Rapid Reaction: Brewers 7, Red Sox 6 (11)
April, 5, 2014
By Tony Lee | Special to ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- There were 13 runs, 26 hits, four errors, three double plays, two wild pitches, 31 strikeouts, 367 pitches thrown by 14 pitchers and one big addition to the loss column for the Red Sox, who are under .500 for the first time in the John Farrell era following a 7-6 setback to the Milwaukee Brewers that took 4 hours, 23 minutes in chilly conditions at Fenway Park on Saturday.
The teams combined for 11 runs in the first three frames as Clay Buchholz was not sharp for the Red Sox and some shoddy Brewers defense helped Boston stay close. Then came a rather impressive battle of the bullpens, with Burke Badenhop giving up a run in the 11th that proved to be the difference.
Buchholz was flat in his season debut, a slight cause for concern given the injury-plagued season he had in 2013. He gave up six runs on a career-high 13 hits -- most of which were struck with authority -- in 4 1/3 innings.
Here is some of what we saw along the way:
Scratch that: The Red Sox released their lineup at around 3 p.m. There were some surprises, with David Ortiz already needing a day off and Mike Carp at first base, Daniel Nava batting third and Grady Sizemore leading off. Little did we know how different this already-wacky configuration would get before first pitch.
Carp was scratched about an hour before the game with back tightness and Will Middlebrooks was removed minutes before the lineup cards were brought out and replaced at third base by Jonathan Herrera.
A nice homecoming: Chris Capuano, a native of Springfield, Mass., made his debut at Fenway Park as a member of the Red Sox a memorable one. He cleaned up Buchholz’s mess in the fifth by getting two quick outs and then struck out two in a 1-2-3 fifth.
The first two reached in the seventh, and an error helped the Brewers get runners on the corners with no outs, but Capuano recorded a big strikeout -- his fourth -- to get an out on the board before giving way to Brandon Workman.
Workman struck out the next two hitters to finish the dramatic escape and also stranded a runner at third in the eighth. Koji Uehara then did his thing, and Junichi Tazawa wiggled out of a bases-loaded mess in the 10th. Overall, Boston’s bullpen struck out 15 in in 6 2/3 innings while allowing the one run in the 11th, a great bounce-back effort after Edward Mujica’s rough ninth inning was the difference in Friday’s loss.
Ortiz in the house: There were rumblings when David Ortiz was not in the lineup that the calf issue with which he has been dealing was the cause. John Farrell said it was nothing more than a scheduled day off due to the awkward schedule early in the season, and when Ortiz emerged from the dugout to pinch-hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, it elicited perhaps the largest roar of the night.
It was the ultimate go-for-the-win moment for Farrell. Big Papi and backup catcher David Ross seemingly were the only healthy reserves until Carp was well enough to go in to play first base to begin the 10th.
Just like the old days: Not only has Grady Sizemore done an admirable job at the plate, but he had some nice moments in the outfield in this one. Of note were two plays he made in the third that cut off hits before they rolled to the wall, the second of which was a diving stop -- like Dustin Pedroia ranging to his left -- that might’ve prevented an inside-the-park home run off the bat of Scooter Gennett, who was already well on his way to second when Sizemore went into a dive.
The old 8-4-2 double play: With Buchholz on the ropes in the fourth (runners on first and second with one out) -- Aramis Ramirez lofted a long fly to center. Carlos Gomez, who has feasted on Red Sox pitching in the series, tagged at second and never stopped at third. The relay from Sizemore to Pedroia to A.J. Pierzynski was well-executed and Gomez was out, although replays suggest he may have had a foot in first.
Even with two outs it seemed a questionable decision by the Brewers given the fact that it helped out Buchholz, who was not fooling anyone and may have been another hit from being lifted from the game.
Up next: The series finale features a pretty good pitching matchup, as Jon Lester makes his 2014 home debut opposite Milwaukee righty Yovani Gallardo, who threw six scoreless frames against Atlanta in his first start of the year.