After dropping the first two games to start the second half, the Red Sox really needed to win this one. Up against Cliff Lee, it took every last at bat to get it done.
Lee, making his second start as a Texas Ranger, looked ever bit like the Cy Young winner he is. After giving up a run in the first on a David Ortiz single, scoring Darnell McDonald from second. After giving up a single to Kevin Youkilis, though, Lee retired the next eleven Red Sox batters he faced, and held the Sox scoreless for the next seven innings.
John Lackey, to his credit, did his best to match Lee's zeroes with his own. It wasn't until a two-out rally in the sixth inning that the Rangers managed to put a couple on the board, putting four straight baserunners on. Lackey came back out to pitch a quick and clean seventh, finishing his night with seven hits, two walks, three strikeouts, and two earned runs.
The Sox entered the ninth inning down by one run, but with the top of their lineup ready to go against Lee, who was still well under 100 pitches. Leadoff hitter Marco Scutaro got things started by hitting a sharp ground ball up the middle before being bunted over to second by Darnell McDonald. David Ortiz
struck grounded out, bringing the Sox down to their last batter in Kevin Youkilis. Taking the first two pitches outside for a ball and a strike, Youkilis got his pitch on number three, lacing an inside fastball down the line in left for a double, tying the game.
Jonathan Papelbon and Manny Delcarmen held the tie for two more innings, leading to some Deja Vu in the eleventh. Once again, the top-of-the-order came up. Once again Marco Scutaro povided the Sox with a leadoff baserunner, and once again Darnell McDonald came up to bunt him over. This time, though, Rangers pitcher Alexi Ogando took a risk, trying to catch Scutaro at second. The throw bounced off Marco, careening into left field, leaving the Sox with runners at second and third with nobody out. The Rangers intentionally walked David Ortiz, again giving Kevin Youkilis the chance to be a hero. He delivered, lifting a deep fly ball to center, scoring Marco Scutaro with a walk-off sacrifice fly.
The Red Sox took a must-win game against the opposing ace, now they have to rely on their own to salvage a series split tomorrow as Jon Lester takes the mound.