Sox bullpen in the middle of team's first loss

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Sox bullpen in the middle of team's first loss

DETROIT -- After all the upheaval in the Red Sox bullpen over the last week, it was almost inevitable that the club's relievers would play a role -- one way or another -- in Boston's season opener against the Tigers.

Sure enough, they did. And not in a way the Sox would have liked.

Following Jon Lester's seven-inning outing in which he allowed just one run, the bullpen figured in a big way to the 3-2 walkoff loss to Detroit.

The combination of Vicente Padilla and Franklin Morales resulted in a run in the eighth before Mark Melancon and newly-minted closer Alfredo Aceves combined to allow the winning run in the bottom of the ninth.

Padilla allowed a leadoff triple to Austin Jackson in the eighth, and after a groundout, walked Miguel Cabrera intentionally. With Prince Fielder due next, Bobby Valentine went to the lefthanded Morales, who got Fielder to hit a weak fly ball to shallow center.

Ellsbury charged the ball, but his throw hit the mound and caromed off line as Jackson scored, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.

After the Sox had rallied off closer Jose Valverde to score twice and tie the game, Valentine went with Melancon, who quickly gave up back-to-back one-out singles, putting the potential winning run in scoring position.

"It was a tie game on the road,'' explained Valentine. "So Melancon's was going to get the inning out and as soon as it got to be a jeopardy situation, I wanted to try and close the door with the last guy who's going to be the closer.''

Melancon was asked if he had been given a quick hook by his manager.

"Yeah, a little bit,'' he said. "But (second-guessing the manager) isn't my job. My job is to get outs.''

That became Aceves's job, too, thought Valentine conceded that he thought about allowing Aceves to start the inning fresh.

"But with the righthanders coming up,'' Valentine said, "I didn't think there was any reason Mark couldn't start that inning.''

Valentine conceded, however, that bringing in his closer (Aceves) into a tie game on the road was "not very'' customary.

"Same approach all the time,'' offered Aceves. "I'm trying to get the hitters out. It doesn't matter if its the ninth or the eighth... The manager has to make his own decision and we have to be out there ready to help. That's the way I think.''

Aceves inherited a first-and-second jam with one out, then made matters worse when a tailing breaking ball caught Ramon Santiago's foot, loading the bases.

That brought Jackson to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Valentine moved the infield in, but Jackson was able to slap a single just past the reach of third baseman Nick Punto.

"I wanted to get ahead (in the count),'' said Aceves, "which I did, and get a ground ball. Make him make contract and put the ball in play and see what happens.''

What happened was a game-winning, walkoff single, and the Red Sox bullpen, in the middle of the news for the last week, was in the middle of the team's first loss of the season.

Brown apologizes for 'distraction' caused by Facebook Live video

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Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown posted an apology on social media Tuesday night for his Facebook Live video that has caused a stir over the last few days.

"I let my emotions and genuine excitement get the best of me, and I wanted to share that moment with our fans," said Brown in a statement on his Twitter. ""It was wrong of me to do, against team and NFL policy, and I have apologized to Coach Tomlin and my teammates for my actions.

"I'm sorry to them for letting it become a distraction and something that they've had to answer questions about while we're preparing for a big game on Sunday."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said on Tuesday that he has “absolutely no worries on the video's effect" on Sunday's game against the Patriots, but it was "selfish and inconsiderate" of his star wide receiver.

Brown could still be fined for violating the league's social-media policy. The policy states that players, coaches and football operations personnel are banned from using social media on game days 90 minutes before kickoff, during games, and before "traditional media interviews."

Koppen: Antonio Brown should know locker room isn’t time for Facebook posts

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Former NFL player Dan Koppen says the team locker room after a win is a sacred place and that Steelers WR Antonio Brown should know not to be posting on Facebook.