Mortensen fails to finish in Red Sox loss

Mortensen fails to finish in Red Sox loss
August 8, 2012, 11:51 pm
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BOSTON -- Once again, Clayton Mortensen had Josh Beckett's back.
Mortensen saved the day back on July 31, when he took the ball from an injured Josh Beckett and turned in 2.2 scoreless innings to pick up the win over the Detroit Tigers. Mortensen came into a one-run game with bases loaded on that day. On Wednesday afternoon against the Texas Rangers, the story was a little different.
Beckett wasn't hurt. He just wasn't any good.
Mortensen relieved Beckett of his duties on Wednesday, after the Red Sox starter allowed his third home run of the game. It was a two-run shot by Geovany Soto, and it gave the Rangers an 8-5 lead.
As he did in Beckett's last start against the Tigers, Mortensen came in and ended the inning cleanly.
"He did an unbelievable job, unbelievable," said Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. "They've got a great lineup, and he gave us a chance and kept us in the game."
Mortensen -- who was called up before the game to replace the injured Vicente Padilla -- kept the Red Sox in the game. No question about it. But unlike the last time Mortensen saw action out of Boston's bullpen, he couldn't finish with a clean slate.
He went on to allow a two-out, solo home run to Nelson Cruz in the seventh, and then came the backbreaker.
With the game tied at 9-9, Mortensen walked the lead-off hitter -- Elvis Andrus -- in the top of the ninth. He then allowed a Josh Hamilton single that put runners at the corners with no outs.
That forced Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine to make the call to the bullpen, bringing in Alfredo Aceves.
But an Adrian Beltre sacrifice fly to center field scored Andrus easily from third to put Texas up 10-9. It ended up being the game-winning run.
"It's frustrating giving that pitch to Hamilton ... but I was more upset that I walked the lead-off hitter," said Mortensen after taking the loss.
Mortensen came out to start the ninth inning -- after already pitching three innings -- because of a short bullpen, according to Valentine after the loss.
"Everybody else was basically cut down today," said Valentine. "So I was going to try to squeeze, to see if we could get Clay to get Hamilton to swing at something out of the zone, which, he has those pitches, and Hamilton's an aggressive hitter. It didn't work.
"It was a very short bullpen today. And Mortensen did great job ... If Clay doesn't have what he gave us today, then it would have been a catastrophe. He did a great job."