Poor defense, lack of offense doom Sox

Poor defense, lack of offense doom Sox
May 8, 2013, 12:00 am

BOSTON – The  Red Sox paired sloppy defense with a lack of offense in their 6-1 loss to the Twins Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
 
The Sox, who were shutout until Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s lead-off home run in the ninth, mustered just four hits in the game. Their two walks both came in the ninth inning, with one being erased on a double play. They had no runners in scoring position in the game. After Stephen Drew’s lead-off single in the third inning, Twins starter Scott Diamond and reliever Josh Roenicke combined to retire the next 18 straight Sox batters before Saltalamacchia’s solo shot.
 
Combined with three errors in the game – all in the eighth inning when the Twins scored four runs – there was perhaps little doubt of the game’s outcome, wasting a solid effort by starter Ryan Dempster, who took the loss.
 
“A very good outing by Ryan Dempster,” said manager John Farrell. “Unfortunately nothing to show for it. And that’s not taking anything away from Diamond who lived on the edge, stayed away from the middle of the plate. Got a couple of fastball counts, located well. I don’t think we had a guy past first base. Other than that, a solid outing by Ryan Dempster.”

The Sox trailed by two runs going into the eighth. But the Twins scored four times in the inning, sending nine batters to the plate. The Sox committed three errors in the frame – two fielding miscues by Pedro Ciriaco at third base, and an errant throw by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. It was the most errors the Sox committed in one inning since also committing three in the eighth inning on May 21, 2011, against the Cubs.

Saltalamacchia entered the game in the fifth, replacing David Ross. Ciriaco entered in the seventh, replacing Will Middlebrooks. Ross and Middlebrooks were injured colliding as Middlebrooks fielded a Chris Parmelee foul in the fifth.

Brian Dozier and Jamey Carroll led off the eighth inning, reaching on back-to-back errors by Ciriaco, ending Dempster’s outing, with Craig Breslow entering.

“I just missed two balls,” Ciriaco said. “I've just got to be prepared and be ready and just make the play. I just missed those balls. That's it.
 
“I work every day and I feel like I'm a good player. I just missed those two balls. I've just got to be more ready and next time make those plays.”
 
“That was uncharacteristic of Pedro tonight,” Farrell said. “He’s shown to be a very capable defender. Two miscues are unlike him.”

Joe Mauer greeted Breslow with a double, scoring one run and a walk to Josh Willingham loaded the bases for Justin Morneau, who singled to score another run. Trevor Plouffe’s single drove in another run.

Ryan Doumit reached on a fielder’s choice, with Mike Napoli going for the force at home. When Saltalamacchia tried to complete the double play to Napoli, his throw was off the mark, scoring Morneau.  

A lengthy discussion between Farrell and home plate umpire Jeff Nelson ensued, Doumit appearing to run to the infield side of the runner’s chute down the first base line.

“Executed the out at home, and the return throw is low because he’s trying to avoid the runner,” Farrell said. “And dammit, he steps on Napoli’s foot, clearly indicating he's inside the basepath. The explanation to me . . . I’m still trying to figure out the explanation, I’ll leave it at that . . . but that 45-foot lane is there for a reason. He wasn’t in it. By the rules you’re out.”

But Farrell’s argument was fruitless.

It was the Sox’ fourth loss in their last five game. In that stretch they have scored just 11 runs, getting outscored by 18 runs.