final out of the inning at first base, but not before throwing 29 pitches in that second frame.
End 1st, 1-0 Red Sox: Buchholz was well on his way to a nice and easy first inning of 2015, getting Chase Utley to roll out gently along the first-base line following two flyouts. Yet Buchholz booted the baseball, allowing Utley to reach and bringing Ryan Howard to bat.
Fortunately for Buchholz, the error only cost him one extra pitch, as Howard grounded to Pedroia in the shift to end the inning.
Nine pitches for Hamels, and nine pitches for Buchholz. This game could be a quick one at this pace.
Middle 1st, 1-0 Red Sox: The Red Sox got out to an early lead, thanks to Dustin Pedroia.
Other than that hammering of a 1-1 pitch, Cole Hamels breezed through the Sox. Mookie Betts popped out on the second pitch, David Ortiz struck out with a check swing on four pitches, and Hanley Ramirez hit a sharp liner to right on the first pitch he saw. Sizemore made the catch on that, getting Hamels out of the inning on just nine pitches (eight strikes). But Pedroia made the most of his at-bat, giving the Sox a lead.
Clearly, the Sox are going up there swinging against Hamels today.
Now it’s time to see what Buchholz has.
Top 1st, 0-0: Under sunny skies and in 68-degree weather, the season is underway.
Cole Hamels’ first pitch to Mookie Betts was a called strike, and this one has begun.
3:01 p.m.: The 2015 Red Sox season is now just minutes away.
2:46 p.m.: And now the Phillies are making their way onto the field.
2:43 p.m.: The Red Sox are being introduced one-by-one on the field at Citzens Bank Park right now.
Shane Victorino received a pretty healthy ovation from his former home crowd.
2:36 p.m.: Some pretty cool info from the Red Sox Twitter account:
Elsewhere in the American League East, Alex Rodriguez received a standing ovation from Yankee fans. So. Isn’t that something?
11:15 a.m.: It’s officially baseball season, and the Boston Red Sox are set to open 2015 with a lineup that looks almost completely different from last year.
The Sox will open in Philadelphia today, with first pitch coming shortly after 3 p.m. Their lineup will look like this:
1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, 1B
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
6. Shane Victorino, RF
7. Xander Bogaerts, SS
8. Ryan Hanigan, C
9. Clay Buchholz, P
The odd man out, of course, is Mike Napoli, the man who spent his spring cranking dingers out of ballparks all across Florida. He’ll likely get an at-bat at some point in this game, as Buchholz shouldn’t be expected to go too deep in his first start of the season.
Beyond Napoli, the Sox bench will consist of Daniel Nava, Allen Craig, Brock Holt and Sandy Leon.
Here’s what the Phillies lineup looks like:
1. Ben Revere, LF
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 3B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Grady Sizemore, RF
7. Cody Asche, 3B
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Cole Hamels, P
Check back throughout the day leading up to the game, and also throughout the afternoon, as we’ll have updates and analysis through the whole game.MORE NEWS: Car Involved In Holbrook Crash Was Stolen From Amazon Driver, Police Say