Murphy’s Law clearly states, “Anything that can happen, will happen, given enough time.” So I guess in a league with 142 years of history, it was bound to happen at some point—no matter how improbable.
Yes, even the oh-so-embarrassing act of the Boston Red Sox losing a series to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
That’s right, folks. After dropping two of three games this weekend, your beloved Red Sox—for the first time ever—have lost to a Pirates squad barely stayin’ afloat. With the double-victory weekend, Pittsburgh climbed to one game above .500, and the Red Sox sunk to 2nd place in the AL East.
Pirates 3 Red Sox 1
It all began on Friday night, with the oh-so-favorable pitching matchup between Boston’s Jon Lester (9 wins) and Pittsburgh’s Paul Maholm (3 wins). But just as Lester was ready to capture his treasured 10th victory, the Pirates swept in to steal a 3-1 victory.
After jumping out to a quick 1-0 lead in the 1st with a Kevin Youkilis RBI, Boston saw their lead disappear in the 3rd inning. Mike Cameron misplayed a fly ball, allowing runners to reach second and third with no outs.
And that’s all it took for the Pirates to take control of the game. With the bases loaded, Pittsburgh’s Jose Tabata singled in a run, and Chase d’Arnaud followed suit by hitting in the second run of the inning with a double play.
Jon Lester was pulled after a respectable six innings, giving up 8 hits and 2 earned runs on 107 pitches. Said Lester on his performance, “Other than two hits tonight, nothing else was squared up. I’ll take my chances with that every time.” Lester remains one win away from the AL-leading 10 wins.
But Boston was not done quite yet. Down 3-1 in the 8th and with runners on second and third, in stepped Big Papi.
And the rain.
Just as Ortiz reached the plate, well, so did Mother Nature.
“I just walk up to the plate and it starts pouring. What’s up with that?” said Oritz.
Needless to say, the distraction did not help his cause. Ortiz sent a weak grounder to third to end the inning, and the hopes of the large Red Sox nation in attendance.
Pirates 6 Red Sox 4
But Boston would not take to defeat lightly, and seemed determined to return Saturday night with a vengeance. And with three homers on the day, I guess you could say that is exactly what they did.
Tim Wakefield returned to Pittsburgh for the first time in 18 years, and was looking stellar from the very beginning—until the 4th inning, that is.
Once again, the Red Sox jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with solid Pedroia base running and yet another home run from MVP-hopeful Adrian Gonzalez. But that’s when it all came crashing down for Wakefield.
In a fourth inning filled with 4 hits and 4 runs (including a home run by the slumping Lyle Overbay, and a first Major League RBI by the opposing pitcher), Wakefield pretty much let the game slide in a blink of an eye.
“It was one of those innings where I fell out of rhythm,” explains Wakefield. No kidding.
The Pirates tacked on one more in the 5th to make it 5-2, but the Red Sox raised the cannons and battled back. Home runs by Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury in the top of the 7th raised competing cheers of “Let’s Go Red Sox” and “Let’s Go Bucs.”
And just as things were starting to get interesting, Pittsburgh’s Garrett Jones answered with yet another homer to ensure the Pirate’s victory and cap a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox.
When asked about the streak after the game, Kevin Youkilis did not seem too worried: “A lot worse problems have happened in this world. We’ve lost six in a row before. We’re human.”
Manager Terry Francona had a simple game plan for Game 3 of the series: “Oh boy, well we’re going to try to win.”
Red Sox 4 Pirates 2
Not so fast, said the Red Sox. The Pirates eyed what would surely be nothing short of an eye-opening series sweep, but Boston quickly took advantage before it became too late. With 4 errors on the day, Pittburgh’s third game of the series was surely one the record-crowd of 39,511 at PNC would care to forget.
Boston—for the third time in all three games of the series—pulled out to an early 1-0 lead in the 4th inning with an error from Pittsburgh’s Andrew “Not-So-McClutch” McCutchen. Pittsburgh responded with two quick runs of their own to lead 2-1 going in to the 6th.
But Josh Reddick continued his strong weekend with an RBI sacrifice fly as Kevin Youkilis touched home to knot the game at 2-2 in the 6th.
Boston’s Andrew Miller exited the game after the 6th, en route to his first victory of the season. Giving up only 5 hits and 1 earned run over 109 pitches in 6 innings, Miller was easily the backbone of the Red Sox on this victorious Sunday.
More impressively, Miller found his first victory in the AL in almost four years after being delegated to the minors. “I felt like I was just carrying over what I’ve been working on in the past, and it felt pretty good,” claimed Miller.
But Pittsburgh’s pitching was not so lucky. After entering as relief in the 7th inning, Pittsburgh’s Tim Wood and Daniel Moskos did not get off to a good start with two straight walks. After an Ellsbury sacrifice putting runners on second and third, Pedroia and Youkilis happily hit two more runs in to seal the 4-2 victory.
And for kicks, the last run was scored with the 230 lb. Big Papi sliding into home, ramming into the rookie Pirates catcher Eric Fryer.
Said Ortiz on if he was worried about the collision, “I’m a beast!” Enough said.
Perhaps this beast we all know and love can lead the Red Sox to a much more memorable three-game series against the Major League leading Philadelphia Phillies starting Tuesday.
After all, it’s just about time we end this shipwreck in Pennsylvania once and for all.