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Closing Time: Red Sox tied for first place after blowout loss to Twins

05.08.13 at 10:52 pm ET
By

Allen Webster

Allen Webster isn’t ready to be the Red Sox’ savior quite yet.

In his second major league start, Allen Webster was roughed up all over the place in what resulted in a 15-8 Twins victory over the Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park. It was the Sox’ sixth loss in their last nine games. They now are tied for first place in the American League East with Baltimore (21-13).

Webster allowed eight runs on six hits, walking three in just 1 2/3 innings. He was followed by Felix Doubront, who proceeded to allow six runs on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings. The starter threw 54 pitches, while Doubront made 105 pitches in relief.

After the game, Webster was informed he would be returning to Triple-A Pawtucket.

After striking out the first batter of the game, Jamey Carroll, Webster proceeded to issue two walks before Justin Morneau‘s ground-rule double. Trevor Plouffe followed with a sacrifice fly, which was followed by Ryan Doumit‘s two-run homer to give the visitors a 4-0 lead after the first half-inning.

“I can’t say it was just because of some emotion that took him out of his game,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Webster. “Right from the start, just the inability to establish a given pitch to a certain area to get a strike when needed. And when he got behind in the count, then he’s obviously at a disadvantage. Against this team, if there isn’t a secondary pitch to command behind in the count, we saw tonight what they can do.”

And even though Jonny Gomes‘ first-inning grand slam and Stephen Drew‘s RBI single gave the Sox a one-run lead heading into the second, the combination of Webster and Doubront teamed to allow seven runs in the second, paving the way for the Minnesota rout.

Doubront is scheduled to make his next start, with Webster heading back to Triple-A Pawtucket.

“Our plan had been, and still remains, that Felix would take that turn,” Farrell said. “We stated that yesterday. We tried to be as clear as we could with the guys involved, both Allen and Felix, just to get through these two days so there was no confusion if Felix got up last night, or if he didn’t get in was he going to pitch and make that start today. So just from a communication standpoint we tried to be as clear as possible over these two days. But we haven’t come off that initial plan, which is Felix starting the next time through.

“Once again, physically everything checks out. He doesn’t complain or state any tightness or physical limitations. But still, even with stuff might be a little bit reduced for what we’ve known him for, we’ve got to pitch accordingly. That is to still locate. Every time they showed a replay it seemed like a ball found the middle of the plate, even when he was ahead in the count. The finish and the lateness to the stuff is not as sharp as we’ve seen, but that’s the plan right now.”

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox loss.

WHAT WENT WRONG

David Ortiz‘ 27-game hit streak came to an end, making him two games shy of reaching Johnny Damon‘s 29-game stretch in 2005. Dom DiMaggio holds the team record, hitting in 34 straight games in 1949. Ortiz finished going 0-for-5, dipping his average from .414 to .381. After the game, the designated hitter spiced things up via Twitter:

Pedro Ciriaco made his third error in the last two games, whipping a high throw on Josh Willingham‘s ground ball to lead off the seventh inning. Ciriaco was getting the start at third base in place of the injured Will Middlebrooks.

• Former Red Sox farmhand Ryan Pressly, who was picked up by Twins in the Rule 5 draft this past offseason, earned his first major league win, not allowing a run on two hits over four innings.

• The Twins’ 19 hits were the most allowed by the Red Sox since Aug. 31, 2012 (with the Sox having managed to given up as many three times last season). It was that game against Oakland that the Sox also last allowed as many as 15 runs.

• Pitching for the first time since being named closer, Junichi Tazawa allowed a run on two hits over one inning.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

• Gomes’ two-out grand slam in the first was his fourth career home run with the bases loaded, having led the major leagues with the two outs and runners in scoring position a year ago (12-for-25, .480).

“Through the course of 162, obviously you’re going to win some, you’re going to lose some,” Gomes said. “Games like this are going to happen when you’re on the losing side. You can be on the winning side. Games like this, if anyone is checking for a character check about what happened today — being down nine runs, guys beating out infield singles, guys breaking up two, [Dustin Pedroia] diving all over the field, [Mike] Napoli drawing walks, good defense throughout, not one person threw away an at-bat. Like I said, whether you win by a bunch it’s one win, whether you lose by a bunch it’s one loss. I tell you what, the character of this team really stuck out today.”

• Pedroia finished with three hits, while Shane Victorino, Napoli, Drew and Jarrod Saltalamacchia each had a pair.

• Red Sox pitcher Frankin Morales turned in two scoreless innings for the Portland Sea Dogs, making his second rehab appearance. The lefty allowed two hits, struck out three and didn’t walk a batter.

Read More: allen webster, David Ortiz, felix doubront, Jonny Gomes
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