Red Sox Live Blog: Eighth-Inning Collapse Sinks Sox, Orioles Win 4-3

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March 27, 2011

Red Sox Live Blog: Eighth-Inning Collapse Sinks Sox, Orioles Win 4-3

Final, 4-3 Orioles: The quiet bats came back to haunt the Red Sox, as the minor league 'pen was only able to hang on to that 3-1 lead for so long.

It was Santo Luis who takes the blown save and the loss after allowing five hits and three runs in the eighth inning.

The Red Sox have just two games left on their Florida schedule after Sunday, and this game was a reflection of that.

End 8th, 4-3 Orioles: As poorly as Luis pitched, Blake Maxwell cleaned up the mess with an impressive showing.

He struck out Brandon Waring, nearly induced a 4-6-4 double play (Xavier Avery beat out the throw to first) and got Manuel Machado to chop out to short to give the Sox a chance for a ninth-inning comeback.

Bottom 8th, 4-3 Orioles: The O's have their first lead of the game, thanks to a less-than-stellar outing from Santo Luis.

The big righty wasn't able to retire any of the five batters he faced, surrendering five well-struck singles.

Luis has been pulled from the game, with Blake Maxwell taking his spot with runners on first and second and nobody out.

Middle 8th, 3-1 Red Sox: The Sox finally got a hit, this one from Darnell McDonald, and they threatened to score with two on and one out.

But Kevin Gregg froze Nate Spears with strike three on the outside corner, and Ryan Lavernway flew out to end the inning.

The Sox have kept the O's off the board since the third inning, but they'll need six more outs to seal this one.

End 7th, 3-1 Red Sox: The Sox might not sell much Tommy Hottovy jerseys on Yawkey Way this summer, but it's outings like this that can make fans remember your name.

Hottovy entered with a runner on third and two outs. To add to his degree of difficulty, he walked Markakis and Lee to load the bases for Guerrero. He got ahead on Guerrero with an 0-2 count, and he induced a lazy fly to escape the jam.

In all, it's been an impressive afternoon for the bullpen, creating many james but escaping them inning after inning.

Middle 7th, 3-1 Red Sox: Koji Uehara sits down Ellsbury (0-for-4), Scutaro (2-for-4) and Drew (1-for-3) in order. It's seventh-inning stretch time, and the Sox don't have a hit since the fourth inning.

End 6th, 3-1 Red Sox: There's not much action in this one, but for the Red Sox, that's A-OK.

Jason Rice allowed a couple of hits but worked around any damage in the sixth.

Middle 6th, 3-1 Red Sox: There was a moment of nervousness in Red Sox Nation, but it appears to be nothing major.

David Ortiz took a Tillman pitch off his left shin, and the big man remained down in the dirt for a brief moment in pain. He got up, though, stayed in the game, and even did some dancing off second base, so he looks to be OK.

Meanwhile, Tillman's day was finished after a Hoover walk, and Alberto Castillo got Sutton to strike out swinging to end the inning.

End 5th, 3-1 Red Sox: Dennys Reyes showed he can pitch out of trouble just now, a good sign for his future with the Sox.

After a leadoff walk to Hardy and a Brian Roberts single, Reyes got Markakis to fly out to left and won a long battle with Lee, inducing a grounder to short. Scutaro handled it easily, stepping on the bag and throwing to first to get Reyes out of the jam unharmed.

Middle 5th, 3-1 Red Sox: Hey, look — Tillman's go this first 1-2-3 inning of the afternoon.

End 4th, 3-1 Red Sox: Albers had a little better showing in the fourth, but not by much. He allowed a leadoff single to Scott, but he got Jones to fly out before getting relieved by Daniel Turpin. He sat down Reynolds and Wieters in order to retire the side. 

Middle 4th, 3-1 Red Sox: The Sox continue to do damage with two outs.

This time, it came in the form of a single by Paul Hoover and triple down the right-field line by Drew Sutton, which allowed Hoover to score all the way from first.

End 3rd, 2-1 Red Sox: If that was Matt Albers' final case to make the squad, he's going to be upset.

The first two batters to face Albers in the third hit the ball hard, though only one made it through the infield for a hit. Albers then walked J.J. Hardy, allowed an RBI single to Nick Markakis and walked Derrek Lee. Vlad Guerrero ended the inning by swinging at a low, inside pitch, to leave the bases loaded.

