|Patriots’ Defense to Face one of Season’s Toughest Tests in Bears||And Then There Were 16: Celtics to Waive Four Players, Bynum Next?||Chandler Jones Out 1 Month With Hip Injury; Patriots Sign Alan Branch||2014 MLB Playoffs Expert Picks: World Series|
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.
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.
Reddick’s and Scutaro’s errors gave Pittsburgh a chance to net the win, though fortunately not enough of one.
“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.
W: Andrew Miller (1-0)
L: Tim Wood (0-2)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (14)
Tags: Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Miller, Darnell McDonald, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Reddick, Kevin Youkilis, Marco Scutaro, Pittsburgh Pirates, Red Sox, Terry Francona