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Sox defense has been off the mark

BOSTON -- Keeping the game within three runs was what was on the mind of Red Sox catcher David Ross in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

With the Red Sox down 3-0 and on the verge of being swept at Fenway Park for the first time since September 2012, Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun reached base on a single with one out before taking off for second four pitches later. Ross’s throw to second sailed wide right, allowing Braun to take third and score on a RBI single from Aramis Ramirez on the next pitch.

“It’s just bad baseball,” Ross said of his errant throw.

The error was one of several defensive mistakes the Red Sox made Sunday afternoon as the team lost 4-0 and drop to 2-4 on the season.

“I can’t say it was because of a lack of preparation,” manager John Farrell said. “Right now because of some guys that are missing in the lineup, our margin for error becomes maybe a little bit more fine now. Not an excuse, that’s just where we are right now.”

With third baseman Will Middlebrooks sent to the disabled list hours before Sunday’s game, utility infielder Jonathan Herrera was forced to fill his spot having played in just 44 games at third base entering the contest. In the top of the second inning, Brewers outfielder Khris Davis took advantage of Herrera’s inexperience, dropping a bunt single down with a runner on second that landed between Herrera and pitcher Jon Lester.

“In the report, he’s [not] supposed to bunt much,” Herrera said. “He surprised everybody on that play.”

Herrera instinctively stepped back to cover third base before darting forward to charge the ball, something that seemed to catch Lester, who initially moved toward the ball, off guard. Instead of an out, Davis reached first and came around to score one batter later.

“My natural instinct there, especially with a [right-handed hitter], is to go to first, cover the first base line,” Lester said. “[Herrera’s] trying to get back to third just in case of a bad bunt. That’s just one of those deals, try to do a little bit better next time.”

The next batter, Mark Reynolds, lined a single to right field that Daniel Nava misplayed, allowing both runners to score and giving the Brewers an early lead that they would not relinquish.

“I knew the situation,” Nava said. “I was trying to come in hard and by the time I got there I realized I wasn’t going to get it. I pulled up and didn’t play it very well, clearly.”

Ross’s error in the eighth inning was the fifth by the Red Sox in their three games against Milwaukee, bringing their season total to six in six games. Through six games last year, the team had no errors; they eventually made their sixth on April 23, their 20th game of the season.

Nava doesn’t think any comparisons to last year’s team are relevant, saying no one could have predicted last season’s success based on the ugliness of 2012.

“We understand it’s a brand new season,” he said. “That means anything can happen.”