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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Bard blows save for PawSox

By ESPNBoston.com

Daniel Bard, making his first appearance for Triple-A Pawtucket in a save situation, allowed two runs to score, both on wild pitches, to blow a save Wednesday night.

Bard inherited and wiped away a messy situation in the eighth inning. He entered the game with two outs and two runners on, but induced an inning-ending popup to preserve a 4-3 lead.

The PawSox added a run in the top of the ninth, but Bard's problems began in the bottom half, when he allowed a double and a single to put runners on the corners. His first wild pitch scored one run, and the tying run came home with two outs on his second wild pitch. The PawSox went on to lose 6-5 in 11 innings.

The right-hander's previous outing was June 14, when he tossed two scoreless innings and struck out four batters against Buffalo. Prior to Wednesday's debacle, Boston manager Bobby Valentine said the idea of having Bard pitch out of the bullpen for the PawSox was working.

"It's been productive, yeah," Valentine said. "It's moving in the right direction.

"We're going to try to get him in a game without saying how long he's going to pitch or what inning it's going to be. We start to get him into real game situations."

That's exactly what happened Wednesday, when Bard entered a game in the middle of an inning for the first time. Previously, he had started one game and made four relief appearances at the beginning of an inning for the PawSox.

Bard was optioned to Pawtucket on June 7 after posting a 5-6 record with a 5.24 ERA in 10 starts and one relief appearance for the Red Sox this season, his first as a starter.

ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald and regular contributor Tony Lee contributed to this report.