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Sweep Averted: Red Sox Pull Out Win In Pittsburgh

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The Red Sox left ten men on base, committed two errors, had more sloppy defensive play besides...

...and for all that came away with a 4-2 win to snap their losing streak.

Hey, so we can beat the Pirates. What do you know?

It didn't take long for the bad habits that had plagued the Sox so in their losing streak to rear their ugly heads. Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez both singled in the first, but neither Kevin Youkilis or J.D. Drew were able to bring Pedroia home from third. 

Two men left on through one.

The Sox got a leadoff baserunner in the second as Jarrod Saltalamacchia drew a four-pitch walk, but couldn't even advance the runner to second.

Three left on through two.

Two more singles in the third inning, two more men left on as Darnell McDonald, who once again managed to make his way in the five-spot thanks to a swollen eye forcing J.D. Drew out after the second inning (he had fouled a ball off the area during batting practice), struck out against his cousin James McDonald on the mound.

Five through three. 

The good news was that Andrew Miller was doing a fine job of keeping the tie through the first three innings, allowing only a pair of singles--one a leadoff bunt from Jose Tabata, who was carried off the field after injuring himself legging it out.

Finally, the Sox pushed a run across in the fourth. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled, and Andrew McCutchen made an incredibly wild throw trying to catch Salty at third. The ball bounced off Chase d'Arnaud's glove well in foul ground, and made its way out of play to give Salty the extra base and the Red Sox the lead.

Unfortunately, Andrew Miller was once more all about the tie, hitting Neil Walker in the foot with one of his slurves to lead off the inning. He would have escaped unharmed, though, had Marco Scutaro not played the matador on a high-bouncing ground ball, allowing it to skip past him into the outfield. One sacrifice fly later, and it was 1-1.

It was in the fifth where things nearly got out of hand. After Adrian Gonzalez just barely missed home runs twice--once on a towering shot that just barely edged foul, and again when his fly ball to left was caught by Matt Diaz with his back against the wall. 

With the Sox not having scored, the Pirates took advantage. Miller allowed a walk to leadoff hitter James McDonald--the trend of Sox pitchers walking opposing pitchers continues--and then gave up a ground ball single. Chase d'Arnauld tried to sacrifice himself to move the runners along, but dropped down a perfect bunt that had Youkilis' throw arriving just late, loading the bases with nobody out.

When Andrew McCutchen's ground ball got past Kevin Youkilis (on what could have been called an error), it seemed like the game was about to get away from the Sox. But as the run scored, the Pirates third base coach changed his mind too late, and Youkilis made a lunging tag from his knees to catch Garret Jones rounding the bag. From there, a strikeout and groundout saved the Sox from further trouble.

It was a good thing, too, as it kept the Sox close enough to tie the game when Josh Reddick brought Kevin Youkilis home with another sacrifice fly (helped by an error that let Youkilis reach third and saved an out) and then take the lead in the seventh when two straight leadoff walks and a misplayed sacrifice bunt from Jacoby Ellsbury gave the Sox their own bases loaded, zero outs situation. Dustin Pedroia brought one man in with a groundout, and David Ortiz bowled over catcher Eric Fryer to score the fourth run. Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard, and Jonathan Papelbon provided three shutout innings, and the Sox finally broke out of their slump.