Saturday, May 21, 2011

Red Sox Collapse in 8th, Snap 7-Game Streak

Sports Illustrated

Cubs 9 Red Sox 3
Winning Pitcher: Sean Marshall (2-0)
Losing Pitcher: Matt Albers (0-2)

The Red Sox looked like they had this one in their grasps, but Matt Albers and the defense behind them played as bad as I've ever seen a professional team play in the 8th inning, and the Cubs won by a convincing six run total. Alfredo Aceves made his first start since 2009 in place of the injured Daisuke Matsuzaka, and did a very solid job in the spot starter role. He started the game with a hit batter and a base hit, but buckled down and got a strike out and a double play to get out of the inning unscathed. He wasn't so lucky in the third, when he gave up an RBI double to Aramis Ramirez to give the Cubs an early 1-0 lead. However, in the bottom of the fourth, David Ortiz was able to follow a Youkilis base hit with a two-run homer off Carlos Zambrano to give the Sox a 2-1 advantage. Aceves came out and got the Cubs to go down 1-2-3 in the 5th, and he would be done after 5 innings, giving up just the one run on three hits, and a pair of walks and strike outs. In relief, Dan Wheeler came in and had a 1-2-3 6th. In the bottom of the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury's RBI single gave Boston the insurance run they were looking for. Then, the 8th inning happened. Matt Albers, who had looked very good all year coming into this game, came on in relief to start the inning. He quickly loaded the bases, and then walked Carlos Pena to cut the lead to one. After a Reed Johnson 2-RBI double gave Chicago the lead, Jed Lowrie dropped an easy pop-up to allow another run, and Albers day was over. Albers ended up allowing 6 runs, 5 earned, on 3 hits and 2 walks, without recording an out. His 31 pitches without a single out was the most in the majors this year, and the most in Red Sox history (according to Alex Speier on Twitter). Terry Francona called upon the newly acquired Franklin Morales to get the Sox out of the inning, but he ended up allowing two runs of his own (although they were both unearned due to some horrendous defense from Jason Varitek, Kevin Youkilis and Carl Crawford, all on one play) in the inning and it gave the Cubs a 9-3 lead. This loss snaps Boston's 7-game winning streak.

Home Runs
Boston: David Ortiz (9) (The home run gave Ortiz 300 as a member of the Red Sox, making him the 5th player in team history to do so.)
Chicago: None    

The Red Sox and Cubs finish off their series tomorrow night in Boston at 8:00 PM ET. Boston sends Tim Wakefield (0-1 5.40) to the mound against James Russell (1-4 6.26), who is filling in for Matt Garza, who was scratched from the start during tonight's game due to a sore elbow.    

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