Nelson Cruz Homer Sinks Red Sox in Second Straight Walk-Off Loss

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Nelson Cruz Homer Sinks Red Sox in Second Straight Walk-Off Loss Postgame, Rangers 10-9: Adding insult to injury, or vice versa, we get updates on three Red Sox players who either left the game or struggled to get through it. The MASH unit is filling back up.

Jacoby Ellsbury, who left in the fourth inning with soreness in his left side, will head to Los Angeles on Saturday for an MRI. It doesn't exactly sound promising.

"There's certainly some concern there," Terry Francona said. "He managed to fall right on the same spot [that he had already hurt]."

Ellsbury played nine games in April and May before shutting things down for more than two months. He played nine games upon returning. Seems to be the limit.

Jed Lowrie left the game in the ninth with heat exhaustion. It's almost a given that he will need a day off to recover.

Finally, Victor Martinez managed to stay in the game but was certainly in some pain after fouling a ball off his left foot/toe, a spot that keeps getting hit. Do not be surprised if Jarrod Saltalamacchia is in there Saturday night, although there is a day game Sunday so they would have to know that Martinez can return for that one or else be forced to start Saltalamacchia in a day game after a night game in scorching heat.

Essentially, there's a lot on Francona's plate, the least of which might be motivating his troops after a second consecutive walk-off loss. The Red Sox will turn to Jon Lester for perhaps his biggest start of the year Saturday night. First pitch is 8:05 p.m.

Final, Rangers 10-9: Shades of Aaron "Bleeping" Boone. Tim Wakefield throws one pitch to Nelson Cruz in the bottom of the 11th and it winds up in the stands in left. Two straight days with two straight miserable losses.

Safe to say more happened in this game than most others on the major league slate tonight. We'll come back in a bit to sum it all up.

Mid 11th, 9-9: Not a good sight in the top of the 11th as Victor Martinez fouls one off his already injured left toe. He stayed in the game but was in obvious pain. We will see how that affects him going forward.

End 10th, 9-9: A better result for Jonathan Papelbon roughly 40 hours after he blows his sixth save of the season. He does walk Josh Hamilton, but who can blame him for that. Cristian Guzman, who entered as a pinch runner in the eighth in place of Vladimir Guerrero, strikes out with Hamilton on second to end it.

Mid 10th, 9-9: Since opening Wednesday's game 3-for-3 with two home runs Bill Hall has gone 0-for-7 with six strikeouts. All or nothing for Hall of late. It was nothing in the 10th as he is part of a 1-2-3 frame for Neftali Feliz.

Jonathan Papelbon has entered the fray.

End 9th, 9-9: Manny Delcarmen manages to walk a .122 hitter who hadn't drawn a free pass since April 24, but he also struck out a pair and got a grounder to second. Free baseball, folks!

Mid 9th, 9-9: The Red Sox go in order against Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. Manny Delcarmen was warming in the Boston bullpen and will start the ninth.

End 8th, 9-9: That goes into the books as a blown save for Daniel Bard, folks. It happens to the best of them, see?

Say what you will about any of the garbage that has taken place in this game, but Josh Hamilton is a monster. He is now 4-for-5 with two amazing catches in center and then the best base running play of the game.

If you missed it, he scored from second on a dribbler behind second base that Jed Lowrie fielded and threw wide of first. Hamilton never stopped running and when Vladimir Guerrero was safe at first the throw home to try to get Hamilton was late.

Bard threw 32 pitches, a high for the season. His previous high was 29, which he tied Monday in New York. The guy is gonna be gassed in September.

11:23 p.m.: Daniel Bard has thrown more pitches than any game this season and this one is tied on a play that almost defies explanation. Let's just say Josh Hamilton came in on a bleeder to second base and leave it at that.

Mid 8th, Red Sox 9-8: This game is downright aberrational. The losing teams in the completed games Friday night have had run totals of 0, 0, 0, 1, 2, 2, and 2. Then we have the Red Sox and Rangers, well past three hours old and flirting with double digits on both sides.

End 7th, Red Sox 9-8: Quite a night for J.D. Drew. He has two home runs and misplays a third out into an RBI double off the bat of Bengie Molina. Not too often you see Drew get burned like that in right.

It could've been worse but Daniel Bard was able to win a duel with Andres Blanco by blowing a 98-mph heater by him.

We will see if Bard's 13 pitches in the seventh affect him in the eighth. Remember, he threw a season high-tying 29 pitches earlier this week and faced one batter in Thursday's loss.

10:49 p.m.:Felix Doubront is done after giving up a run and getting two outs in the seventh. Daniel Bard is up next, followed, whether you like it or not, by Jonathan Papelbon.

