Red Sox Live Blog: Boston Squanders Second Six-Run Lead in Three Days, Loses to Royals 10-9 in 12 Innings


Red Sox Live Blog: Boston Squanders Second Six-Run Lead in Three Days, Loses to Royals 10-9 in 12 InningsFinal, Royals 10-9:
So, despite 20 hits for the Red Sox, the club fails to score again after the fourth inning and goes down to the Royals in 12 innings. It's also the second time in three days the Sox have held a six-run lead in a game they eventually lost. It's also the first time since 1981 the team has had 20 hits in a losing effort.

The Red Sox see their record fall to 60-67, while the Royals improve to 56-69. Francisley Bueno (1-0) picks up his first win, Junichi Tazawa (0-1) gets saddled with the loss, and Greg Holland picks up his seventh save.

Well, that's it for us from your Red Sox Live Blog. For now, you can stick with NESN.com or tune in to NESN for all your postgame needs, but we'll be back with another edition of our live blog tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 1:35 p.m. ET.

Adios.

Mid 12th, Royals 10-9: Not that the team is really playing for much at this point, but it would still be pretty devastating to lose two games in three games in which you were up by six runs. But that's the reality the Red Sox are now facing unless they can come up with a run in the bottom of the 12th.

End 11th, 9-9: Iglesias certainly isn't known for his bat, so it's a bit odd to see him occupying the designated hitter's slot.

It's also apparent that David Ortiz isn't available to even so much as hit, or he likely would have been called upon in that situation. That means the Red Sox don't have anyone left on their bench, so the team will hope to avoid any random injuries throughout the course of the rest of this game.

Aside from that, the game has hit another milestone, crossing the four-hour mark.

Middle 11th, 9-9: It's another late night in Boston, as the Red Sox and Royals cross the 11 p.m. threshold still knotted at nine runs apiece.

Aside from that, Tazawa has really pitched himself into a major role in Bobby Valentine's bullpen of late, his two-day stint down in Pawtucket notwithstanding. On the season the right-hander has a 1.37 ERA with 31 hits allowed in 26 1/3 innings but just two walks yielded. That's a pretty good recipe for success.

End 10th, 9-9: The contact play is so infuriating.

Several teams across Major League Baseball employ it in all situations with a runner at third, and some use is strategically, but seeing a runner automatically break for home when he's not forced with less can two outs can be incredibly frustrating.

The idea is to put pressure on the defense and make it a bang-bang play to get the runner coming home, but it just almost never feels like it's worth the risk, as major league defenses tend to execute regardless. And that's what you saw in that last half inning, as Ciriaco was thrown out at home by Hosmer.

Mid 10th, 9-9: After working himself into some trouble there, Vicente Padilla does well to get out of the inning without yielding any damage and preserving the tie.

That brings up a relevant question with Padilla: Why is his hair always wet? We've occasionally seen players who like to douse their heads with water in the dugout or bullpen, but Padilla seems to have taken such a practice to an extreme. This is something which has been observed throughout his career, and we'd be legitimately curious if the reliever just likes his hair wet, or what the deal is with that.

End 9th, 9-9: And we'll have extra innings at Fenway tonight, as the teams compete nine innings tied at nine runs apiece.

This may not bode well for the Red Sox, who are likely a little short in their bullpen. That being said, the team did get some reinforcements in the form of Junichi Tazawa earlier today, so the cupboard isn't entirely bare.

Mid 9th, 9-9: Last chance for the Red Sox in regulation time, as the Red Sox and Royals remain tied heading to the bottom of the ninth.

Can the Red Sox really drop a second game in three days in which they led by six runs? That would be quite a feat, and a pretty crushing one, at that.

End 8th, 9-9: It's unfortunate for the Red Sox that Pedroia's well-hit liner was right at the first baseman Hosmer, as anything but a double play would have likely resulted in a run for the Red Sox, with either the speed of Pedroia or Podsednik on the bases.

Cody Ross has been pretty clutch all year for the Sox, but he can't come through in the bottom of the eighth, and Boston heads to the ninth still locked up with Kansas City after blowing its second six-run lead in three days.

Mid 8th, 9-9: The game remains tied at nine runs apiece since the Royals' six-run seventh, so the Red Sox really need to get something going on the offensive end to avoid what would be the team's second heartbreaking loss of the week.

Again, whatever happens, the team will have to get through this one without closer Alfredo Aceves, who was suspended for "conduct detrimental to the team" earlier Saturday.

On the subject of good news, here's some more fun with Don Orsillo's hair.

