Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Fall to Brewers 4-2 at Fenway


June 18, 2011

Red Sox Live Blog: Sox Fall to Brewers 4-2 at Fenway

Postgame, Brewers 4-2: It was the largest paid attendance of the season at Fenway Park, and they came to cap off an incredible sports day for the city.

Unfortunately, it was somewhat of a dud. The Red Sox lost for just the second time in 14 games, for just the second time in their last 13 against Milwaukee and for the first time in 12 games against lefties this year.

Look for more on the site in regards to Carl Crawford's injury and the outing by Randy Wolf, which was pretty darn good considering how solid this Red Sox offense has been.

Boston will be facing a pretty tough righty on Sunday in a Father's Day matinee. Yovani Gallardo opposes Tim Wakefield, who will be making another bid at career win No. 197.

Final, Brewers 4-2: John Axford made quick work of the Sox in the ninth, not allowing them to get any sort of rally going.

Marco Scutaro chopped one off the plate to Casey McGehee at third for the inning's first out.

Axford struck out Saltalamacchia swinging on three pitches for out No. 2. Drew Sutton pinch hit for Mike Cameron, but he grounded out up the middle for the game's final out.

The save marks Axford's 19th of the season. Randy Wolf picks up the win after going seven strong innings. The win is his fifth of the season.

Jon Lester takes the loss, his third of the season. It's only the second loss in 14 games for the Sox, who will look to bounce back in the series finale. The two teams will reconvene for a rubber match on Sunday at 1:35.

Mid 9th, Brewers 4-2: The Sox used three pitchers in the ninth.

Dan Wheeler began the inning on the mound and got Yuniesky Betancourt to fly out to Drew in right to begin things. Josh Wilson then followed up with a wall-ball double on a curveball from Wheeler.

Francona then elected to go with Tommy Hottovy to face pinch-hitter Nyjer Morgan. Batting for Carlos Gomez, Morgan grounded out to first, which advanced Wilson to third base.

The two teams both went to their benches for the next at-bat as well. Jonathan Lucroy batted for George Kottaras, who hit a home run back in the third inning, and Michael Bowden came on for the Sox.

Lucroy and Bowden battled for eight pitches before Lucroy popped out to Adrian Gonzalez at first to end the inning.

Marco Scutaro, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Mike Cameron are due up for the Sox in the ninth. There have been some fireworks going off around Fenway, and the Sox hope they can come up with some fireworks of their own to keep this game going. 

End 8th, Brewers 4-2: Fenway Park seemed relatively quiet with the Brewers in control, but the fans came alive briefly in the eigth following an error by Prince Fielder that allowed Youkilis to reach. The big first baseman then made up for it, though, by initiating a double play to end the threat.

After Ortiz grounded into the 3-6-3 double play, J.D. Drew, pinch-hitting for Darnell McDonald, grounded back to the pitcher, Kameron Loe.

Drew will stay in the game as the right fielder, and Mike Cameron will shift over to left. Dan Wheeler will take over on the mound in the ninth to try and keep it a two-run game.  

Mid 8th, Brewers 4-2: It'll be tough to live up to that introduction, but I'll certainly try.

The always-dangerous Ryan Braun struck out looking to begin the frame. Lester dropped in a breaking ball for a called strike, which drew an angry reaction from Braun. He thought the pitch was high, but home-plate umpire Phil Cuzzi said otherwise.

Lester then proceeded to retire Prince Fielder looking as well. This time, the K came on a 94-mph fastball.

The lefty came within one strike out striking out the side, but Casey McGehee was able to put some wood on the ball and grounded out to Marco Scutaro at short.

The Sox will send up Kevin Youkilis, David Ortiz and Darnell McDonald in the bottom of the eighth.

End 7th, Brewers 4-2: It was danger time for Randy Wolf in the seventh. Dustin Pedroia singled with two outs and Wolf was in a 3-1 count to Adrian Gonzalez.

On his 111th and likely final pitch of the night, Wolf got Gonzalez to ground to second. Great outing by him against an offense that has been rolling.

I'm going to pass you off now to the unstoppable Ricky Doyle.  See you back here for postgame.

