With Josh Beckett on the mound facing Luke Hochevar, though, the Sox had to hope this wouldn't be the sort of game that was decided by inches. But sure enough, as they had done against Kyle Davies just three days before, the Red Sox came up against a pitcher who seems perfectly designed to get knocked brutally around the park by the Sox...and then let him beat them.
They did pull a couple of runs off of Hochevar in the fifth when Jason Varitek and Yamaico Navarro reached base before being knocked in by Jacoby Ellsbury's line drive to right. But the middle-of-the-order in Youkilis, Ortiz, and Reddick laid an egg, going 0-for-12--a lack of contribution the Sox could not afford.
Beckett only had the one troublesome inning, and really could have escaped the game with a no-decision had Drew Sutton not misplayed a fly ball later in the frame, but Alex Gordon and Mitch Maier's leadoff walks in the fourth proved costly when Billy Butler launched what seemed like his eighth homer of the series to dead-center.
Dustin Pedroia did bring the Sox within one and extended his hitting streak by going over the Monster for a solo shot, but it was in the ninth that the Sox came up just short. With Drew Sutton reaching on an infield single, Carl Crawford came in to pinch hit for Jason Varitek. He took a big swing on a 1-2 slider, and everyone in the park knew the ball was gone.
Except that it wasn't.
The walkoff that would-have-been was knocked down by the wind, dropping a few feet short of the stands in deep right field--a balst that, according to ESPN, would have been gone in any other Major League park. In Fenway, however, it was just a long fly out, and an end to the Red Sox' chances.