End 7th, 9-9: In other news, Adrian Gonzalez hit a three-run home run in his firs at-bat for the Dodgers, so that's a nice way for him to get his L.A. career started.

For Gonzalez, this should be a seamless transition, as the first baseman spent five seasons in Southern California and the National League West with the San Diego Padres. So, Gonzalez should know his competition pretty well, and he has a chance to make a real impact on a playoff race.

Mid 7th, 9-9: Well, this is a little tragic, isn't it? For the second time in three days, the Red Sox have blown a six-run lead, this time to the offensively challenged Royals.

All season the bullpen has done an admirable job, particularly considering the number of guys who are pitching in roles unfamiliar to them, but the last week, it feels like things are breaking down a little bit.

Well, want a distraction, something on the lighter side? Per the on-air conversation, enjoy this Twitter follower's take on Don Orsillo wearing a hair piece.

End 6th, Red Sox 9-3: In the case of Gomez that last half inning, that's simply inexperience in the big leagues and not knowing who the right fielder is. Francoeur has one of the best arms in the game from the outfield, as evidenced by the assists he consistently racks up year after year.

That being said, Gomez has four hits on the night. They weren't all hit hard, but the infielder has just continued to do what he did in Triple-A and probably deserves a chance to see if his bat is for real at the big league level.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 9-3: This live blogger would like to scratch what he said in his last entry. At only 72 pitches through six innings and really just cruising right along through the Royals lineup, why not try and extend Cook for a couple more innings? Especially with a six-run lead.

It's hard to imagine that the Red Sox bullpen isn't still reeling a little bit from Thursday night's 10-inning 14-13 loss to the Angels, so it would probably be a big plus for the Red Sox to save their bullpen a little bit. Andrew Miller looks like he's already warming up in the 'pen, so we'll see what happens, but since the first inning Cook has looked as good as he has all season.

End 5th, Red Sox 9-3: The Sox threaten but can't score in the bottom of the fifth, but it speaks to the offense that Boston's been able to keep the pressure on. And, to harp on it again, the team is doing all this sans David Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez.

Aside from that, the Sox would probably be ecstatic if they could get one more good inning out of Cook and let him finish out his night with six innings of three-run ball.

One more note, just in direct from the team — there's no background on this, but closer Alfredo Aceves has been suspended for three games, beginning tonight, for "conduct detrimental to the team." So, the Sox ought to hope they maintain a large lead, because they'll have to hold this one without their closer.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 9-3: Another item of note: In addition to all the other multitudes of moves made by the Red Sox on Saturday, the team also recalled Felix Doubront from the 15-day DL and has scheduled him to make his first start since since Aug. 9 on Sunday. That's a positive for the Red Sox, as the rookie has been one of the team's more consistent starting pitchers at times. It may also force the team's hand in terms of making decisions about Cook and Daisuke Matsuzaka going forward.

End 4th, Red Sox 9-3: Gomez continues to hit and continues to make a case for more at-bats as the season winds down for the Red Sox.

Aside from that, the offensive onslaught on the part of Boston has to be heartening considering the team is missing its two top power hitters entering the season. Nonetheless, there are lots of other productive hitters still in there, and they're showing they're still capable of putting runs on the board.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 7-3: And that's exactly how the Red Sox wanted to see Cook respond to being given a four-run cushion, as the veteran right-hander gets a quick three groundouts.

For Cook, when he gets in such a rhythm, he can really be an effective pitcher, but far too often lately we've seen Cook leave that sinker up and get hit hard.

End 3rd, Red Sox 7-3: Well, that's a bit better start to the Ben Cherington era, isn't it?

The Red Sox chase Guthrie by the third inning, giving themselves an early lead. From here on out you'd like to see Cook try and take control, increase the pace of the game and induce ground ball after ground ball.

Mid 3rd, Red Sox 4-3: So, in addition to the major moves that you may have heard about, the Red Sox also made a couple of minor moves to fill some roster space on Saturday.

First, the team put outfielder Daniel Nava on the 15-day disabled list with a left wrist sprain. Subsequently, the Sox called up Junichi Tazawa — who had only been down in Pawtucket about 48 hours — as well as outfielder Che-Hsuan and shortstop Jose Iglesias.

Iglesias is clearly the most intriguing of the bunch, as he's been sold as Boston's shortstop of the future for quite a while at this point. And, it's still the same story with Iglesias, as his glove remains phenomenal but his bat remains questionable — and that's probably being polite, as the 22-year old has a .626 OPS in three minor league seasons. Nonetheless, his age does suggest that there could be some room for improvement, so we'll see how he develops further and how he handles this stint with the big club.

