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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sorry, I just puked a little in my mouth

When you look up what the fuck in your baseball dictionary (Red Sox edition), chances are a picture of last night's game in Baltimore will be front and center.

It had a little bit of everything: a rain delay, a historical comeback and a bullpen implosion which all added up to the worst loss of the season for the Red Sox, 11-10.

Behind John Smoltz and a locked in offense, Boston (47-30) led 9-1 in the top of the fifth when the rains came. After a delay of an hour and 11 minutes, the game restarted.

The Sox actually pushed across another run in the seventh to go up 10-1 before the O's (35-42) scored five in the seventh and five in the eighth against the best bullpen (statistically) in baseball. It tied for the second-worst loss in Red Sox history, in terms of largest lead blown.

Smoltz deserved better. He cruised through four innings, allowing a run on three hits with a walk and two strikeouts. He only threw 52 pitches so he looked poised to record his first win for Boston.

Rich Hill didn't stand a chance against the Red Sox' lineup. He gave up nine runs (seven earned) on nine hits in 3.1 innings. He walked three and struck out three in what might be his final start for Baltimore.

Kevin Youkilis (3 hits, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) gave Boston a 2-0 lead in the first as he hit a two-run shot to center just out of the reach of Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. On Monday, Jones had robbed Youkilis of another home run and it looked like he caught the ball last night, but after running into the wall he dropped his glove over the wall. He was shaken up and left the game after the second inning.

Dustin Pedroia (2 hits, 3 RBIs, steal) increased the Red Sox lead to 4-0 in the second with a two-run double.

Felix Pie (2 hits, 2 RBIs) replaced Jones and delivered an RBI triple in the bottom of the second to make it 4-1 Boston.

It looked like it was going to be a laugher as the Red Sox scored five more runs in the fourth. Jacoby Ellsbury (3 hits, 2 RBIs) crushed a solo homer to right center, Youkilis had an RBI double, David Ortiz added an RBI single, Jason Varitek pretended to be hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Ellsbury closed it out with an RBI single.

Pedroia produced the Sox' last run with an RBI single in the seventh which scored Jeff Bailey (3 hits, 3 runs).

After two scoreless innings (with five strikeouts), Justin Masterson was knocked around big time in the seventh. Luke Scott hit an RBI double, Oscar Salazar (2 hits) hit a pinch hit, three-run bomb and Pie closed it to 10-6 with an RBI single.

Manny Delcarmen settled things down and got the final two outs of the seventh but Hideki Okajima was also completely ineffective, giving up four runs on five hits.

Orioles rookie Matt Wieters had an RBI single, Ty Wigginton hit a sac. fly, Brian Roberts hit an RBI single and finally, against Jonathan Papelbon, Nick Markakis (2 hits) hit a two-run double to the gap in left center.

Papelbon came in (after Takashi Saito) and was trying to get a five-out save, with runners on first and second in the eighth.

Boston couldn't do much in the ninth vs. Orioles closer George Sherill. Bailey led off with a single and Youk was hit by a pitch with two outs but Sherill got Jason Bay to strikeout for the third out and his 17th save of the season.

There's no question that this was a terrible loss that could stick with the Red Sox for a while but the good news is that they get right back at it this afternoon with their ace Josh Beckett on the mound in the series finale.

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