Tampa Bay at Boston

Tampa Bay
W: S. Kazmir (1-0) L: J. Lester (0-1)
S: G. Balfour (1)
HR: TB - C. Pena (1), E. Longoria (1)   BOS - None

This time, Rays bullpen preserves victory for Kazmir at Fenway

CBSSports.com wire reports

BOSTON -- Scott Kazmir recalled being in the Rays clubhouse at Fenway Park last year, watching the plastic go up to protect the lockers from champagne. The AL championship was within reach.

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The bubbly never flowed that October night when the Red Sox rallied from nowhere to win Game 5 of the ALCS.

The outcome was better on Wednesday night when Kazmir pitched six strong innings, reliever Grant Balfour escaped a bases-loaded jam in the eighth and Tampa Bay beat Boston 7-2.

"I remember sitting right there on that couch" in the middle of room, Kazmir said, recalling the night he left with a 5-0 lead that the bullpen turned into an 8-7 loss. "[I was] watching them putting things up and getting ready for a celebration and then watching them take it down."

Winning the second game of the season certainly isn't cause for celebration. But it was satisfying to Kazmir (1-0), who didn't make his first start last year until May 4 because of a strained elbow. That also was at Fenway Park. And he lost.

"Is that right? I had no idea," he said. "I like pitching here. The adrenaline gets going. It's only fitting that I start out at Fenway."

Kazmir allowed one run and five hits in his 11th start at Fenway since 2005, the most by any opponent. His 2.88 ERA at the park is the best by any opposing pitcher with a minimum of 50 innings there.

"I thought his last few outings in spring training were very good," Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. "I really thought he was going to carry it over, and he did."

Carlos Pena hit a two-run homer after striking out in his first five at-bats this season and Evan Longoria hit a solo home run.

Jon Lester (0-1), who lost Game 7 of the ALCS to Tampa Bay, allowed five runs in five innings.

"The biggest thing for them is they make adjustments from at-bat to at-bat," he said. "I didn't make the right adjustments to follow."

Tampa Bay bounced back after losing Tuesday's opener 5-3 to Josh Beckett, who struck out 10 in seven sharp innings.

Lester's 16-game regular-season unbeaten streak at home ended with his first loss since last April 9 against Detroit. He also lost Game 3 of the ALCS at Fenway.

Tampa Bay scored four runs in the fifth when the first four batters reached base.

Gabe Kapler walked and took third on Akinori Iwamura's hit-and-run single that went through the shortstop hole vacated by Jed Lowrie, who ran to cover second. Kapler scored on Jason Bartlett's safety squeeze bunt down the first-base line just in front of home plate.

"That was probably the biggest play of the inning," Boston manager Terry Francona said. "Then Pena hits the home run. That's the backbreaker."

Carl Crawford singled, loading the bases, and Iwamura scored on Longoria's double play. Pena then hit his first homer to straightaway center field.

Longoria connected in the eighth and Crawford singled in a run in the ninth.

Kazmir had an outstanding changeup and left with a 5-1 lead. Dan Wheeler relieved Kazmir and pitched a perfect seventh, but J.P. Howell put the Red Sox in position to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth.

David Ortiz singled, took second on Kevin Youkilis' single and scored on Jason Bay's double. Howell then hit Mike Lowell with a pitch, bringing up Lowrie as the potential tying run.

Balfour came in and ended the threat on Lowrie's swinging third strike and pitched the ninth for the save.

"This is not an easy place to pitch," Balfour said, "but I was locked in and didn't hear anything."

The Rays went ahead 1-0 in the third after Iwamura led off with a double. He stayed at second on Bartlett's infield single to shortstop then scored when Youkilis made a diving stop of Crawford's grounder but threw wildly to second.

The Red Sox tied it in the bottom half. Dustin Pedroia doubled and scored on Youkilis' single to center. In the first, though, they wasted two walks.

