For four innings, things looked pretty good for the Red Sox. Their offense had gotten going in the third inning, with a two run double from Mike Cameron, and stayed strong in the fourth with a Lars Anderson home run. Josh Beckett gave up a run in the second on a long ball to John Bowker, and had actually allowed the pitcher to reach base in the bottom of the third, but otherwise had kept the Pirates quiet.
Then things fell apart.
With Terry Francona having set Beckett a target of 75 pitches on the day, the starter came back out to start the fifth inning, and clearly was just not up to it this early in the year. A leadoff homer to Ronny Cedeno cut the Sox' lead down to one run, and things just got worse from there. Beckett walked Dusty Brown, allowed a double to Andy Marte, and hit Jose Tabata with a pitch to load the bases with zero outs before being yanked for Scott Atchison.
Unfortunately, he fared no better. The next four batters would reach base, scoring five more runs before the Sox could record an out. The Pirates sent twelve batters to the plate, and left with a 7-3 lead.
They weren't quite done, either. After a Darnell McDonald homer brought the Sox within three runs, the Pirates responded with four more hits and two more runs in the bottom of the eighth off of Lenny DiNardo. By the time all was said and done, it was a 9-4 rout in favor of the Pirates.
Lars Anderson: Lars' spring training BABIPs are the stuff of nightmare, but he finally got a ball to land for a hit in the third inning. Adding in his second homer of spring in the fourth inning, and that's three hits for Lars so far in 2011.
Darnell McDonald: Showed some good corner infield defense to go with his home run.
Daniel Bard: A perfect inning with two more strikeouts. His ERA is still sky-high as the result of one bad inning, but we're going to have to start calling this "The Bard."
Josh Beckett: I don't want to criticize Beckett too harshly. He's probably a bit behind in being stretched out due to the hit to the head earlier in the season, and if he'd not come back out for the fifth inning, this would count as a solid, even encouraging day of work.
Scott Atchison/Lenny DiNardo: The only thing that separates their innings is that Atchison had a walk and a strikeout while DiNardo had neither. Otherwise, they're the same: four hits, two runs, and no good.