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After Friday’s rout of the visiting Cubs the Red Sox looked primed to continue their hot streak. Matt Garza had already been scratched for his Sunday start, leaving Boston with Carlos Zambrano as the biggest hurdle to face on the weekend. Filling in for the injured John Lackey, Alfredo Aceves pitched admirably but watched from the dugout as the lead quickly turned into a deficit with just six outs remaining in the game.
As baseball tradition calls for when two teams meet on the field during interleague play after decades apart, the players donned retro uniforms – plain white shirts, hats and pants for the Sox and pinstriped grays for the Cubs. To continue the 1918 atmosphere in the game itself, the third inning featured a classic public address announcer – a man with a megaphone – a lack of music between innings or for at-bats, and old fashioned looking graphics on the large scoreboard.
With one out in the fourth, David Ortiz hit a two-run shot over the Monster. His ninth home run of the year was also the slugger’s 300th with the Red Sox. Not a bad career for a guy originally signed to platoon with Kevin Millar and Jeremy Giambi. Boston scored once more, in the sixth inning, giving the Sox a 3-1 lead.
Through seven innings, Aceves, Dan Wheeler and Rich Hill allowed a combined four hits and three walks while recording five strikeouts. Trusted with a two-run lead, Matt Albers entered the game in the eighth inning and things fells apart. Unable to record an out, Albers gave up six runs (five earned).
Newcomer Franklin Morales was summoned to clean up Albers’ disaster and, over two innings, gave up two runs, though neither were earned. The recent acquisition from Colorado had the misfortune to watch the defense commit two of the three errors during the eighth inning, but looked sharp in the ninth, retiring the Cubs in order.
With John Lackey and Daisuke Matsuzaka on the disabled list and Tim Wakefield starting the next game, the Red Sox needed Aceves to get the game into bullpen territory and he did just that with five solid innings of work.
In one of the worst outings in Red Sox history, Albers failed to record an out while allowing six hitters to reach base, all of whom would come around to score. The early surprise out of the bullpen this year, Albers had nothing against the Cubs Saturday night.
W: Marshall (2-0)
L: Albers (0-2)