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Friday night represented Game 1 of Boston’s 9-game road trip in NL parks, which as you know by now, presents manager Terry Francona with a bit of a problem. How is he going to play David Ortiz without the benefit of the designated hitter? There has been talk about moving Adrian Gonzalez to the outfield for at least a couple games, and given the fact that Carl Crawford is out injured, and J.D. Drew, Mike Cameron and Darnell McDonald have ALL struggled this season, it may make some sense.
But, with the lefty Paul Maholm on the hill, Francona sat the lefty Ortiz to start the game. Maholm was strong against a weakened Sox lineup, allowing just one run on six hits and three walks in 5.1 innings to nab his fourth win of the year in a 3-1 Pirates victory.
Ortiz, though, got his chance to be a hero in the eighth inning with two men on, but something strange happened.
A sudden, very brief downpour pelted PNC Park during Ortiz’s at-bat. The slugger grounded out to shortstop and was furious.
“What’s wrong with Mother Nature?” Ortiz said. “I just walk up to the plate and it starts pouring. What’s up with that?”
Ortiz had a point. That was quite strange…but rain or not, the Pirates bullpen stymied the Sox bats. The Pittsburgh pen allowed just three hits and no runs over the final 3.2 innings of the game to preserve the tight win.
The Sox were actually held scoreless for the final eight innings, grabbing their only run in the first on an RBI groundout for Kevin Youkilis.
Jon Lester (6 IP, 3 R, 2 ER, 8 H, 5 K) went 0-2 at the plate. Maholm, meanwhile, went 0-1 with a walk.
I guess? Varitek went 2-3. Gonzalez went 2-4, so he gets runner-up. Youk did drive in the only run, but went 0-2 (2 walks) and committed an error. Overall, it was a pretty underwhelming game for the Red Sox.
Cameron, hitting sixth, went 0-3 with two strikeouts to drop his average to .156. As bad as J.D. Drew has played at times, he’s nowhere near that ineffective (.232 average).
W: Paul Maholm (4-8)
L: Jon Lester (9-4)
SV: Joel Hanrahan (21)