Closing Time: Red Sox done in by long ball in loss to Phillies
|05.29.13 at 10:17 pm ET|
Small ball helped the Phillies top the Red Sox Tuesday night at Fenway Park. Wednesday night though, the Red Sox fell victim to the long ball as the team’s pitching surrendered four solo home runs in a 4-3 loss at Citizens Bank Park.
The four solo homers gave the Phillies just enough cushion to withstand a ninth-inning Sox rally against former Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Philadelphia closer entered with a 4-2 advantage, but a one-out walk by Stephen Drew, two-out single by Jonny Gomes and two-out double by Jacoby Ellsbury trimmed the lead to 4-3 with the tying and go-ahead runs both in scoring position. However, Papelbon induced a first-pitch groundout from Daniel Nava to close the door.
Kyle Kendrick (5-3, 3.27 ERA) followed up Cliff Lee‘s dominant performance over the Red Sox with a strong one of his own, only allowing two runs and four hits while striking out three and walking three through six innings pitched.
With the loss, the Red Sox will look to split the four-game, two-city series with the Phillies Thursday night with Franklin Morales making his first start of the season.
Here is a look at what went right and what went wrong for the Red Sox in the loss.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
— For the fourth time in his career and the first time since 2005, when he was still with the Angels, Lackey permitted three (or more) homers in a game. Indeed, the three homers matched a career high on a night where he was otherwise sharp.
— Ryan Howard got a second chance in the second inning when Mike Carp got a bad jump on a foul ball and watched it drop in front of the stands. The Phillies slugger certainly took advantage of it, as he pounded the next pitch over the wall in left field for his seventh home run of the season.
— The Phillies were not done hitting the long ball on the night, as Domonic Brown and Eric Kratz hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning to pull ahead 3-1. It was the first time John Lackey had allowed back-to-back home runs since Aug. 1, 2011 when he surrendered homers to Asdrubal Cabrera and Travis Hafner.
— Brown hit another solo home run later in the ballgame off Koji Uehara, giving the Phillies a key insurance run. Uehara saw a streak of seven straight scoreless appearances get snapped while yielding his fourth homer of the year in 21 innings. Also noteworthy: Uehara pitched 1 1/3 innings, his first outing of more than three outs this year.
— With Red Sox runners on first and third in the third inning, Dustin Pedroia ended the threat by getting caught stealing second. It was his second time being caught stealing on the season in 10 attempts. Red Sox baserunners are now 36-for-46 (78.2 percent) in stolen base attempts this season.
— The Red Sox had a chance to at least tie the game in the seventh inning when Jose Iglesias doubled and pinch-hitting Jonny Gomes was hit by a pitch with one out. However, Jacoby Ellsbury struck out looking on a close 3-2 pitch and Mike Napoli grounded out to second base to end the threat.
— Phillies baserunners had no problem stealing bases on Jarrod Saltalamacchia, successfully stealing second base all three times they tried. Saltalamacchia has struggled to throw out baserunners, as runners are 27-for-31 (87.1 percent) against him this season.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
— Ellsbury got things started quickly for the Red Sox again, this time hitting a triple over Ben Revere‘s head to lead off the game. While Revere misplayed the ball, it was ruled Ellsbury’s fifth triple of the season and his seventh hit in his last four games. Pedroia hit a sacrifice fly to center field two batters later, which gave the Red Sox the early lead. He later added a ninth-inning, two-out, RBI double against Jonathan Papelbon, and in his last four games, he’s 8-for-19 (.421) with two doubles and two triples.
— The Red Sox finally responded to the Phillies’ home runs when Daniel Nava led off the sixth inning with a long home run to right field. It was the seventh home run of the year for Nava, tying a career-high. While Nava’s power numbers have tailed off in May ‘ he has hit two homers this month compared to five in April ‘ he continues to crush the ball from the left side of the plate. Against right-handed pitchers, Nava is batting .306/.418/.491 with a .909 OPS and five home runs.
— It was not a perfect night for Lackey (3-5, 2.96 ERA), but he limited his mistakes to the three solo home runs ‘ two of which barely made it out of the hitters’ park in Philadelphia. He finished the night having allowed three runs on six hits while striking out five and walking three hitters. In his three starts since a tough outing in Tampa Bay on May 14, Lackey has been excellent for the Red Sox. He has lasted at least six innings in each start and allowed his first three earned runs during that span Wednesday night.
— Andrew Miller got himself in a jam in the bottom of the seventh inning when he allowed a single and two walks with only one out. However, after a mound visit from pitching coach Juan Nieves, Miller struck Howard out and Uehara forced John Mayberry to pop out and end the chance to add some insurance runs. Still, it’s worth noting that Miller did suffer his first control lapse in some time — in his previous 16 games spanning 13 innings, he had issues just two walks total while punching out an eye-popping 23 batters.
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