Jonathan Papelbon Steps Up, Takes Blame for Latest Red Sox Loss


Jonathan Papelbon Steps Up, Takes Blame for Latest Red Sox Loss BOSTON — For the bulk of a marvelous 2011 season, Jonathan Papelbon has shouldered the load for an inconsistent bullpen. After an extremely rare hiccup from the star closer Tuesday night, in a big spot no less, he stepped up and shouldered the blame.

"For me, this game's on me," said Papelbon after he gave up three runs in the top of the eighth inning in a 7-5 loss to Baltimore, resulting in his first blown save since May 13. "We were put in a situation where the team needed me. I didn't come through. I don't where hear anything tomorrow about [manager Terry Francona] bringing in guys early, the lineup not coming through, or anything else. This game is on me. My job when I'm called on is to go out there and finish the game. I didn't do that so this game's on me and I take full responsibility for that."

After Daniel Bard got four outs, Papelbon entered with two on and one out in the eighth, all part of Francona's mission to use the best he has to offer in order to lock up a critical win. After striking out Orioles third baseman Chris Davis on three pitches, Papelbon got ahead of Nolan Reimold 0-2. Fans at Fenway Park, keenly aware that the Tampa Bay Rays were on the verge of losing in New York, stood in anticipation of another big out for Papelbon.

Alas, it never came.

Reimold knocked the 0-2 offering into left field for a base hit that loaded the bases. Robert Andino, who battled Red Sox starter Erik Bedard for 13 pitches in a big at-bat back in the third, worked a 3-2 count against Papelbon before lacing a double into the right-field corner that scored all three runs.

Two of the runs were charged to Bard and one to Papelbon, who came in with a career high-tying 22-inning scoreless streak. He had also converted 25 straight save opportunities.

Papelbon knew he picked a bad time to end that streak.

"I take pride in the team leaning on me and tonight I wasn't able to get it done," he said. "Poor execution on my part. Like I said, we got to come back tomorrow, keep grinding it out. So I take full responsibility. You guys can write every headline you want about me not going out there and getting the job done because it's on me.

"The 0-2 pitch, 0-2 pitch to Reimold. Unacceptable. The way I've been throwing the ball I've got to go out there and execute. I didn't do that and by me not going out there and executing 0-2 pitches, I let my team down. So I'll shoulder that. I'll take full responsibility and I'll be ready to go tomorrow. That's it. It's plain and simple. This is the time of year, we can't think about tonight. We got to go out there tomorrow and keep grinding away. There's nothing we can do, except for the fact that I'm going to take this, put it on my shoulders and let everybody know, this is on me, nobody else."

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