The Red Sox had Edward Mujica warming up to pitch the ninth inning. But he was shut down after feeling what he described as “a pinch” on his right side.
Manager John Farrell said the rib-cage strain would be evaluated on Sunday. But given that Mujica could not take a deep breath without feeling some tightness after the game, a trip to the disabled list seems likely.
“I didn’t feel comfortable. They stopped me right there, Mujica said. “It felt weird. … I’ve never felt that before.”
The injury could actually be a break for Mujica given his uneven performance this season.
Mujica has given up 16 hits over 10 innings, six for extra bases. He also has four walks, one fewer than he had over 64 2/3 innings for the Cardinals last season.
The Sox envisioned Mujica as being a reliable late-inning reliever capable of closing if needed. But he has so far been worthy only of low-leverage situations.
Farrell said that pitching coach Juan Nieves is working on adding some deception to Mujica’s delivery and getting him to pitch more consistently to the corners. A trip to the disabled list and subsequent rehabilitation stint in the minors would allow that work to be done without exposing Mujica to major league hitters.
* John Lackey, who starts the series finale on Sunday, allowed three runs on 13 hits over his last 16 innings, bearing the Yankees and Rays. He struck out 16 and walked one in those two starts.
He’ll be facing one of the most talked-about pitchers in the game in 24-year-old Sonny Gray.
Gray is 4-1 with a 1.76 earned run average in six starts and is coming off a three-hit, 108-pitch shutout of Texas on Monday. Gray is facing the Red Sox for the first time in his career and none of their hitters have seen him.
Lackey is 19-6 with a 2.90 ERA in 34 starts against Oakland.
* On a day when Lester was superb and David Ortiz hit a long home run, Nate Moulter was one of the most popular people at Fenway Park. Who is that? He was the Green Monster scoreboard operator charged with posting the score of the Bruins playoff game across town.
As the Bruins rallied to beat the Montreal Canadiens, 5-3, in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, Moulter popped out of the scoreboard between innings to update the score. That he was wearing a Bruins jersey only made the crowd cheer more.
When the Bruins took the lead in the third period, Moulter slipped the metal panel in place and slapped it twice. The crowd stood and celebrated.
* After playing three games over two days, right fielder Shane Victorino was given the day off. Farrell got creative with the lineup as a result and started Jackie Bradley Jr. in right field for the first time since April 8 and Grady Sizemore in center field.
“The arm strength of Jackie in right field is a factor in that. Still feel like right field might be the most important position in this ballpark,” Farrell said.
Sizemore made a diving catch in the seventh inning to take a hit away from Lowrie.
* There was a moment of silence before the game for longtime amateur scout and Red Sox Hall of Famer George Digby, who passed away on Friday in Tennessee at the age of 96.
Digby is survived by his wife of 60 years, Helen, one son, and three daughters.
Digby was with the team from 1944-2004. The New Orleans native signed numerous major leaguers including Hall of Famer Wade Boggs, Mike Greenwell, Dalton Jones, Reid Nichols, and Jody Reed.
Digby recommended the Red Sox sign Willie Mays in 1949 after seeing him play in Birmingham, Ala. But for reasons mostly related to racism, team executives refused.
* Mike Napoli drew a walk in the fifth inning to extend his streak of reaching base to 26 straight games, a career best. He has reached base safely in 28 of the 29 games he has played and has an on-base percentage of .411.
* The Red Sox are 6-5 games started by David Ross. … The series win was only the second in six attempts at home for the Red Sox.
* Lester has struck out 10 or more batters 18 times, matching Smoky Joe Wood for third place in team history. Pedro Martinez did that 72 times and Roger Clemens 68 times.
* The Sox have won 21 of their last 29 games at Fenway against the Athletics.