They went back-to-back-to-back. They scored seven runs in the third inning, and nine overall. They spotted Josh Beckett a six run lead to work with. And the Red Sox blew it in 11.
Who's at fault? There are plenty of candidates to blame.
Beckett was awful, awful, awful, giving up six earned on ten hits and three homers in five innings.
Francona let him stay out there that long.
There's J.D. Drew who hit two homers, but also blew a pair of plays in the outfield, letting runs score.
There's Victor Martinez (or Ryan Kalish, depending on your view of the play), who let a ball get away at home and a run score.
There's Felix Doubront, who allowed a pair of hits and runs without closing an inning (though both of those were arguably the result of Drew's bad play).
There's Daniel Bard who allowed the game-tying run in the eighth (though, again, the defense...)
Maybe you shrug, and acknowledge some of the insane defensive plays the Rangers made, robbing the Red Sox of what could have been game winning runs.
By the time you get to Tim Wakefield, giving up the walk off on his first and only pitch of the game, it's hard to really even think anymore.
But that's only a loss. There's also the fact that Jacoby Ellsbury left the game in the fourth inning after a collision at first with pitcher Tommy Hunter during the first at bat of the game. And that Jed Lowrie was mysteriously pulled for Bill Hall (injured or tired? Who knows?) in the late innings. Or that Victor Martinez, in the final inning of the game, fouled a ball off his foot and was noticeably limping afterwards.
Amazingly, one of the only players free of controversy or concern tonight is the man who allowed Thursday's travesty: Jonathan Papelbon.
In a season of dramatic disappointments, this is perhaps the worst. Leaving the bases loaded with zero outs against the Rays in extras is one thing. But with the playoff race staring the Red Sox in the face, with the Rays having already lost and the Yankees down in Kansas City, and asking the team to just grab ahold, they turned their backs. This is a collapse of monumental proportions and, depending on who comes away injured, importance.
This is the one you want to forget, but can't.