Middle 3rd, 2-0 Red Sox: That right there is the beauty of J.D. Drew's swing.

The veteran lefty let a fastball away get a little deep on him before — seemingly without effort — he flicked the pitch over the left-field wall for his second homer of the spring. Scutaro had singled to center with two outs one at-bat earlier.

End 2nd, 0-0: Brandon Duckworth is doing some funny things to bats thus far.

He shattered Vlad Guerrero's bat on a grounder up the middle, and Luke Scott's grounder to second had some crazy spin on it on the next at-bat.

Whatever he's doing, it's working, as he struck out Adam Jones to end the inning.

Middle 2nd, 0-0: David Ortiz smoked the first pitch he saw through the left side, which was vacated due to the shift, but Darnell McDonald negated it by grounding into a 6-4-3 double play. Derrek Lee made a nice play to field Roberts' somewhat errant throw, an early sign of the improvements the veteran brings to Baltimore.

Paul Hoover lined a Tillman pitch right back to the mound, but Tillman knocked it down and threw Hoover out at first to end the frame.

End 1st, 0-0: Not that there's any question about Kevin Youkilis' comfort level, but he sure looked good at the start of this one.

He fielded a Nick Markakis grounder and retired Brian Roberts at second base for the first out of the inning, and he got another chance for the double play when Derrek Lee hit a hard chopper right at him. Youk turned to Drew Sutton, who easily turned the 5-4-3 double play.

Middle 1st, 0-0: Marco Scutaro is known for being a bit wily on the base paths, but he's usually successful. Not the case this time, though, as he misjudged a pitch in the dirt that sat at Matt Wieters' feet with one out. Scutaro broke late to second, and Weiters easily threw him out without even popping out of the squatting position.

J.D. Drew followed that up with a walk two pitches later, and Kevin Youkilis worked a 3-0 count before striking out swinging.

Scutaro, you'll remember, took second on a walk two years ago, and last year, he showed tremendous guts in tagging up at first on a flyout to center field. He would score the winning run moments later.

Top 1st, 0-0: The game is now under way, and in case you weren't aware, Jacoby Ellsbury has been crushing the ball all spring.

He's hitting .380 and has a .415 OBP to go with his three homers and eight RBIs in 17 games this spring.

And, right on cue, he strikes out looking to kick things off.

12:42 p.m.: The Buck Showalter questions were definitely coming, so Terry Francona had some time to prepare his answer.

"Just thought that was a little bit out of line," Francona told reporters in Sarasota, according to MLB.com. "I don't think he'd be appreciating if I said something about Andy [MacPhail], which I wouldn't. [It's] none of my business."

Francona went on to admit he was a bit upset upon hearing the comments.

"That's my boss," he said. "I was actually kind of aggravated a little bit. It's not the end of the world, but I thought he shouldn't have done it."

11 a.m.: With Jon Lester and Jason Varitek getting in some work in an intrasquad minor league game in Fort Myers for his final spring tune-up, the rest of the Red Sox travel to Sarasota to face Buck Showalter and the Orioles.

The O's skipper made some headlines last week for downplaying Theo Epstein's success, so consider Sunday's meeting the first of many where emotion may be a factor.

OK, so maybe not Sunday's meeting, which is the Red Sox' third-to-last spring training game before playing an exhibition game in Houston on Wednesday. The season officially begins on Friday. However, Showalter's lineup on Sunday is the real deal, while there are some noticeable stars missing from Boston's.

Here's a look at the starting lineups for both teams.

Red Sox

1. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
2. Marco Scutaro, SS
3. J.D. Drew, RF
4. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Darnell McDonald, LF
7. Nate Spears, 2B
8. Paul Hoover, C
9. Drew Sutton, 1B

Orioles

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Nick Markakis, RF
3. Derrek Lee, 1B
4. Vladimir Guerrero, DH
5. Luke Scott, LF
6. Adam Jones, CF
7. Mark Reynolds, 3B
8. Matt Wieters, C
9. J.J. Hardy, SS

On the mound, Brandon Duckworth will go for the Sox, while Chris Tillman gets the start for Baltimore.

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