Matt Albers Watches The Late Red Sox Lead Go Into The Toilet (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Yesterday was a very disappointing day in the eyes of many Boston sports fans.
The Boston Bruins led the Tampa Bay Lightning after the first intermission 3-0, in a game where they could have token a commanding 3-1 series lead. Instead, the Bruins let the lead slip--allowed five straight goals and the series is instead all even a 2-2. Like the Bruins, the Red Sox suffered the same kind of fate.
The game started out great for Boston as Alfredo Aceves pitched very well in his debut as a Red Sox starting pitcher. He went five innings, giving up one earned run on three hits, two walks, and a pair strikeouts. The lone run came off an RBI double by Aramis Ramirez in the third. Other than that, a strong effort from Alfredo Aceves.
The Sox couldn't figure out Carlos Zambrano for about the first three innings, until they got to the fourth. With Kevin Youkilis already on first via a leadoff single, David Ortiz homered off Big-Z into the monster seats to put the Red Sox up 2-1 in the fourth. Later in the game, Jacoby Ellsbury singled home Carl Crawford from second base to put the Red Sox up 3-1 over the Cubs. This appeared to be all the Red Sox needed in the end.
Boston came into the eighth inning with a fairly comfortable 3-1 lead, a game that was seemingly in their grasp and was theirs to take. Because of an earlier Rays loss, all the Red Sox had to do was to hold the lead and they would be sitting a top the A.L. East Standings, and would be riding even higher on an eight-game win streak. However, in the blink of an eye, the unthinkable happened:
With a two-run lead in hand, manager Terry Francona decided to pull lefty Rich Hill from the game after a scoreless seventh inning. In his place, Tito summoned Matt Albers to pitch the eighth inning because Daniel Bard was unavailable for the game. To begin the eighth, Albers allowed two straight singles and a walk to load up the bases with nobody out. The nightmare inning had commenced.
With the bases loaded, Albers got behind in the count against Carlos Pena and eventually walked in a run. The lead was trimmed to 3-2. With still no one out, Albers then gave up a two-RBI double to Reed Johnson; giving the Cubs a 4-3 lead. When nothing else could have gone wrong for the Sox, this happened:
With still no one out, Albers induced a pop-up to shortstop Jed Lowrie. Lowrie got under it, was in good position but dropped the ball. Instead of the first out of the inning, the Cubs extended their lead to 5-3. We knew Jed Lowrie was no Jose Iglesias, but still...
On came Franklin Morales, freshly acquired from the Colorado Rockies on Friday. On his first pitch as a member of the Red Sox, Morales gave up an RBI double to Jeff Baker that scored Alfonso Soriano. Morales then bounced back by striking out Koyie Hill, we finally have an out.
Morales immediately walked Kosuke Fukudome to re-load the bases. Darwin Barney, who began the inning as the leadoff hitter hit a pop-up to J.D. Drew in right, scoring Soriano from third. Drew initially fired home to Jason Varitek who had Baker trapped in between home and third. Varitek's throw to third hit off Kevin Youkilis' glove, scoring the fortunate Baker from third and moved Fukudome to third. The inning is still not over. Starlin Castro then doubled home Fukudome, the score was now 9-3 Chicago.
The nightmare inning finally came to an end when Aramis Ramirez popped out to Adrian Gonzalez. Thanks to Matt Albers, the Red Sox lost a game they should have one. The combination of Albers, Franklin Morales, and some atrocious defense, the Cubs came all the way back to take game two, 9-3.
This one's gonna sting for a while...