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On a night when new Ranger Cliff Lee looked poised to post his second complete game in as many outings, Kevin Youkilis stole the show. Youkilis doubled in the tying run in the ninth inning then looped a game-winning bases loaded sacrifice fly to come from behind and win the game 3-2.
Boston’s ninth-inning rally prevented Lee from tossing his second straight gem, a swift turnaround from his 6-1 drubbing at the hands of the Orioles in his first start since being traded from Seattle. The Rangers have now dropped 9 of their last 14 games, despite taking the first two games in the four-game Boston series.
From the second inning on, it became clear that Lee was dealing. He retired 22 of 23 batters by the eighth inning until Marco Scutaro spoiled things with a base hit to lead off the ninth. Darnell McDonald sacrificed Scutaro to second and an Ortiz groundout advanced the runner to third. Youkilis came up with two outs and ripped a double down the left field line to tie the game.
“I was going right at him,” Lee said. “It worked for me all night. No reason for me to change my approach there. Obviously, I wish I could have that pitch back.”
It would be Scutaro who got things started again in extra frames, leading off the 11th with a walk. Mimicking the ninth, McDonald again sacrificed Scutaro to second, but not before pitcher Alexi Ogando made an errant throw where it hit Scutaro and caromed into short left field. As Scutaro scurried to third, McDonald followed suit taking second. David Ortiz was then intentionally walked (Lee’s 7th walk all year) to load the bases.
Again came Youkilis, and he lifted a fly ball deep enough to center field of pitcher Darren O’Day. Scutaro was safe by a mile, beating Josh Hamilton’s throw with no slide needed.
Manny Delcarmen picked up the win (3-2) for the Sox with a perfect 11th after being activated from the disabled list earlier Saturday.
John Lackey got the start for the Sox and allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings in his duel with Lee. Lackey admitted that he was well aware of the abilities of his Texas counterpart in Lee. “You’re definitely aware of the other guy on the other team,” Lackey said. “Obviously, Lee being a great pitcher, you know you better not give up too many runs.” Lackey pitched well enough to keep it close and gave the Sox a chance to win in the end. Jonathan Papelbon pitched a perfect ninth and tenth innings for Boston.
Kevin Youkilis, without question. He had a game-tying double in the ninth and game-winning sacrifice fly in the 11th. He’s carrying the load, and pray he doesn’t get hurt.
J.D. Drew went 0-4 including 0-1 with runners in scoring position. Big money guys like him need to hit in big spots, particularly in a pitcher’s duel.