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Red Sox Throw Away Rubber Match But Get It Back

After winning the game, Marco Scutaro is greeted with a "Spiderman" leap from Daisuke Matsuzaka. (AP Photo / Winslow Townson)

The “Seinfeld” spirit is alive and well with Detroit, who handed the Red Sox a 4-3 victory after Boston handed back a 3-0 lead. The biggest enemy of both sides, at least early on, was the Sun, which led to Marco Scutaro singling on a pop-up to short, then stealing 2nd. Even with J.D. Drew walking afterward, the Sox couldn’t do any damage until the next inning, scoring a run on three singles. Two singles, a walk, and a sacrifice fly plated two more in the next frame to give Boston the aforementioned three-run lead.

That was pretty much it until the 9th inning; Justin Verlander really settled down for a total of seven innings of work, and Clay Buchholz was masterful, allowing just three hits and four walks in 8.0+ innings. He threw 109 pitches, 98 in the first eight innings, and his two runs were allowed across the plate by Boston’s prodigal closer, Jonathan Papelbon. With such a good shutout performance going, Buchholz had to go for the complete game, but ran into a bit of trouble with a single and a walk. Papelbon then immediately gave up a 2-RBI double to Miguel Cabrera, who crossed the plate in the form of pinch runner Don Kelly on a Jhonny Peralta single. Moving on from Cleveland has turned out great for him, though he still needs to figure out how to spell his first name. Somebody tell Dwyane Wade.

With hopes dashed and fantasy teams rushing to trade Papelbon (mine at least), Boston had to come up with something big. Jed Lowrie got them off to a good start with an infield single deep down the 3rd base line. Darnell McDonald came in as a pinch runner, and Eric Patterson drew a walk on four pitches, though three of those pitches really should have been strikes. Marco Scutaro’s job was then to sacrifice the runners a base, and let J.D. Drew try his hand. He did, but pitcher Robbie Weinhardt, in just for the occasion, rushed the throw to first and threw it away, enabling McDonald to come home for the error-off walk-off run, and allowing Red Sox nation to breathe a collective sigh of relief. Too bad Papelbon couldn’t deliver some of that relief.

Sox Stud of the Game: Clay Buchholz

That was one of the better performances from Buchholz of the year, and even his career. Buchholz never allowed a runner past 2nd base, and only allowed two runners to get that far. It’s a shame he didn’t factor into the decision.

Sox Dud of the Game: Jonathan Papelbon

That schmuck couldn’t even hold a three-run lead. And it’s now five blown saves on the year out of 29 opportunities, a 17.24% failure rate. Plenty of other pitchers would have done better.

That’s What He Said:

“You know what, we got a bunt down, and when you get one down, good things happen.” – Terry Francona on the second walk-off in as many days

Game Notes:

W: Jonathan Papelbon (4-4, 5 BS)
L: Brad Thomas (4-1)

  • Darnell McDonald was a late scratch from the starting lineup with a tight back; Eric Patterson replaced him.
  • Justin Verlander averaged 14 2/3 pitches per inning for his first three, and 12 pitches per inning for his last four.
  • Thanks to this result and the Rays’ defeat of the Yankees, the Red Sox are 6.5 games behind New York and 5.5 games behind Tampa Bay.

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