What was a 6-1 lead rapidly fell apart once the sixth inning hit, and despite yet another good night from David Ortiz, Boston was unable to hang on for the victory. Detroit rallied off of starter Jon Lester, then capped the comeback by abusing the Boston pen for the 7-6 win in 12 innings. And walks were the story of the night.
Big Papiwas 3 for 6 withanother pair of RBI as his hot month continued. He singled home Dustin Pedroia after he and Kevin Youkilis walked in the third. J.D. Drew followed with a 2-run ground rule double that plated Youk and Ortiz to put the Sox up 3-0.
In the fourth, Ortiz again singled with men on, this time driving home a 2-out RBI in the form of Marco Scutaro. Pedroia tried to score behind the shortstop, but was cut down at the plate.
Bill Hall smacked a 2-run homer off of reliever Eddie Bonine in the fifth to account for the remainder of Boston’s scoring. Bonine had relieved Detroit starter Dontrelle Willis, who managed only 3.1 innings. He allowed 4 runs on 4 hits and 7 walks. He struck out 5.
As he’s been all season, D-Train was plagued by free passes on Saturday, putting himself in jam after jam during the early innings. In fact, Boston drew a total of 12 walks over the course of the game, including 5 by Youkilis alone.
Walks also hurt the Boston pitchers; Jon Lester had 4 through 7 innings in what was a mediocre start. Though he had held the Tigers to a single run through the first 5 innings, Detroit struck for 3 more in the sixth. A pair of singles by Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera preceded a bases-clearing triple by Brennan Boesch. Boesch scored on a Brandon Inge sac fly to make the game 6-4 Boston.
Lester came back out for a scoreless seventh, closing his line at 7 IP, 4 runs on 4 hits and 4 walks, and 10 strikeouts. The K total was impressive, and Lester had most of his pitches working well on the night. If not for the bad frame, Detroit’s comeback might have been foiled.
As it was, Hideki Okajima allowed the first 4 Tigers he faced to reach base, blowing the lead and allowing Detroit to tie the game at 6-6. Ordonez hit a solo homer and Brandon Inge doubled home Cabrera and Boesch, who were on via a walk and single.
Jonathan Papelbon got the Soxto extra innings by hurling 2.1 scoreless innings, but in the twelfth, a trio of relievers combined to give up the winning run. Manny Delcarmen allowed an Ordonez single and got Cabrera to pop out before being pulled for Scott Schoeneweis. Schoeneweis allowed a single to Boesch– the only batter he faced. Ramon Ramirez took over, but allowed walks to Inge and pinch-hitter Ramon Santiago. The pair of free passes pushed across the winning run.
The loss continued Boston’s up and down season; the ability to win consistently has proven elusive and the bullpen’s ineffectiveness was once again the primary culprit.
Sunday’s rubber match will pit John Lackey against Armando Galarraga.