With two outs in the ninth inning Friday, Boston reliever Franklin Morales drilled Luke Scott on the right leg. Scott jawed at Morales and started to walk toward the southpaw. He was intercepted by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, and both benches and bullpens emptied onto the field. Although no punches were thrown, there were some heated comments and pushing and shoving.
"I didn't understand the situation whatsoever. It was not called for at all," Rays manager Joe Maddon said. "I'm kind of curious regarding who put out the hit, because I know it wasn't one of their players. By the way their players reacted to the entire situation, I knew it did not come from them. It's kind of incompetent behavior. It's the kind of behavior that gets people hurt and gets [players] hurt on your own side by choosing to do something so ridiculous."
Scott is no fan of Red Sox Nation. Last year as a member of the Orioles, his club eliminated the Sox from postseason contention as Baltimore recorded a walk-off victory and Tampa Bay also walked off vs. the Yankees to clinch the American League Wild Card. During Spring Training, Scott called Red Sox fans arrogant and vulgar.
"As a baseball player, going there to work, it's a dump," Scott said earlier this season.
Making quite a turnaround since his forgettable performance May 10 against the Indians, Red Sox right-hander Josh Beckett will go for his third straight win on Saturday against the Rays at Fenway Park.
Lasting just 2 1/3 innings against the Indians, which marked his shortest outing since August 2008, Beckett has dominated in his two starts since. He's combined to toss 14 2/3 innings and surrendered just one run.
On Sunday against the Phillies, the righty extended his scoreless innings streak to 14 before finally allowing a run in the eighth inning. In all, he tossed 7 2/3 innings and struck out five for his fourth win of the season.
Mixing in all of his pitches during the start, Beckett efficiently used his changeup and curveball and got his fastball up to 93 mph.
"The guy who every day is coming in here seems like he's excited about being here, he's kibitzing with the guys in between starts, he's working hard on his bullpen and his training room," Valentine said of Beckett. "So -- what's there not to like?"
While he's had recent success, Beckett will have some stiff competition with hurler David Price taking the hill for Tampa Bay.
The left-hander took a tough-luck loss in his last start against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson. Price surrendered just two runs (one earned) in seven innings, but he was out-dueled by Hudson, who tossed 7 2/3 scoreless frames.
Even with the loss, Price has started off the season strong, going 6-3 with a 2.88 ERA. He attributes such success to doing a better job of mixing his pitches.
"It helps people get off my fastball and that's my biggest pitch and the one I'm going to rely on the most every five days," Price said. "If I can make that pitch a little bit better by putting my other pitches in the back of the hitters' minds, it helps me out.
"This is kind of something that's evolved this year, really being able to trust my offspeed stuff and I'm throwing well."
Rays: Guyer to have season-ending surgery
Already having a team-high 10 players on the disabled list, the Rays received more bad news on Friday with Brandon Guyer needing season-ending shoulder surgery.
"Guyer is going to end up needing surgery," manager Joe Maddon said. "It's his shoulder. I'm not exactly sure what's going on with that."
The outfielder will have surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder (non-throwing) on Thursday.
Guyer played in just three games this year. He homered in his last game, a solo shot in a 5-3 loss to Baltimore on May 12. Guyer played in 15 games for the Rays in 2011, his first season in the Majors.
Red Sox: Middlebrooks gets rest; Gonzalez at first
Boston opened up their homestead against the Rays on Friday night with a slew of lineup changes.
Third baseman Will Middlebrooks got the night off, while Adrian Gonzalez moved back to first base after spending the past two games in right field. Kevin Youkilis also played third for the first time since coming off the disabled list.
Middlebrooks will start on Saturday, which means Gonzalez could play right field at Fenway Park for the first time in his career.
"I think it's a nice time to do it," manager Bobby Valentine said of Middlebrooks. "Get two in a row [including Thursday's off-day] and come back fresh. He'll be in there tomorrow, playing tomorrow."
Middlebrooks along with players like Daniel Nava, Scott Podsednik and Marlon Byrd have also been key contributors to a Red Sox team that has so many key players on the disabled list.
"I don't know who would be playing in there instead, but what everyone has done has made the difference in us looking like a team and playing like a competitive Major League team out there and making big defensive plays, big hits, running the bases well, and have brought a nice energy to our dugout," Valentine said. "And I haven't mentioned all the guys by name, but you know who they are."
Red Sox right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka will start his second Minor League rehab assignment on Saturday, when he pitches for Triple-A Pawtucket. Matsuzaka's first assignment was cut short last week when he had to get a shot in his right trapezius muscle.
The Rays have 19 errors over their last 13 games and are on pace for a club-record 148 errors this season.