End 2nd, Red Sox 4-3: Count this live blogger among those who thinks Mauro Gomez should get a good, long look throughout the rest of the season as the Red Sox evaluate players for next year.

On the one hand, at 27-years-old Gomez is a bit old to be considered a prospect, and he may be peaking as a player, but his bat has also been getting consistently better since 2009, his breakout season. This year, he's really put himself on the map, owning a .960 OPS with Triple-A Pawtucket. That's notable insofar as the International League isn't the heavy hitter's circuit that the Pacific Coast League is, so Gomez is doing something right. Gomez may have the problem of not having a real position on the field, but the Red Sox also now do not have a first baseman slotted for 2013.

Mid 2nd, 3-0 Royals: Well, that's more like it for Cook, who gets two of his three outs recorded on the ground ball and retires the side in order. As we said, Cook may well be fighting for his role for the rest of the season, and offseason consideration from teams, so that's a positive step for him.

End 1st, 3-0 Royals: Once upon a time, Guthrie was drafted out of Stanford in the first round of the amateur draft, but he's never quite lived up to the expectations of a first-round pick. The 33-year-old had some very solid seasons between 2007 and 2010 but was a bit overlooked with the Baltimore Orioles losing so consistently.

Overall, Guthrie throws a pretty standard array of pitches, two- and four-seam fastballs, a curveball, slider and a changeup. He largely resides in the low 90s, so it's not unexpected that his success relies on how good his command is on any given night. Earlier in his career, he threw his fastball and slider the vast majority of the time, but as he's gotten older, he'll mix in his other offspeed pitches more often.

Mid 1st, 3-0 Royals: Well, we'll call that an inauspicious start to what will likely be labeled the Ben Cherington era in Boston, with the Royals jumping out to an early lead and hitting Cook pretty hard.

The right-hander's job in the starting rotation may well be on the line in this start, so we'll keep an eye on how he does throughout the rest of this game, but suffice to say that's not the start that Cook wanted. What the veteran will try to do a better job of is keeping his sinker down, as the Royals had no problem elevating his pitches into the outfield in that first inning. It's no secret that if Cook's going to be successful, he's going to need to keep the ball down in the zone and on the ground off the bat.

7:11 p.m.: We have first pitch! And, for those wondering, the weather in Boston is a beautiful 71 degrees with 71 percent humidity and winds from the southeast at 13 miles per hour.

6:40 p.m.: So, sticking with what's happening on the field, David Ortiz will be sticking to the bench Saturday with a flare-up of his Achilles issues. That means the lineup looks dramatically different for the Red Sox, and it's missing much of the pop in the middle of the order that Boston has been known for for years.

So, with Ortiz and Adrian Gonzalez having vacated the heart of the order, Jacoby Ellsbury continues to hit third, and Mauro Gomez gets a chance to show off the bat that had him showing of a .960 OPS down in Pawtucket for the 2012 season.

Check out the lineups for both teams below:

Red Sox
Scott Podsednik, LF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Cody Ross, RF
Mauro Gomez, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Ryan Lavarnway, DH
Mike Aviles, SS
Pedro Ciriaco, 3B

Aaron Cook, RHP

Royals
Jarrod Dyson, CF
Alcides Escobar, 3B
Alex Gordon, LF
Billy Butler, DH
Salvador Perez, C
Mike Moustakas, SS
Jeff Francoeur, RF
Eric Hosmer, 1B
Tony Abreu, 2B

Jeremy Guthrie, RHP

8 a.m. ET: With all the extracurricular excitement going on, it was almost easy to forget that there is a baseball game happening Saturday as well. Well, don't worry, your Red Sox Live Blog is here to remind you. However, we'll be covering all that trade talk, too.

So, after snapping a four-game losing streak Friday, the Red Sox (60-66) look to find some momentum against the Kansas City Royals (55-69) and behind Aaron Cook, who's been roughed up his last few times on the hill. In fact, over his last five times out, Cook has been hit to the tune of a 6.58 ERA and a .935 opponents' OPS.

However, usually pitching against the Royals offense is a good way to get yourself right, and Kansas City counters with Jeremy Guthrie, who's pitched well for KC since coming over from Colorado — then again, who doesn't pitch better outside of Coors Field? — throwing 39 innings with an even 1.00 WHIP over six starts.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, but you can tune into NESN at 6 for all your pregame needs. Likewise, our NESN.com Red Sox Live Blog will have the starting lineups and, as Vin Scully would say, "all the stats and stories" in the hours beforehand.

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