"I really felt good. Got myself in a little but of trouble in the first inning and worked out of it," Kazmir said. "It feels good to get the first win out of the way."


  • Ortiz is 7-for-39 (.179) against Kazmir after going 0-for-2.
  • Lester allowed five runs or more in only five of his 33 regular-season starts last year.
  • Outfielders Kapler of Tampa Bay and Rocco Baldelli of Boston made their first starts of the season, both against their former teams.
  • Through 1½ innings, only three of the 13 batters put the ball in play. Seven struck out and three walked.
Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
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Carlos Pena goes deep in the fifth inning to help the Rays pin another defeat on Jon Lester.  (Getty Images)
Carlos Pena goes deep in the fifth inning to help the Rays pin another defeat on Jon Lester. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Tampa Bay

E. Longoria
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1

K. Youkilis
AB 4
R 0
H 3
HR 0

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Tampa Bay Rays
Jason Bartlett, SS5131020 .500
Carl Crawford, LF5031000 .500
Evan Longoria, 3B5121003 .333
Carlos Pena, 1B4112012 .125
Pat Burrell, DH3000100 .000
Dioner Navarro, C4000011 .000
Ben Zobrist, RF4000011 .000
Gabe Kapler, CF3110111 .333
Akinori Iwamura, 2B4330001 .667
2B - Evan Longoria (1, Lester), Gabe Kapler (1, Lopez), Akinori Iwamura (1, Lester)
HR - Evan Longoria (1, Saito), Carlos Pena (1, Lester)
RBI - Jason Bartlett (1), Carl Crawford (2), Evan Longoria (3), Carlos Pena 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Carl Crawford (1), Carlos Pena 2 (2)
Team LOB - 5
Outfield Assists - Gabe Kapler 1
Tampa Bay Rays
Scott Kazmir (W,1-0) 6511340 1.50
Dan Wheeler 1000010 0.00
J.P. Howell 0.2311020 13.50
Grant Balfour (S,1) 1.1000010 0.00
HBP - Lowell (by J.P. Howell)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 111-68, Dan Wheeler 15-10, J.P. Howell 16-11, Grant Balfour 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 2-11, Grant Balfour 1-2
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 25, Dan Wheeler 3, J.P. Howell 6, Grant Balfour 4
Boston Red Sox
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF5010000 .111
Dustin Pedroia, 2B4110111 .286
David Ortiz, DH3110111 .333
Kevin Youkilis, 1B4031012 .625
Rocco Baldelli, RF4010024 .250
Jason Bay, LF4011012 .286
Mike Lowell, 3B3000002 .143
Jed Lowrie, SS3000123 .143
Jason Varitek, C4000001 .125
2B - Dustin Pedroia (1, Kazmir), Jason Bay (1, Howell)
RBI - Kevin Youkilis (1), Jason Bay (2)
2-OUT RBI - Kevin Youkilis (1), Jason Bay (2)
Team LOB - 9
Outfield Assists - Jacoby Ellsbury 1
DP - Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis, Lowrie-Pedroia-Youkilis
E - Kevin Youkilis (1, Throwing)
Boston Red Sox
Jon Lester (L,0-1) 5855251 9.00
Manny Delcarmen 1000000 0.00
Ramon Ramirez 1000010 0.00
Takashi Saito 1111001 9.00
Javier Lopez 1411000 9.00
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lester 94-60, Manny Delcarmen 17-10, Ramon Ramirez 13-10, Takashi Saito 16-9, Javier Lopez 20-13
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lester 6-2, Manny Delcarmen 3-0, Javier Lopez 1-1
Batters Faced - Jon Lester 23, Manny Delcarmen 3, Ramon Ramirez 3, Takashi Saito 4, Javier Lopez 6
Game Information
Attendance - 37552
Game Time - 3:10
Temperature - 45
Umpires - Home - Bob Davidson, First Base - Jeff Nelson, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - Tim Tschida