BOSTON -- Alfredo Aceves entered the ninth inning with a 3-2 lead on Sunday at Fenway Park. He also entered with 11 saves on the season.
Sean Rodriguez prevented him from picking up his 12th, thanks to a two-run home run in the top of the ninth that prevented the Red Sox from climbing above .500 for the first time this season, and spoiled a solid seven-inning outing from Clay Buchholz and a heroic three-run home run from Adrian Gonzalez.
After Aceves walked the leadoff batter in Ben Zobrist, he got Luke Scott to pop out. But then Rodriguez ripped a 3-1 fastball over the monster seats that put Tampa Bay up 4-3.
Aceves refused to talk to the media afterwards.
"He just got behind on Zobrist and walked him, a pretty close pitch," said Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine after the loss. "And obviously he got behind on Rodriguez and threw him a fastball, and he hit it over the fence.
"His control's been pinpoint. Some pitches were just a little off, I guess."
Aceves picked up his second loss of the season, and snapped a streak of nine straight successful conversions. it marked his third blown save in 15 chances this season.
"The guys been automatic for us," said Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia after the loss. "So I definitely didnt expect it, but I dont expect it to linger on anything else other than they just hit a good pitch out, just like we did the night before."
Never say never?
While Red Sox officials said at the team's annual Winter Weekend at Foxwoods on Saturday that they'd be traveling to the Dominican Republic to talk to David Ortiz about a role with the team, Pedro Martinez told WEEI he sees Big Papi returning to his old role - designated hitter - this season.
CSN's Trenni Kusnierek and WEEI's John Tomase talked to Martinez on their show Saturday at Foxwoods and Martinez said his old teammate would be making a comeback despite the long, emotional farewell tour last season.
For the full interview with Martinez, click here.
Red Sox executives Tom Werner, Sam Kennedy and Dave Dombrowski made no mention of Ortiz returning as a player when talking about their Dominican trip. Ortiz has repeatedly said he is going to stay retired.
MASHANTUCKET, Conn. -- While there’s a deal of anticipation going into Spring training with the four Killer B’s, David Price and Pablo Sandoval’s shot at redemption and Rick Porcello looking to be something similar to his 2016 self, there’s one name that trumps them all.
The lankly lefty received an ovation from fans at the Friday night Town Hall, kicking off Red Sox Winter Weekend. With his consistent success, there’s reason to be excited.
But there’s also reason for apprehension given the way Sale’s departure from Chicago was depicted. But he’s made sure to clear the air.
“I wouldn’t say . . . ya know . . . I loved my time in Chicago,” Sale said when asked if it was time to leave the Windy City. “My best baseball memories are there [and] will be there forever. I love the city; I love the people in the organization.
“It was time for both sides to do something different, I guess. I talked to (White Sox Senior V.P.) Rick on the phone, I talked to (White Sox pitching coach Don) Coop (Cooper). We’re all cool, it’s fine. We understand where both of us are, it happens in baseball, but I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Chicago.”
He didn’t seem irritated discussing the issue, and certainly wasn’t timid -- we all know that’s not in his DNA.
He genuinely seems excited to deal with the large sum of Sox fans and to call a new place home -- in a city his wife’s fond of no less.
But ultimately, he’s focused on winning, nothing else.
“Every time I’m out there it’s gonna be all I got,” Sale said. "Every time, no matter what. Can promise you that.”