How things turned ugly for Sox

April, 22, 2012
BOSTON -- After six innings, Boston starter Felix Doubrant had thrown 99 pitches and the Red Sox had a 9-1 lead over the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Manager Bobby Valentine figured that was enough for the rookie left-hander, so he told Doubront to hit the showers.

“It seemed to be a no-brainer,” said Valentine of his decision. “I had a rested bullpen.”

As the 9-1 lead began melting, Valentine brought in one rested reliever after another and by game’s end, the collection of bullpen arms had dramatically torched Doubront’s first big-league win since Aug. 10, 2010.

The bullpen quintet of Vicente Padilla, Matt Albers, Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves and Justin Thomas combined to cough up 14 runs on 11 hits in only 1 1/3 innings as the Yankees roared back for an improbable 15-9 win against a demoralized Red Sox team that has lost five in a row at home in falling to 4-10 for the season.

New York pinned back-to-back seven-run innings on the Sox, the seventh and the eighth.

Padilla was the first victim. After striking out Andruw Jones, he gave up two singles, a walk and a grand slam to Nick Swisher, trimming the Sox lead to 9-6. He was lifted when the next Yankee ripped a double.

“A bloop to right, an infield ground ball, and ball up and he hit it. No excuses,” said Padilla through an interpreter.

An error by shortstop Mike Aviles didn’t help Albers, who then was tagged for a two-run homer by Mark Teixeira, making it a 9-8 game.

In the next inning, Morales gave up a leadoff single and was replaced by Aceves, the team’s closer, for what would have been a six-out save. Aceves faced six batters and didn’t retire any of them -- walk, go-ahead two-run double off the center-field fence for Swisher, intentional walk, walk, Teixeira two-run double, intentional walk.

Thomas was next. Raul Ibanez scorched a liner inside the first-base bag that somehow was snagged by Adrian Gonzalez, who turned it into a double play, seemingly ending the damage. But Russell Martin followed with a two-run double and scored on an RBI infield single by Derek Jeter off Junichi Tazawa. Suddenly it was 15-9, Yankees. Game over.

“You try to do your best. It’s frustrating to lose a lead like that. The hitters did a good job scoring runs. The hitters gave us a lead. It’s frustrating when you don’t get the job done,” said Padilla.

“It’s definitely frustrating. As a member of the bullpen you want to shut it down and we weren’t able to do that,” said Albers. “It spiraled on us.”

“We put nine runs on the board. You have to pull that out,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “They just made contact. Some balls they hit out, some balls got through holes, some pitches caught the middle of the plate. Against a team like that you can’t make mistakes.

“With the pitchers we’ve got, I’d go to bat for all of them. They all have great stuff,” he added. “It’s frustrating because we know how good they are. We just have to go out and make better pitches.”

It’s the largest lead the Sox have blown since coughing up a 10-1 lead after 7 innings in an 11-10 loss to the Orioles in Baltimore on June 30, 2009.

It was the second time the Yanks have erased a 9-0 deficit against the Sox. They also did it on June 26, 1987, beating Boston 12-11 in 11 innings at Yankee Stadium.



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