Routine win turned into excruciating loss

Routine win turned into excruciating loss
July 7, 2013, 10:00 am
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It seemed like it was going to be a routine win. Instead, it turned out to be an excruciating loss.

Leading by four in the bottom of the ninth, the Red Sox first saw their lead disappear, then two innings later, the game, too, in a brutal 9-7 loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

"Tough ballgame to lose here tonight,'' said John Farrell in a significant understatement.

Until Saturday night, it had been more than a decade since the Red Sox had lost a four-run lead in the ninth. On July 23, 2002, the Sox led Tampa Bay, but ultimately lost 5-4.

The Sox had pulled away from the Angels in the middle innings and scored five unanswered runs to grab a 7-3 lead into the ninth.

But Alex Wilson, after retiring two of the first three batters he faced, gave up another single and a hit batsman to load the bases.

"I thought I made really good pitches,'' said Wilson. "They put a couple of good swings on the ball and then one got away from me and unfortunately, I hit (Mike) Trout to load the bases.''

Making it worse was that he had already recorded two outs before the inning unraveled.

"It's frustrating,'' he said. "I thought that was probably one of the best times I've thrown the ball all year. I made two really good pitches and give up a broken-bat single and a flair and then it just kind of took off from there.

"But at that point, it's my job to finish the game.''

Koji Uehara, who certainly didn't expect to be pitching in a game in which the Sox carried a four-run lead into the ninth, then gave up a two-run single to Albert Pujols and a run-scoring single to Josh Hamilton.

But even after all that, he seemed to be out of trouble when he got Howie Kendrick to hit a bouncer to third baseman Brandon Snyder with runners at the corners.

Snyder mysteriously hesitated as he fielded the chopper and took three or four steps toward second before uncorking a tenuous, high throw that sailed over the head of second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

"As I'm getting over there,'' recounted Snyder, "I'm trying to make the decision and I thought I was closer to the base and my first instinct was to think I could underhand it. When I looked up, I saw how far away I was and Josh was coming down and I didn't know if I was going to make it, so I kind of rushed and just never got a grip.

"It's one of those plays, that, I can promise you that there is not a worse feeling. Obviously, you play a game like this so hard and get a lead and it comes down to that. If I had that play 100 more times, I think I'd make it 99. It's just one of those things. It came down to making a play and it slipped. It's one of those things. That's a crappy part.''

Had Snyder's throw been on the mark, it's open to debate whether Hamilton would have beaten it. A better choice, perhaps, would have been to go to first and get Kendrick.

"He had a choice,'' said Farrell. "I think, in the moment, he didn't quite get his feet underneath him. I can't see that either decision is the wrong one; the footwork is what caused the throw to sail high.''

And with it, the lead, and eventually, the game.