Closing Time: Red Sox fail to capitalize on chances, lose to Twins 6-5 in 10 innings
|08.03.12 at 11:28 pm ET|
In a game in which the Red Sox had 14 hits and the Twins committed three errors, Boston’s bats were only quiet when it counted as the team dropped a 10-inning affair with Minnesota, 6-5, at Fenway Park Friday night.
The Red Sox bats faltered after a strong start to the game as the team did not score a run after a four-run third inning. Boston struggled with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-14 as a team and leaving 10 on base.
Felix Doubront did not have his best stuff on Friday, especially during the Twins’ four-run fifth inning. The southpaw allowed five runs on eight hits while walking four through five innings pitched.
Boston has not had a good start to August after having a strong finish to July. The team, which had won four consecutive games entering the new month, has now lost its last three matchups.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
‘¢ Boston got beaten by the Twins’ No. 9 hitter, as Carroll went 4-for-4 with a walk, a double, and three singles including the game-winning RBI single in the top of the ninth. The 38-year-old last had four hits in a game in a 15-inning affair with the Brewers.
‘¢ Doubront had some control issues in the fifth inning that led to four runs and a tie game. After allowing Denard Span and Ben Revere to reach base on a fielder’s choice and base hit, respectively, Doubront walked Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to bring in one run. Justin Morneau drove in two more runs on a single before Danny Valencia drove in the then-tying run with a sacrifice fly.
Of the 33 pitches Doubront threw in the inning, 15 were balls. Doubront had only walked home one run so far this year, something he had only done one other time in his career.
‘¢ It was a tough night at the plate for the two rookies Ryan Lavarnway (1-for-5) and Will Middlebrooks (0-for-5). There were many key moments when one of those two came to the plate with the chance to give the team the lead, like in the bottom of the fifth inning when Ross and Gonzalez occupied first and second with nobody out. Lavarnway grounded into a double play before Middlebrooks popped out to end the inning and the threat.
Lavarnway struggled in a big spot again in the seventh with the game tied at five, when Gonzalez was intentionally walked to after a bases-empty double by Ross. The 24-year-old catcher failed to drive in the run and instead hit an easy pop-up to Mauer to end the inning.
Then in the bottom of the ninth inning with the chance to walk off with the win, Lavarnway just missed a home run with his only hit of the night and ended up on second with a double. But Middlebrooks could not convert with two outs, grounding out to third and ending another threat.
‘¢ Despite a promising start to the first inning, which included back-to-back singles from Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia with nobody out, the Red Sox could not take an early lead. With the runners on first and third, Cody Ross popped out to shallow right field before Adrian Gonzalez grounded into a double play to end the inning.
Gonzalez has been a prime performer in situations with runners on first and third with one out, as he had been 4-for-6 in such situations this season before that at-bat.
‘¢ While Morneau made a big error that cost the Twins three runs, he made up for it at the plate. The Canadian first baseman went 4-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run in the ballgame. He was also hit by a pitch in the ninth inning.
The last time the Red Sox had at least one batter earn four hits off of them was on May 30, when Miguel Cabrera hit three doubles and a single off Jon Lester and Matt Albers. The Red Sox allowed two hitters to do this tonight (Morneau and Carroll).
‘¢ The Red Sox had a chance in the bottom of the eighth to take the lead and potentially the game when Ellsbury came to the plate with the bases loaded. However, reliever Tyler Robertson struck Ellsbury out swinging and then Jeff Gray forced Pedroia to fly out and end the inning.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
‘¢ It had been long overdue, but Carl Crawford hit his first double of the season. The speedy left-fielder pulled a ball down the right field line off starter Brian Duensing with two outs and the bases empty in the second inning, and it led to the Red Sox first run. Kelly Shoppach, who had missed the previous two games due to a shin injury, came through the following at-bat with an RBI single.
Crawford’s last double came in the final game of 2011, a season in which he hit 29 doubles. It took the 30-year-old 16 games to knock a two-base hit this season, but he has hit a triple and two home runs.
Crawford’s night was not done though, as he capitalized on a fielding error by Morneau in the third. Morneau had dropped an easy pop-up in foul territory to keep Crawford in the batter’s box with two men on and two outs before Crawford drilled a homer into the Boston bullpen.
While he only hit one homer in 13 games played in July, Friday’s bomb was his second home run in the last three games.
‘¢ The Twins tested Lavarnway defensively in the first inning as they tried to execute a double steal with runners on first and second. The rookie recognized that he did not have time to throw out the speedy Revere at third base, so he made the smart toss to second where he threw out Mauer.
The extra out may have prevented an early rally, as Doubront induced a fly ball out from Josh Willingham next batter. However, the fly out could have been a double or possibly a triple if not for the speed of Ellsbury, who covered a lot of ground before snatching the fly ball on its way to the triangle in center field.
‘¢ While Gonzalez did not convert in his first at-bat with a runner in scoring position, he did not let the opportunity slide by him again. With Pedroia on second and Ross on first, Gonzalez drilled an opposite-field single to give Boston a 2-1 lead at the time.
It was Gonzalez’s first RBI since June 28 against the Yankees, when he delivered four RBIs in an 8-6 win. His RBIs have come in bunches over the past two weeks, as the last three games in which he has driven in at least one run, he has knocked in four, three and four respectively. However, he only had one in Friday’s game.
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