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Red Sox seek long outing from Masterson

Red Sox seek long outing from Masterson

ST. PETERSBURG -- Just as the Red Sox try not to get euphoric over dramatic comeback victories -- and they've had a few of them at late -- they don't dwell over a bad loss, even as bad as the 13-0 pounding Tampa Bay pulled off on Thursday night.

Manager Terry Francona had Friday night's game in mind when he saved the bulk of his bullpen in the late stages of Thursday's blowout.

Outfielder Jonathan Van Every recorded two outs in that loss. To Francona that was a far better option than using Jonathan Papelbon, Hideki Okajima, Manny Delcarmen or Ramon Ramirez in a meaningless situation.

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In general, the Red Sox have asked a lot out of their bullpen recently. Starters, with the exception of knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, have not been going deep into games.

The last Boston starter -- aside from Wakefield -- to go as deep as seven innings? Jon Lester, on April 19.

Now that Justin Masterson is making his third start after moving from the bullpen to replace the fatigued Daisuke Matsuzaka, perhaps the talented righty will be able to provide some innings.

"Hopefully, that will change," said catcher Jason Varitek. "The good thing is, we have had the luxury of having the extra arms to go to. With the starting pitching, we just need to find a way to get some more length. I think those things will change through time."

The big picture has the Red Sox on a pretty good run, with 12 wins in their last 14 games.

"It's just one game, and we'll move on and get after it," Dustin Pedroia said of Thursday's blowout loss. "We have to turn the page on it and get ready for [Friday]. Games like this happen."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Justin Masterson (2-0, 2.70 ERA)
Masterson continues to get the job done in whatever role the Red Sox need him to fill. This will be his third start since Matsuzaka went on the disabled list. Masterson won both of his first two turns, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing one earned run each time. He has pitched six times against the Rays in his career, including one start, going 1-2 with a 5.28 ERA. At Tropicana Field, he is 0-2 with a 7.11 ERA.

TB: RHP Andy Sonnanstine (0-3, 7.78 ERA)
Sonnanstine allowed seven runs on 10 hits to the A's on Sunday afternoon to take his third loss. When he's going well, he is a master of deception, employing an array of pitches that he can throw from all different angles. But he has struggled to find his stride thus far in 2009. He is 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA in six career starts against the Red Sox, and he's 8-9 with a 5.13 ERA in 26 career starts at Tropicana Field.

Tidbits
The Red Sox are 1-3 against the Rays this season, and 12-17 since the beginning of 2008 (including the postseason). ... Mike Lowell's 13-game hitting streak ended on Thursday. He led the Red Sox in RBIs in April, with 23. ... Jason Bay's five homers led the club in that category. ... The Red Sox are 4-6 on the road.

Tickets
 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• NESN+

On radio
• WRKO 680, SBN 1150 (Español)

Up next
• Saturday: Red Sox (Tim Wakefield, 2-1, 1.86) at Rays (Jeff Niemann, 2-2, 4.43), 7:08 p.m. ET
• Sunday: Red Sox (Brad Penny, 2-0, 8.66) at Rays (James Shields, 2-2, 3.74), 1:38 p.m. ET
• Monday: Red Sox (Jon Lester, 1-2, 5.40) at Yankees (Joba Chamberlain, 1-0, 3.13), 7:05 p.m. ET

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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