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Over the course of a 162-game season, there’s a game or two in the mix where it feels like no matter what the Red Sox do, they simply come up short. Last night against the Royals fell right into that category, as the Red Sox stranded the winning run in scoring position in four of the last six innings and finally lost 3-1.
The game started over two hours late after a marathon rain delay, and didn’t end until just after 2 a.m. Marco Scutaro found himself staring at a Joakim Soria pitch right down the middle in the 14th inning: the end to a soggy, miserable night for Boston.
The story to begin the lengthy Monday contest was the return of Jon Lester. The 2010 ace of the rotation returned after a 3-week stint on the DL, and it was a promising sight for the Fenway faithful. Terry Francona stuck to his pre-game pitch count for Lester of 85 pitches, yanking him after a decent 5.1 innings in the middle of a 1-1 game.
From there it was very little Kansas City offense and a handful of gleaming chances for Boston. Note the Carl Crawford theme in every Red Sox scoring chance.
A David Ortiz single in the bottom of the ninth put runners at the corners with one out for Crawford, who struck out after a close check swing call. A Josh Reddick bid for a walk off homer fell just short on the right field warning track. Inning over.
Crawford found himself up again with runners on first and second in the 11th, but a lengthy at-bat led to another swinging strike out. Rally over.
Scutaro became the scapegoat in a wild 12th frame. Reddick moved to third on a very wild pickoff throw by Royals reliever Louis Coleman. With one out, Scutaro missed the suicide squeeze sign, hanging Reddick out to dry as he got picked off of third. The ensuing hit from Scutaro saw him getting hosed at second to end the frame.
Just for good measure, Boston put runners at the corners with one out one last time in the 13th, only for that rally to immediately fizzle.
In the top of the 14th, the Royals tried their own suicide squeeze. With runners at the corners and nobody out, a bunt from Mike Aviles somehow found it’s way over the heads of Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez, sending in the go-ahead run and eventually winning the game for the Royals. Alcides Escobar tacked on a sacrifice fly for good measure.
Crawford finished off his tough night by leading off the bottom of the 14th with yet another strikeout.
Reddick provided the pulse for the Red Sox offense on Monday night. He should have scored the winning run if not for Scutaro’s blunder, and just nearly missed a walk off blast. Reddick kept the team alive with his double off of Soria in the 14th, and also made a scintillating catch in right field. He also drove in the only run of the game for Boston in the second.
Crawford did score the only run on Reddick’s single, but his four strikeouts took Boston out of rallies on several occasions. Honorable mention to Scutaro for his miserable 12th inning.
“We just kind of let them off the hook. That will be a tough one – we won’t get much sleep tonight.” -Terry Francona on Boston’s blown opportunities in the late innings
W: Louis Coleman (1-2)
L: Randy Williams (0-1)
Tags: 000 fine, Adrian Gonzalez, alcides, Alcides Escobar, Carl Crawford, Daniel Bard, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Fenway Park, Joakim Soria, Josh Reddick, louis coleman, Marco Scutaro, Red Sox, royals, Terry Francona, Yankees