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Sunday, June 5, 2011

It's about time: J.D. Drew hits his first walk-off hit for the Red Sox (in the 14th inning)

It's only fitting that a game that goes 14 innings (the longest Boston Red Sox game of the season), complete with a four-run lead blown in the ninth and having two players ejected, that J.D. Drew delivered the first walk-off hit of his Red Sox career.

Things were going well for Boston (32-26) as they went into the bottom of the ninth up 7-3 yesterday afternoon at Fenway Park on the Oakland A's (27-32).

Then closer Jonathan Papelbon started giving up hits in a non-save situation like he always does and before you knew it, he was tossed along with catcher Jason Varitek for arguing balls and strikes.

Oakland tied it up at 7 in the ninth and both teams scored a run in the 11th before Drew (2 hits, 2 RBIs) drove in Carl Crawford (4 hits, 3 RBIs, 2 runs) in the 14th for the winning run.

Alfredo Aceves (3-1) was the unsung hero and turned out to be the winner as he went the last four innings for the Red Sox. He allowed one earned run on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

It's hard to remember since this game went five hours and 17 minutes but this started out as a tasty pitching matchup between A's stud Trevor Cahill and Red Sox ace Josh Beckett. As usual, that's not how the game unfolded.

Cahill went seven innings but he allowed five earned runs on eight hits with a walk and eight strikeouts.

Beckett went six innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with three walks and four strikeouts.

Things got off to a good start for Boston as Adrian Gonzalez hit a solo homer (his 11th of the season) in the first. Drew added an RBI single, driving in Crawford in the fifth, for a 2-0 lead.

Josh Willingham tied it up in the sixth with a two-run single in the sixth. The Red Sox responded with three runs. Dustin Pedroia had an RBI single, Kevin Youkilis had an RBI double and Crawford had an RBI single in the frame.

Cliff Pennington drove in a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh but Crawford's two-run double in the eighth made it 7-3 good guys.

You knew something was up in the ninth when Pedroia let a routine grounder go through his legs, scoring a run. Pennington had an RBI double and Conor Jackson tied it with an RBI single as Papelbon melted down literally and figuratively (the first ejection of his career).

Ryan Sweeney put Oakland ahead with a sacrifice fly in the 11th but Jacoby Ellsbury (4 hits, 2 steals) tied it with an RBI double which knocked in Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Boston goes for the sweep today but I wouldn't bet on them since John Lackey returns from the DL and his rehab stint in the minors. He faces Oakland lefty Brett Anderson, who is good and typically gives the Red Sox trouble.

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