The Rangers scored their seventh run on a sacrifice fly that saw left fielder Ryan Kalish throw just off line at home. He also took some time to get rid of the ball.

Terry Francona said a couple of weeks ago that once Kalish masters the transfer from glove to hand he will have an elite throwing arm.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 9-6: Four home runs in four games and two in this one for J.D. Drew, who has gone deep twice in a game for the 17th time in his career.

The Red Sox have hit five home runs, three shy of the team record, and all of them have been solo shots.

Felix Doubront is the fourth Boston pitcher of the game.

End 6th, Red Sox 8-6: Scott Atchison does his job by getting Elvis Andrus on a fly to right and striking out Michael Young. Tampa Bay has lost and the Yankees are losing in the fifth. Despite the rough outing by Josh Beckett it could still be a very positive night.

10:15 p.m.: We just heard the diagnosis on Jacoby Ellsbury, and you've heard it before. He departed with left side pain. Same side he has had all of his rib issues this year.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 8-6: David Ortiz lines into the shift for the final out of the sixth. The Red Sox have left just five on base despite 10 hits, two walks and one Texas error. Josh Beckett has been relieved by Dustin Richardson. 

10:05 p.m.: Apologies for getting personal, but it will help reinforce how good Josh Hamilton's catch was to start the top of the sixth. One of the online box scores I keep open each game is Yahoo's and it still says that Jed Lowrie "homered to deep center" to begin the inning. He did not. Hamilton got in the way.

In one of the better catches of the season, and his second highlight-reel snag of the night, Hamilton runs full bore and leaps into the wall in center to take an extra-base hit from Lowrie.

The ball may have stayed in the park if Hamilton missed it. Still, a fantastic grab. He has also singled and homered. Can you say MVP?

Scott Feldman is done with two outs and two on in the sixth. Sox threatening for some more with David Ortiz at the dish against Darren Oliver.

End 5th, Red Sox 8-6: Plain and simple, Josh Beckett is a very hittable pitcher right now. Two more home runs and a triple give the Rangers 10 hits in this one. Beckett gave up 11 against the Yankees in his previous start.

Entering this start, Beckett had surrendered 10.3 hits per nine innings, 1.4 hits more than his previous career high. That number is skyrocketing against Texas, which has cut a six-run lead down to two in a heartbeat.

Dustin Richardson and Scott Atchison were up and warming for Boston. Beckett has thrown 94 pitches, which just about matches the temperature.

Mid 5th, Red Sox 8-4: We have a rare 1-2-3 inning as the Sox go quietly against Scott Feldman in the fifth. Josh Beckett trots back out there having thrown 71 pitches and getting very little rest between innings.

End 4th, Red Sox 8-4: This has all the makings of a 15-11 game, doesn't it? Josh Beckett gives up one-third of the big lead when Mitch Moreland slugs his first major league home run with a man on second.

In addition to a rough start for Beckett, the Sox have lost Jacoby Ellsbury for unknown reasons and just saw Victor Martinez cracked in the helmet by Andres Blanco's backswing.

This is one of those nights where you certainly do not envy catchers. It's hot and balls are flying out of the park. And in Martinez's case, you're taking maple (or ash) sticks to the skull.

9:30 p.m.: Eric Patterson has replaced Jacoby Ellsbury in center. We will report the reason why when we hear.

Mid 4th, Red Sox 8-2: A seven-run inning starts with a bang, or three of them, as the Red Sox hit three straight homers for the first time in over three years. There was plenty more to come. With the help of a Texas error and David Ortiz hustling to beat out a double play attempt, Boston matches its biggest inning of the season. Eleven men hit.

Here is the progression:

Home run, home run, home run, walk, single, flyout, error, single, single, RBI groundout, flyout.

Marco Scutaro picked a great time to end his hitless streak. He was 0-for-22 before an RBI single in the middle of that whole mess.

9:08 p.m.: David Ortiz, Adrian Beltre and J.D. Drew have just hit consecutive solo home runs. The last two were absolute bombs. Red Sox up 4-2 and Tommy Hunter's night has come to a very quick end.

Scott Feldman is on in relief. We will double check but I believe the last time the Sox have done this was when they hit four straight against the Yanks back in 2007.

End 3rd, Rangers 2-1: With the heat being what it is and with Josh Beckett struggling a bit in the first two innings he sure could've used a quick inning. He gets it, and does so against the heart of the order.

Beckett, who threw 37 pitches through two innings, needed just 11 to retire Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz.

Mid 3rd, Rangers 2-1: Jed Lowrie's playing time figures to be reduced dramatically once Dustin Pedroia returns. His bat could be missed.

