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Red Sox Salvage Last Game of Pittsburgh Series

Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammates in the dugout after scoring on a throwing error by Andrew McCutchen #22 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game on June 26, 2011 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jared Wickerham / Getty Images)

It wasn’t always easy, but Boston finally got one over on Pittsburgh 4-2 in Andrew Miller’s second start with the Red Sox. In a game filled with bumps and bruises, errors and a finally iffy Pittsburgh ‘pen, Boston finally knocked off a team not used to being good at all. Maybe that’s why Boston was finally able to come through.

Boston had plenty of chances to break the game open, including Adrian Gonzalez singling to second in the 1st when the fielder was in shallow right, but with runners at the corners and one out, Boston wasted the chance. In the bottom of the frame, Jose Tabata made it onto the base path on a bunt single, but pulled his groin after passing the bag, and needed to be carted off the field; Kevin Youkilis collided with Andrew Miller after making an off-balance, late throw and was slow to get up, but was fine.

J.D. Drew was also replaced by Darnell McDonald before the bottom of the 2nd with a swollen eye resulting from fouling a ball off himself during batting practice. Josh Reddick even dropped a routine fly ball, but that fortunately led to nothing. It was the 4th inning before the rough day for both sides finally resulted in something; Jarrod Saltalamacchia led off with a double, and scored when tagging on the next play and Andrew McCutchin threw the ball too far, causing it to be bobbled into the stands by the third base line.

But Boston couldn’t hold the lead for long; Marco Scutaro let a soft hopper go right by him and the runner later scored on a sac fly. Andrew Miller finally ran into some trouble in the 5th, loading the bases with no outs (including walking the pitcher and letting a batter beat out a bunt). The following single scored a run, but Garrett Jones was too hasty rounding third, and was tagged out trying to return. No more damage was done in the inning, or in the game by the Pirates.

Thanks to pitcher James McDonald throwing the ball into center field on a force attempt in the 6th, Boston managed to tie the game, but Darnell McDonald was caught stealing to end the inning before the Sox could try to take the lead back.

The bottom of the inning was the cause of the most drama of the day. Miller threw behind Pittsburgh catcher Eric Fryer twice, after Dustin Pedroia was nearly hit in the head by the first pitch of each of his first three at bats. Warnings were given, though nothing came of anything after that.

Boston loaded the bases without any outs in the 7th after Pittsburgh’s carousel of relief pitchers gave up two walks and misplayed a sacrifice bunt. A ground-out and sacrifice fly gave Boston the lead and an insurance run, which was all they needed. Even though they couldn’t take advantage of another error in the 9th, Boston’s relief corps was still able to shut down Pittsburgh and put the cap on the series.

Sox’ Stud of the Game: Andrew Miller

Miller, over six innings, scattered five hits and gave up just one earned run (two overall). With the overall sloppy play and no David Ortiz in the starting lineup, Boston needed a strong pitching performance to have a shot at winning, and they got one.

Sox’ Dud of the Game: The Defense

Reddick’s and Scutaro’s errors gave Pittsburgh a chance to net the win, though fortunately not enough of one.

Terry’s Take:

“I though he showed a lot of poise… he continues to pitch major league games” – Terry Francona on Andrew Miller’s performances with the team so far.

Game Notes:

W: Andrew Miller (1-0)
L: Tim Wood (0-2)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (14)

  • Boston is now 18-7 in day games on the year.
  • Dustin Pedroia now has an 11-game hit streak.
  • 1999 was the last time Pittsburgh was above .500 this late in the season.
  • Fryer became the seventh catcher to start for Pittsburgh on the season.
  • 39,511 was a new attendance record for PNC park, breaking the record set Saturday.
  • The six errors between the teams gave them a combined ten for the series.
  • Jacoby Ellsbury stole his 25th base of the year.
  • Adrian Gonzalez was intentionally walked twice.
  • Boston was just 1/10 with runners in scoring position, bring their series total to 1/26. That one hit was even due to poor defensive positioning on Gonzalez’s infield single.
  • Darnell McDonald had the chance to face off against Pittsburgh starter and his first cousin James McDonald. Darnell struck out and reached on a throwing error on a force attempt.

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