Fenway erupts

October, 16, 2008
11:35 p.m. ET
Maybe Joe Maddon knows something nobody else knows, but it's surprising that he didn't bring in J.P. Howell or Trever Miller, both lefties, to pitch to David Ortiz in the seventh inning.

Ortiz, who is 1-for-9 in his career against Howell and 1-for-11 against Miller, broke a 15-game postseason home run drought with a three-run shot off Grant Balfour to pull Boston to within 7-4 and get the Fenway crowd back in the game.

In the eighth inning, with Howell warming up, J.D. Drew just hit another homer off righty Dan Wheeler to pull the Red Sox within 7-6. This place is shaking right now.

--Jerry Crasnick

Upton on fire (10:45 p.m. ET)
After his two-run double off Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the seventh, B.J. Upton is 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Overall, Upton is 8-for-20 in the series with three home runs and 10 RBIs.

--Matt Szefc, ESPN.com baseball editor

Everything working out for Maddon (9:45 p.m. ET)
Manager Joe Maddon's experiment with Scott Kazmir is looking pretty good so far. Tampa Bay's young lefty has thrown 82 pitches through four innings, so he's not going to go a whole lot deeper into this game. But if Kazmir can give the Rays another solid inning, Maddon has J.P. Howell, Grant Balfour, Trever Miller, Chad Bradford and Dan Wheeler to divvy up the final 12 outs.

Balfour and Wheeler haven't pitched since Saturday, so they're about as rested as they can get.

--Jerry Crasnick

Doesn't look good for Red Sox (9:15 p.m. ET)
Here's some bad news for Red Sox fans who might be harboring thoughts of a comeback: The Rays are 38-0 this season when they've established a lead of five runs or more.

--Jerry Crasnick

Rays hitting the longball (9:12 p.m. ET)
With the three home runs the Rays have hit tonight -- one each by B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena and Evan Longoria -- Tampa Bay has now hit 13 homers in the series. Longoria leads the Rays with four homers, while Upton and Pena have gone deep three times apiece.

--Matt Szefc, ESPN.com baseball editor

Kazmir piling up the pitches (8:59 p.m. ET)
Scott Kazmir has thrown 46 pitches -- 23 strikes -- through the first two innings. And he's allowed only one hit -- a second-inning single to Mark Kotsay.

--Matt Szefc, ESPN.com baseball editor

Big Papi awful quiet (8:28 p.m. ET)
David Ortiz's strikeout in the bottom of the first inning was his fifth of the ALCS. He also has only one hit (in 15 at-bats) and no RBIs in the series.

--Matt Szefc, ESPN.com baseball editor

Rays pregame notes (6:59 p.m. ET)
• Cliff Floyd will start at DH for the Rays. He's 2-for-14, including eight strikeouts, at Fenway Park this season. Gabe Gross, who will start in right field, hasn't been much better. He's hitting .185 at Fenway this season and has struck out nine times in seven games.

• The Rays scored five runs in the first three innings of Game 3 and five runs in the first three innings of Game 4. During the regular season, the Rays averaged 1½ runs in the first three innings of games.

• In his past three games, Evan Longoria has homered, walked and homered in his first at-bat of the game.

--Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Red Sox need to make 'Kazmir work' (5:45 p.m. ET)
Boston's leadoff hitters are hitless in 19 at-bats in the series, so manager Terry Francona continues to tinker with the top of the order. After going with Jacoby Ellsbury and J.D. Drew, he's written Coco Crisp's name into the top spot against Scott Kazmir.

As Mark Simon of ESPN Research points out, this is Crisp's first postseason appearance in the No. 1 spot. Crisp hit .203 in 17 games at leadoff in 2008.

The Red Sox always try to take pitches and go deep in counts, but they'll be particularly attentive to that task against Kazmir in Game 5.

"We understand that making Kazmir work is very, very important,'' Francona said. "When we've had success against him, for the most part we've gotten him out of games and made him work.''

--Jerry Crasnick

A few lineup changes (5:40 p.m. ET)
Coco Crisp, who will lead off for the Red Sox tonight, was 4-for-7 (1-for-2 in the postseason) against Tampa Bay starter Scott Kazmir in 2008.

Manager Terry Francona dropped J.D. Drew to sixth and Mark Kotsay to ninth in the order. He moved Jed Lowrie up to seventh.

The Rays have Cliff Floyd as their DH and Gabe Gross in right field. Otherwise, their lineup is the same.

--Jim Caple

Pregame notes (5:38 p.m. ET)
• Including the regular season, Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-12 against Scott Kazmir in 2008 with three home runs.

• The Red Sox, after losing three of their first four games against the Indians in last year's ALCS, hit .381 during the final three games with four home runs and 30 runs scored.

--Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Complete lineups for Game 5 (5:35 p.m. ET)
Here's the full lineup for the Rays tonight:

Akinori Iwamura, 2B
B.J. Upton, CF
Carlos Pena, 1B
Evan Longoria, 3B
Carl Crawford, LF
Cliff Floyd, DH
Dioner Navarro, C
Gabe Gross, RF
Jason Bartlett, SS
Scott Kazmir, P

And the Red Sox's full lineup:

Coco Crisp, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
Jason Bay, LF
J.D. Drew, RF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Jason Varitek, C
Mark Kotsay, 1B
Daisuke Matsuzaka, P

--Matt Szefc, ESPN.com baseball editor


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