Missed opportunities do in Sox

DETROIT -- The Boston Red Sox took one positive out of Saturday night's 12-inning loss to the Detroit Tigers.

It wasn't going to be long before they got a chance to get it out of their minds.

"The good news is that we've got another game in 13 hours, so we won't be able to dwell on this," said Kevin Youkilis after Boston stranded 13 runners in a 7-6 defeat. "There is just no way we should have lost this."

Through five innings, the game looked to be completely in Boston's control. They led 6-1 and Jon Lester had only allowed one hit: Adam Everett's third-inning RBI double.

As it turned out, though, while the Red Sox didn't realize it at the time, they had already cost themselves the game by not scoring more runs off Detroit starter Dontrelle Willis.

At times this season, Willis has shown glimpses of the pitcher who went to two All-Star Games with Florida, but on Saturday, he fell back into the bad habits that have plagued his career in Detroit. He walked the game's first batter -- Marco Scutaro -- on four pitches, with the fourth sailing to the backstop. He then went to a 2-0 count on Dustin Pedroia before throwing his first strike of the game, which earned him a sarcastic ovation from the sold-out crowd of 40,742.

Pedroia, though, flew out and Victor Martinez struck out before Youkilis drew the first of his career-high five walks. David Ortiz -- the hero of Friday's victory -- then struck out, setting a pattern of missed opportunities that would continue throughout the night.

Boston put its first two runners on in the second -- a single and Willis' third walk in seven batters -- but wasted the chance when Darnell McDonald grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Even when the Red Sox appeared to take control of the game, scoring three times in the third inning, there was the feeling that they should have had more. Ortiz hit an RBI single and Adrian Beltre walked to load the bases before J.D. Drew hit a high fly to the deepest part of Comerica Park. Normally, all three runners would have scored easily, but the ball bounced over the 420-foot sign and into the shrubbery atop the center-field fence for a ground-rule double. That meant Beltre had to stop at third, and he was stranded there when Bill Hall flew out.

The fourth brought an end to Willis' disastrous night -- he gave up four hits and seven walks in 3 1/3 innings -- but, once again, the Red Sox left runs on the table. This time, on Ortiz's second RBI single in as many innings, Pedroia was thrown out at the plate while trying to score from second.

Still, after Hall's fifth-inning homer gave the Red Sox a five-run lead, it seemed the early-inning mistakes were going to be meaningless.

"We knew that we had missed some opportunities against Willis, but we never thought it would cost us the game," Terry Francona said. "It looked like we had things under control."

Instead, the Red Sox didn't score in the remaining seven innings, stranding six more runners. Boston had runners in scoring position in the eighth, 10th and 11th innings, and would have won the game if they could have gotten any of them home.

The Red Sox finished with nine hits and drew 12 walks, and seemed stunned that they weren't able to turn that into a win.

"It's really tough to lose that one because we had plenty of opportunities to win it," Youkilis said. "I think maybe the Tigers pitchers were so wild that it was actually helping them because we were never really able to get a feel for where the ball was going to be. That sounds strange, but it happens sometimes."