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Saturday, August 3, 2013
Red Sox run out of magic

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- The Red Sox entered the bottom of the ninth inning and trailed by a run against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday night at Fenway Park.

Because the Red Sox had won back-to-back games in walk-off fashion the previous two nights against the Seattle Mariners, there was a sense Boston could pull off another dramatic victory.

Red Sox shortstop Stephen Drew led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to right field. With the potential game-tying run on base, Red Sox manager John Farrell decided to attempt a sacrifice bunt in order to put Drew in scoring position. Unfortunately, Sox third baseman Brock Holt could not execute the bunt and struck out looking against Arizona submarine closer Brad Ziegler.

“I didn’t do my job and missed an opportunity there,” Holt said. “We never feel like we’re out of it, so for Drew to get on and do his job by getting the leadoff guy on, I’ve got to do my job behind him and get the bunt down.”

With one out, Jacoby Ellsbury lined a single to right field to put runners on first and second. Shane Victorino followed and flied out to left field. Still, Boston had a chance with Dustin Pedroia coming to the plate.

Pedroia hit a chopper to the left side between the pitcher’s mound and third base, and Ziegler barehanded the ball and made the throw to first for the out to end the game and Boston’s chances at another late-inning victory.

After the 7-6 loss, Holt explained that Ziegler was running the ball inside on the first two pitches of his at-bat.

"It’s kind of tough to pick up and obviously that guy’s closing games for them for a reason,” Holt said of the submarine-style offerings. “He’s got good stuff. I pride myself on doing the little things and being able to get bunts down and play good defense. I wasn’t able to do that tonight and get it done."

With the game on the line, even with two strikes on Holt, Farrell wanted the play executed, so third-base coach Brian Butterfield gave the bunt sign again.

“From pitch one you just get it down any way you can to get the guy over,” Holt said. “He made a good pitch on the outside corner and I took it for strike three. I was just trying to get it down, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to.”

Farrell was hoping the Sox had some magic left over from Thursday night.

“We started to put it together,” Farrell said. “Unfortunately, we’re trying to sacrifice a bunt over there. Ziegler is a dead ground ball pitcher but we didn’t get it. Another base hit by Jacoby, we started to build a little momentum, a similar feeling we’ve had the last couple of nights, but unfortunately it didn’t happen here tonight.”