BOSTON, MA - JULY 06: Nick Punto #5 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after striking out against the New York Yankees on July 6, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Their backs against the wall, the Red Sox finally seemed ready to fight back.
With Josh Beckett coming out completely helpless and surrendering five runs in the first, it would have been so easy to simply curl up and die. To quietly accept their loss, even knowing that each game is crucial, and move on to tomorrow with vague hopes of taking the last three, or even with some form of resignation.
Because, after all, it hasn't been their year. At least not as a whole. Injuries everywhere, stars underperforming and thus wasting the great performances of backups; on the whole, the Red Sox were a team not entirely well-prepared for the season and in many ways doing better than they have any right to giving the circumstances surrounding them.
Despite all that, though, the Sox fought back. They scored five times in the bottom of the first off the stingy Hiroki Kuroda to match the Yankees' first-inning production, and added a run in the second after the Yankees retook the lead at 6-5 in the top of the inning.
And that's what made this game so painful. They fought back, almost to a man they did their all. Josh Beckett recovered to give them some much-needed innings, the man who carries the loss should have had two outs surrounding a walk instead of two baserunners surrounding an out, and even Vicente Padilla's fateful pitch to Mark Teixeira was pretty good. The two men who failed them offensively in the seventh and eighth--Gonzalez and Punto--had provided some of the bigger plays in the game to that point.
Today the Red Sox gave it their all, trying to turn a terrible start into a miracle win. And, in the end, as they have done in so many other games, they failed. It's disheartening and depressing and perhaps the beginning of the end. It could also be just one game. They play two tomorrow, after all. But they'll have to do so knowing that the Yankees took everything they had to give and threw even more back at them.
Today the Red Sox were beaten. We can only hope they are not now defeated as well.