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It was a tale of two halves. The Sox dominated then blew a nine-run lead en route to a 11-10 loss to the Orioles, in the largest comeback in Orioles history and the second largest blown save in Red Sox history.
Baltimore scored five runs in both the seventh and eighth inning as the Orioles won their first game against the Red Sox this year. The Sox bullpen gave up ten runs, and one day after tying the all-time saves team record, Jonathan Papelbon was put in a tough spot and blew the game.
For the first four and a half innings, the Red Sox were in complete control. Kevin Youkilis gave the Sox the early lead with a two-run homer that saw Oriole’s CF Adam Jones run hard into the outfield wall. Jones, who robbed Youk of a dinger in the night before, was unable to get this one and lost his glove over the wall in the process.
Boston entered the fourth with a 4-1 lead and started with a Jacoby Ellsbury solo shot. Boston continued its rampage through the inning adding four more and batting around the order. Two RBI’s by David Ortiz as well as one by Jason Varitek and another added by Ellsbury gave Boston the 9-1 lead.
Starting Pitcher John Smoltz put in a strong effort giving up three hits in a run through four innings. However, three out away from having an official win, the rain began to come down hard and so began a one-hour, 11-minute rain delay.
Returning from the delay, the Sox seemed to lose focus and trouble began brewing. Justin Masterson had two strong 1-2-3 innings including four strikeouts. Pedroia singled in Jeff Bailey, giving Pedroia his third RBI of the game.
However, a Luke Scott double scored two in the seventh and a pinch hit three-run homerun form Oscar Salazar made it a 10-6 game. With runners on the corner’s, Pedroia robbed Aubrey Huff of a hit and ended the five-run inning for Baltimore.
The Sox could do nothing all in the top half of the eight and soon a rejuvenated Baltimore squad was coming up to bat with confidence. Four straight hits for the O’s put one run on the board and loaded the bases. Takashi Soto came in for Boston in a rough situation and got pinch hitter Ty Wiggington to fly out to Rocco Baldelli, but Luke Scott was able to tag up. The Orioles were now able to inch closer with the Sox holding a 10-8 lead.
A Brian Roberts single brought the game to within one when Terry Francona went to his closer, Papelbon. With two on and one out, Papelbon was able to strike out Felix Perez. A Nick Markakis double then scored two and put the O’s up 11-10.
A Jeff Bailey single went nowhere after Julio Lugo was caught looking at a strikeout and Pedroia popped out to leave a runner on base. Youkilis, a triple away from the cycle, was hit by a pitch, putting the tying run, pinch-runner Nick Green, in scoring position. Jason Bay stuck out swinging to end the game, going without a hit for the second straight night.
The Red Sox will try to forget this one as they get ready to close out the series tomorrow.
John Smoltz, SP: He pitched four strong inning, striking out three and only giving up one run, but was not put back onto the mound after the hour and eleven minute rain delay.
The bullpen: With a 10-1 lead, the combination of Justin Masterson (5 runs allowed), Hideki Okajima (4), and Takashi Saito (1), including a blown save for Jonathan Papelbon, gave Baltimore the victory.
With the bases loaded in the fourth, Jason Varitek gets hit by a pitch, scoring Youkilis. Varitek gets the RBI even though replay shows he wasn’t really hit.
“He is lucky he didn’t destroy himself,” said Dennis Eckersley after Baltimore’s Adam Jones crashed into the center field wall. “I‘m surprised he‘s still in this game. He just smoked himself.”
W: Hendrickson (3-4)
L: Saito (2-1)
S: Sherrill (17)