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Just when it looked like Boston was going to pull off the win, and just when they were doing so well in multiple extra frames, Alfredo Aceves threw away another game to the opposition, allowing Baltimore to win 9-6. Nate McLouth started the game off with a walk, followed by a steal and some good base running on a pair of groundouts to score first for Baltimore. A pair of hits, including a ground-rule double, allowed Boston to quickly respond in their half of the 1st inning and tie the game at 1-1.
However, Baltimore took the lead right back 2-1 in the 2nd. A pair of singles, helped by an Aaron Cook error on a pickoff attempt in between, allowed Baltimore to drive in their second run. They added another run to their lead in the 4th on a leadoff home run for Mark Reynolds, but Boston tied the game in their half of the inning on a two-run shot for Danny Valencia. Boston threatened to take the lead, but Baltimore finagled a double play to avoid further damage.
Cook ran into more trouble in the 6th, allowing two runners into scoring position while getting one out before being replaced with Rich Hill. Hill immediately allowed the inherited runners to score on a triple, but prevented any more runs to score. Baltimore added another run in the 7th after another leadoff homer to go up 6-3, but Boston scored two more in the bottom of the 7th to pull closer.
After a leadoff double and walk, Dustin Pedroia softly grounded to short on what should have been an easy double play ball, but before J.J. Hardy could make the play, second baseman Ryan Flaherty, who had also gone for the ball, got in Hardy’s way before Hardy could step on the bag or tag Pedro Ciriaco out, and everyone reached. Two ground balls scored the two runs, which wouldn’t have scored and allowed the Red Sox to get back into the game if it weren’t for that play. To make matters worse for Baltimore, Boston even tied the game at 6-6 in the 8th on two straight doubles and send the game into extra innings.
A chess match proceeded until the 12th inning, when Alfredo Aceves was sent in to pitch. Two doubles and a single scored two runs before Aceves was relieved (after recording two outs in five at-bats), while the inherited runner also scored on another single. Boston just couldn’t come back at all against the major league save leader Jim Johnson and took the 9-6 loss.
Excluding Aceves, the rest of the bullpen threw 6.0 innings, allowing just one run. That’s promising to see for next year.
I think we all hope the Sox’ roster overhaul isn’t even close to being finished after ridding themselves of some of their poisons in the Beckett-Crawford-Gonzalez deal.
W: Tommy Hunter (6-8)
L: Alfredo Aceves (2-10)
S: Jim Johnson (47)