Mid 7th, Brewers 4-2: A six-pitch inning (with a double, no less) for Jon Lester sets him up to start the eighth without an inning. His pitch count is 97.

Randy Wolf is at 93 starting his half of the seventh.

End 6th, Brewers 4-2: It is Marco Scutaro and nobody else for the past few innings.

Scutaro doubled in the fourth, after which Randy Wold retired eight in a row. With two outs in the sixth, Scutaro singled.

A Jarrod Saltalamacchia liner to left stranded the runner. Boston has left six on.

Mid 6th, Brewers 4-2: A leadoff single by Prince Fielder is nullified by a strikeout, a pop to second and a smash to third that Kevin Youkilis handles with his usual flop into the dirt. Guy never goes home clean, and you love him for it.

Jon Lester has set down eight of the last 10 hitters. His pitch count is at 91.

Remember, still no Jonathan Papelbon tonight, so the desire to get Lester through seven and maybe even more is a bit stronger.

End 5th, Brewers 4-2: A long way to go in this one, but you have to think that some of the Red Sox' domination trends have to come to an end at some point, right?

They have won six in a row against the Brewers, 11 in a row against left-handers, four straight at Fenway Park and 12 of 13 overall.

The way Randy Wolf is throwing, Milwaukee has its best chance right here. He is through five having thrown 81 pitches and has retired six in a row.

Mid 5th, Brewers 4-2: Jarrod Saltalamacchia has now thrown out 24 percent (13-of-54) would-be base stealers after nailing Corey Hart for the second out of the fifth.

Folks, that number was much lower earlier in the year, and many of the successful attempts by opponents came when Salty's throws would sail into center, or dive into the dirt. He has come a long way.

End 4th, Brewers 4-2: A leadoff double by Marco Scutaro goes nowhere for the Red Sox in the fourth.

Randy Wolf can be difficult to time. His fastball comes in, often placed very well, as high as 92, and his curveball is as low as 67. When both are working, it's like riding a see-saw.

The Sox have seven hits, so the location hasn't been great. But he's doing enough to limit the damage so far.

Mid 4th, Brewers 4-2: Five of the last eight outs for Jon Lester have been strikeouts. Unfortunately, there was also a home run, two walks and an RBI single mixed in.

He has his second 1-2-3 inning in the fourth. George Kottaras, who had that home run, lined out to left to end it after Lester started the frame with his fourth and fifth punchouts.

End 3rd, Brewers 4-2: The Brewers are being very shifty tonight. They have the bulk of the infield moved to the left against Kevin Youkilis and are doing the normal routine against David Ortiz. Mike Cameron faced a shift as well.

Both guys found holes in the third. Youkilis got one up the middle past the dive of second baseman Josh Wilson, who was on the shortstop side at the time. Ortiz lined one over Wilson's head when he was playing shallow right field.

Darnell McDonald was a strikeout victim to end it.

Mid 3rd, Brewers 4-2: George Kottaras had one home run in parts of two years with the Red Sox. He also caught Jon Lester once.

Kottaras now has one home run against the Red Sox, and it comes off Lester, who grooved a fastball right down the middle and watched Kottaras deposit it into the seats beyond the bullpen.

Of the career high-tying three home runs allowed by Lester, all have been on fat fastballs, and the last two by Corey Hart and Kottaras were crushed.

Lester also walked both Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder with two outs and then lost a long battle with Casey McGehee, who singled in a run. At one point, a struggling Lester threw 11 of 12 pitches for balls.

After a solid, if not spectacular, start at New York on June 7, Lester said it was about as good as he has felt in a long time. He followed that up with a dominant outing in Toronto, so the thought was that he could get on one of his trademark rolls. Not to be so far tonight.

End 2nd, 2-2: This offense is beginning to take on the same sort of feel that the ones in 2003 and 2004 had, when the attack was just relentless.

Every time you think you're out of the woods, you're not. The bottom of the second is an excellent example of this.

Kevin Youkilis led off with a drive off the Green Monster that missed being a home run by inches. David Ortiz followed with a walk.

