Another late night, another game of bad defense. Early miscues for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (and Additional Assorted Assonances) gave the Sox an early lead—but the Sox's own late defensive miscues proved fatal tonight, as the Sox lost in extra innings, 9-7.
At first it looked like it should be another relatively straightforward evening for the Sox. Jacoby Ellsbury caused problems for Chris Iannetta all game long. In the first inning, after reaching on a single and advancing to second on a David Ortiz single, managed to score after stealing his 35th bag of the year when Iannetta's throw sailed wide. (Iannetta would also be charged with catcher interference in the top of the seventh during an Ellsbury at-bat.)
Unlike the opening game in the series, in which the Sox homered their way to victory, tonight's game was about the small ball. After the run in the first, the Sox would score another run courtesy of a Daniel Nava single, a Jarrod Saltalamacchia and a Brock Holt sacrifice fly.
However, the next three runs would belong to the Angels, with two scoring off of Ryan Dempster via a Howie Kendrick homer and an E-1 versus Erick Aybar followed by a Chris Iannetta single. The Angels would strike again in the fourth, notching yet another homer to lead off an inning (their fourth in the series, and four out of their five runs total). After that, fortunately, it was fairly quiet for the Angels' bats until the seventh.
The Sox's bats, on the other hand, remained active all night long, but on offense, top honors in the losing effort probably goes to Daniel Nava, who had four hits on the night, including two doubles, and scored twice (he would score again on Salty's second double of the game). he would also drive in recently minted All-Star Dustin Pedroia on a double, with some help from the wayward Josh Hamilton. Pedroia and Jose Iglesias would also drive in runs, as the Sox notched a double-digit hit total for the third straight game. They would also knock out Angels starter Jerome Williams after just three innings of work, forcing Mike Scioscia to use a quintet of relievers to cover the remaining innings before a day game Sunday afternoon.
Unfortunately, besides the Sox's ninth-inning meltdown, the biggest story to come out of the game once again is injuries, and in particular the snakebitten luck of the Boston bullpen. Andrew Miller's appearance in the game didn't go quite as planned, as J. B. Shuck singled before Miller departed the game with what looked to be an injury in his left lower leg. He was helped off the field, which is never a good sign. But this will bear some watching to see what happens. His substitute, Andrew Bailey, had a surprisingly good start, needing just a single pitch to induce Mike Trout into an inning-ending double play that snuffed the threat of a big inning for the Angels. In the process, he gave Dempster his seventh quality start in his last eight tries. Bailey would return out for the eighth, with only an Albert Pujols leadoff single spoiling his record.
Another issue would creep up in the ninth, as Shane Victorino would leave the game with a limp. Not as worrying as the Miller injury, but still, another thing to worry about at the start of what will be a long week out West. Of greater concern, though, was Alex Wilson's wildness in the ninth, with singles to Chris Iannetta and J. B. Shuck, plus a hit-by-pitch to Mike Trout, forced Farrell's hand to bring Koji Uehara into the game to face Albert Pujols. Uehara gave up a single, allowing two runs, and a third when Josh Hamilton singled to right. What should have ended the game turned into a disaster when Brandon Snyder committed a throwing error, letting pinch runner Colin Cowgill score and sending the game into extra frames with the score notched at 7-7.
The top of the tenth inning was not kind to the Sox, as all three batters (David Ortiz, Mike Napoli, and Daniel Nava) went down on strike outs against Ernesto Frieri. Craig Breslow's appearance started off inauspiciously with a single to Erick Aybar, but things improved with a strikeout of Chris Iannetta, followed by picking off Aybar trying to steal his way into scoring position. A deflected Callaspo liner and Shuck fly ball ended things relatively quietly.
Dane De La Rosa was Ueharaesque in the eleventh, retiring the side on just seven pitches. Unfortunately, Breslow was not so lucky, surrendering a single to Brad Hawpe before Josh Hamilton ended the game with a home run.
This is the kind of game that the Sox should have won, but didn't because of a nearly preposterous run of events in the ninth. It's hard not to lay this one at the feet of manager John Farrell (although I was about to type in "Bobby Valentine," so ingrained is that thought in my head), who lifted Brock Holt for Snyder and mismanaged things so badly in that fateful inning.
The series will continue Sunday night at 8:00 pm Eastern, as the Sox look to take the rubber game, with John Lackey on the mound.
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