Saturday, April 17, 2010
Sox blow it in 12 innings, 3-1
By Gordon Edes
So, all you folks who sat through three-plus hours of rain Friday night in Fenway Park and went home deprived of the glow of a Red Sox win or the grumbling that follows a Sox defeat, this will not make you feel any better.
Your resoluteness in the face of the mud and the blood and the beer went unrewarded, the Sox losing 3-1 in 12 innings to the Tampa Bay Rays in the completion of a suspended game that had to wait until the next day for its climactic act of misery to be played out.
On the scale of Fan Suffering, this one has few rivals, and the cold and wet were the least of two nights’ worth of aggravation. The Sox had the bases loaded in the 11th with no one out against reliever Lance Cormier and failed to score, as David Ortiz and Adrian Beltre, the two who have hit more home runs in a season than anyone else on the roster, were unable to hit a ball into the air against a two-man outfield.
Ortiz grounded into a force play at the plate, and Beltre rolled into a third-to-first double play against Joe Maddon’s five-man infield, the Rays’ manager having summoned right fielder Ben Zobrist to play on the dirt.
“That’s a great opportunity, you can’t get a better opportunity,’’ a subdued Terry Francona said after the game. “We needed to elevate something, and we couldn’t. They threw cutters to David, and little breaking balls to Beltre. That’s as good an opportunity as you‘re going to get.’’
The Red Sox manager wasn’t interested in discussing the five-man infield. “I don’t worry about what they’re doing,’’ he said. “If we elevate the ball, it doesn’t matter.’’
Then in the 12th, Pat Burrell, the Tampa Bay DH who has been hearing the same “Is he washed up?” chatter that is hounding Ortiz, belted a two-run home run off Manny Delcarmen, the Red Sox reliever who supposedly has been undergoing a mechanical tuneup all spring but remains a wreck.
“A fastball high over the plate, and he took a good swing,’’ Francona said. “He [Delcarmen] got behind in the count.’’
Burrell’s home run, which came with Evan Longoria aboard on a walk, was his first of the season, and accounted for his first RBIs in nine games this season.
The only way this night could turn any uglier is if the Sox should lose its regularly scheduled game, which was set to begin at 9:05.
That’s not implausible, either, with Francona not having Daniel Bard or Jonathan Papelbon available to close out the nightcap. Bard pitched two searing innings of relief after play resumed Saturday, Francona saying it would be asking too much for him to come back later in the evening.
Papelbon, meanwhile, was not at Fenway Park Saturday night. His wife, Ashley, gave birth to the couple’s second child, a boy, Gunner Robert, before the end of the suspended game, and Francona said Papelbon would not be present. Francona initially had hoped that Papelbon would be available for the resumption of the suspended game; he had been on the mound when play was halted by rain after 8 ½ innings.
Clay Buchholz and James Shields were matched against each other in the regularly scheduled game. At 9:05, when the first pitch was thrown by Buchholz, the game-time temperature was 39 degrees.