Randy Wolf got Darnell McDonald to line to third and then struck out Marco Sctuaro, which put the lefty on the doorstep to getting out of the mess.

But Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit the next pitch into center field to score Youkilis, and Mike Cameron knocked a base hit into right to score Ortiz. The Nos. 8 and 9 hitters do the damage for the Red Sox.

Mid 2nd, Brewers 2-0: Moments after throwing a curveball about 53 feet (no joke, you can see where it landed and it is barely onto the dirt), Jon Lester strikes out Carlos Gomez.

It is Lester's second straight K in a 1-2-3 inning. Perhaps those first five pitches or so will just be an aberration. Then again, the Brewers lineup is extremely top-heavy, so beware of what could happen the next inning.

End 1st, Brewers 2-0: A leadoff single by Jacoby Ellsbury made this game feel very much like last night, when the Red Sox answered a Milwaukee two-spot with two of their own.

But Randy Wolf strikes out Dustin Pedroia and gets Adrian Gonzalez to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. Great stop by Yuniesky Betancourt to start it.

Only two players in baseball have hit into more DPs than Gonzalez's 15.

Mid 1st, Brewers 2-0: Let's do this one pitch by pitch.

Jon Lester's first of the night was a ball. His second was a foul pop that was uncharacteristically dropped by Adrian Gonzalez near the Red Sox on-deck circle.

The third was hit into the Monster seats for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead. The fourth was hit over the Red Sox bullpen by Corey Hart for a 2-0 Milwaukee lead. The fifth was hammered down the line in left for a double by Ryan Braun.

OK, take a deep breath.

That's what Lester did, getting Prince Fielder to fly to left and then escaping when a Casey McGehee smash was caught at third by Kevin Youkilis, who threw to second to double up Braun.

It was a double play in a difficult inning that helped turn around John Lackey's start last night. Perhaps Lester can shake off whatever was bothering him and use this DP to gather some momentum.

Lester's first-inning ERA is now 6.00. The Weeks solo shot is actually an unearned run because Gonzalez gets charged with an error.

7:11 p.m.: Jon Lester's first pitch to Rickie Weeks is ball. It's a wonderful 77 degrees here at the park.

6:45 p.m.: There is just about as much black and gold as there is red, white and blue in the crowd tonight. The Bruins shirts may outnumber those of the Sox on Sunday when the Stanley Cup champs come to Fenway.

For those of you attending, get in your seats early. The ceremony will come before the game, obviously, but I'm not sure exactly when or for how long it will last.

Who throws out the first pitch? My guess is Claude, but it's just a hunch.

6:08 p.m.: A few other pregame notes to pass on.

Bobby Jenks threw 45 times on flat ground today, a very small step forward in his recovery from a back injury. It does not appear as if Jenks will be anywhere close to ready when he is eligible to come off the disabled list next Thursday.

"Flat ground, positive day," Terry Francona said. "It?s 45 throws, not long toss or anything like that, but the volume increased a little bit."

The Jed Lowrie situation remains up in the air until Dr. Lewis Yocum gets his hands on the MRI, which likely won't come until the beginning of next week. Lowrie indicated last night that he is unsure if he will be going to see Yocum himself. The general feel is that Lowrie will be out for a long period of time, but hopefully that won't be the case.

Francona was also asked about Ryan Kalish. With Crawford out, the outfield depth gets a bit leaner, so thoughts turn to guys like Kalish, who has been out for some time with a shoulder injury. Francona said that Kalish, who was rumored to be headed to Lowell once the short season scheduled began, has been held back, but not because of the shoulder.

If there is another physical issue there, we do not know yet. Francona said he would get back to us on that with the appropriate medical news. Stay tuned on that front, and hope that this year does not end up being a wash for Kalish.

5:01 p.m.: Since he has never faced the Brewers, Jon Lester will be facing several of them for the first time. Here is the Milwaukee lineup, followed by a few interesting tidbits:

Rickie Weeks, DH
Corey Hart, RF
Ryan Braun, LF
Prince Fielder, 1B
Casey McGehee, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Josh Wilson, 2B
Carlos Gomez, CF
George Kottaras, C

Only three of the nine have ever faced Lester, and they are in a row. Betancourt is a surprising 4-for-10 with a home run, a double, three walks and three RBIs against Lester, good for a 1.338 OPS. Wilson and Gomez, on the other hand, are a combined 1-for-18 with six strikeouts.

