July 3, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics center fielder Coco Crisp (4) is congratulated for hitting a sacrifice fly for the game-winning run during the ninth inning against the Boston Red Sox at O.co Coliseum. The Athletics defeated the Red Sox 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox lost tonight in a way that is becoming all-too-familiar: the walk-off.
Already the victims of two walkoffs during the West Coast trip, the Sox were treated to a third tonight.
As before, the problem for Boston lay in wasted opportunities. The two runs had scored thanks to a Jarrod Saltallamacchia solo shot and hard-hit ground ball that caused an error. That accounts for one hitless at-bat with runners in scoring position. One of eight.
The lion's share of them came in the last two innings, when the Sox started hot and finished ice cold. With the first two batters reaching in the eighth, the Sox had Cody Ross strike out, Adrian Gonzalez fly out, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia K as well, leaving the Sox stuck with their two.
Again in the ninth the Sox put two men on, but this time they didn't even have the dignity to be beat by good pitching. Instead, Nick Punto immediately bunted in the air, right into a double play, and Ryan Kalish got caught stealing behind him, making the final out at third. There may not have been a worse inning from the Red Sox offense this season than that.
The major difference between this walkoff win and the others, however, was that the Sox entered the ninth with a lead. Going for his 20th save, however, Alfredo Aceves instead picked up his fourth blown save. After two of the first three batters reached base, Aceves had Brandon Moss knock the ball right back up the middle at him, tying the run and sending Cliff Pennington to third, officially on a fielding error by Ryan Kalish, who overran the ball in center. Aceves would get ahead of Coco Crisp 0-2, but on the fourth pitch of the at bat he let Crisp put the ball in the air deep enough for the game-winning sacrifice fly.
The only positive after another dismal offensive outing for the Sox comes from Jon Lester. After almost falling apart completely in the first, giving up a leadoff shot to Crisp and letting two more batters reach in a lengthy frame of work, Lester settled down wonderfully. Throwing 5.2 more innings, Lester allowed just two more hits on the night, picking up nine strikeouts along the way.