Lowrie is now hitting .327 (16-for-49) and half of his hits have gone for extra bases, including home runs the past two days.

He takes Tommy Hunter deep to get the Red Sox on the board in the third.

End 2nd, Rangers 2-0: Location, location, location. What's true in real estate is true in the craft of pitching. For Josh Beckett of late it's been pretty spotty.

Beckett grooved a couple more in the second, including a fastball right down the pipe that Elvis Andrus poked into center for an RBI single.

After his poor outing in New York on Sunday, Beckett said he continually got too much of the plate. He gave up a season-high 11 hits in that one and has surrendered five already in Texas.

Mid 2nd, Rangers 1-0: The Red Sox try to match the Rangers with some two-out magic but a bid for extra bases by Ryan Kalish is tracked down at the wall. J.D. Drew and Mike Lowell had singled before Kalish sent one deep to left that was caught by former Sox outfielder David Murphy.

End 1st, Rangers 1-0: Many eyes on Josh Beckett to see how he will recover from the dismal start in Yankee Stadium the other day. So far, not very well. After getting two quick outs he gives up three straight singles and a walk. Beckett does get Bengie Molina swinging to strand three.

One of the singles, the one which scored the run, went off Beckett's right foot. Another was a bloop in front of J.D. Drew. His line might look a bit worse than he actually pitched.

We know there is plenty of buzz surrounding the loss in Toronto on Thursday. It has to be classified as one of the worst this season, no doubt.

But the Red Sox have made a season of putting bad losses behind them in a hurry. We looked at Boston's resiliency a couple of weeks ago.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Just seconds into this one we see Jacoby Ellsbury rolling around in the dirt behind first base. Relax, people. He is fine. He is also out on a strange play at first that sees starter Tommy Hunter race him to the bag before a little collision.

Hunter induced three straight grounders in a 10-pitch inning.

Here is the lineup that Josh Beckett is about to face:

Elvis Andrus, SS
Michael Young, 3B
Josh Hamilton, CF
Vladimir Guerrero, DH
Nelson Cruz, RF
David Murphy, LF
Bengie Molina, C
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Andres Blanco, 2B

7:53 p.m.: The word from Boston is that Dustin Pedroia was given medical clearance to begin his minor league rehab assignment. It was the last hurdle before penciling him into the lineup for Tuesday at Fenway Park.

The plan is for Pedroia to play second base for the PawSox on Saturday and then DH on Sunday. Monday will be an off day and then Tuesday against Los Angeles at Fenway should feature your All-Star second baseman batting second.

"Needless to say he was very excited," manager Terry Francona told reporters in Texas. "I just got a text that said 'I'm back.'"

6:43 p.m.:Hopefully Josh Beckett will be in his element. It's roughly 100 degrees in the Arlington area but should plummet to the low-90s as the game progresses. That ought to feel nice.

Beckett has enjoyed his time back home. He has allowed just five runs in 20 innings here, including a remarkable 19-to-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

But much of that was against some inferior Rangers teams. This is a different unit.

Although it came in Fenway Park earlier this year, the Rangers had scored four runs on three hits and four walks in the first two innings against Beckett. He settled down a bit thereafter but was done in by a mammoth three-run homer by Josh Hamilton in the seventh.

Seven runs on seven hits and five walks in seven innings. There have been several grinding starts for Beckett this year. That was one of them.

5:32 p.m.: Marco Scutaro is back in the lineup and batting second behind Jacoby Ellsbury for Friday night's opener in Texas. Here is the rest of the Red Sox' lineup:

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
J.D. Drew, RF
Mike Lowell, 1B
Ryan Kalish, LF
Jed Lowrie, 2B

Scutaro was given a rare day off in Toronto on Thursday. He has gone hitless in 20 at-bats. Hopefully that one day will get him going a bit.

Back in a bit with all your pregame news and notes.

8 a.m.: The Red Sox left New York the other day feeling great about themselves. Despite taking two of three from the Blue Jays, they left Toronto feeling sick to their stomachs.

Now 4-3 through the first two stops of a 10-game road trip, the Sox head to scorching-hot Texas for three against the first-place Rangers.

Boston blew a chance for a three-game sweep of the Jays when John Lackey and Jonathan Papelbon combined to give up four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-5 loss Thursday afternoon. It was the sixth blown save for Papelbon and his fifth since June 23.

The crushing setback dropped the Sox five games in the loss column behind Tampa Bay in the race for the wild card.

Texas is coming off a similar loss to New York on Wednesday night in which it blew a five-run lead. Still, the Rangers lead the AL West by 7 1/2 games and have won four of their last five meetings with the Red Sox.

Josh Beckett opposes Tommy Hunter in the series opener. First pitch is 8:05 p.m.

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