And you might remember the last name on that list. Kottaras was with the Red Sox for a few years after being the "Player to be Named Later" in the David Wells trade in 2006. He actually caught Lester one time, and it worked out very well. Lester allowed just four hits and struck out nine in seven scoreless innings with Kottaras behind the plate.

4:41 p.m.: We just heard from Terry Francona, who confirmed what was obvious once we saw Josh Reddick taking batting practice. Carl Crawford has been placed on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain.

Francona said that the medical staff determined that Crawford would need 10-14 days to recover from the injury, so the decision to DL him was an easy one.

The club will use Darnell McDonald, Mike Cameron, Reddick and even Drew Sutton to fill the gap in the outfield. Expect McDonald to get the bulk of the starting duties with Cameron remaining in a time share with J.D. Drew in right and Reddick serving as the fourth outfielder. Sutton, who is more familiar with left than right in his limited outfield duty, would be the last on the list.

There is never a good time for something like this to happen, but the fact that McDonald returned earlier this week after a torrid stretch of rehab games at Pawtucket helps. He wasn't getting any playing time early in the year, but was able to get in a nice groove with the PawSox and may be able to carry that over into a rather regular role for the next two or three weeks.

Consider that McDonald hit .261 with eight home runs, 26 RBIs, eight stolen bases and 33 runs scored in 80 games as a starter last year. Crawford, in 67 starts this year, is at .243 with six home runs, 31 RBIs eight stolen bases and 33 runs scored. Very, very similar production. No knock on Crawford, who is a better player than his numbers have shown, but the Sox may not miss a beat.

3:25 p.m.: A great note from the Red Sox PR team. Jon Lester, who is bidding to become the majors' first 10-game winner, would become the first Red Sox lefthander with 10 ore more wins in the team's first 70 games since 1949.

As Drew Sutton takes grounders at shortstop and the Brewers play catch in left field, the grounds crew is standing by. A few storm cells are in the region and we just heard some rumbling up above.

3:04 p.m.: Greetings from Fenway Park, where we are getting ready for what is definitively the second show in town today.

If you made it to the Bruins parade or watched coverage of it on NESN (where else?), then you know what I'm talking about. If you are walking around Fenway Park right now, you know what I'm talking about.

It's like the Winter Classic in terms of Bruins regalia, T-shirts and jerseys around the park, only there are no mittens and flasks filled with whiskey. It's truly a Black and Gold kinda town.

However, in a few hours, the focus will be on the Red Sox and the Brewers and we can start turning our attention to baseball, fittingly just days before summer officially begins.

Following is the Sox lineup without Carl Crawford. Josh Reddick is taking batting practice as I type this. Perhaps a move is coming on that end of things.

Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Darnell McDonald, LF
Marco Scutaro, SS
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Mike Cameron, RF

8 a.m.: It will be a matchup of left-handers Saturday night at Fenway Park, where Jon Lester will take the mound for the Red Sox against Milwaukee Brewers southpaw Randy Wolf.

Lester will be attempting to become the first 10-game winner in the American League. He is coming off a dominant effort at Toronto, whom he held to a run on two hits in eight innings.

The Boston offense gave Lester loads of support in that game, which resulted in a 14-1 final. It gave John Lackey 10 more runs in Friday?s series opener against the Brewers. It will be up to Wolf to try to slow down a dominant lineup that has helped propel the club to 12 wins in its last 13 games and 25 in its last 32.

Wolf is 2-1 with a 2.73 ERA in five career starts against Boston. He has held five of his last six opponents to two runs or less.

The game was originally scheduled to begin at 1:10 p.m., but first pitch has been moved to 7:10 to accommodate the Bruins parade earlier in the day. The Stanley Cup champions will be honored Sunday at Fenway before the series finale.

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