Third inning proves fatal in loss to Angels

Third inning proves fatal in loss to Angels
August 24, 2012, 6:08 am
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BOSTON Early in the game, it appeared the Red Sox had shaken off the lethargy and poor play that had become all too common, jumping out to a six-run lead against the Angels. Instead that lead quickly turned into a two-run deficit as the Sox staggered through what was arguably their worst defensive inning of the season.Left-hander Franklin Morales started the game. He faced eight batters over the first two innings, holding the Angels scoreless on 32 pitches. But despite the 6-0 lead his offense provided him after two innings, Morales couldnt get through the third.He faced eight batters in the third, recording just two outs. Right-hander Clayton Mortensen replaced him, and, facing four batters could not get anyone out. With eight runs in. right-hander Junichi Tazawa replaced Mortensen, needing just one pitch to end the inning.In all, the Angels sent 13 batters to the plate, with eight scoring. It tied the most runs the Sox have allowed in an inning this season. The Angels had six hits (one shy of season high hits allowed by the Sox), three walks, while another batter reached on an error. Six of the runs were unearned, the most allowed in an inning by the Sox since giving up eight in the eighth inning on July 14, 2006, against the As.It was one of those things where we scored six and they came back and we didn't really help our guys out, said Dustin Pedroia, who had a season-high four hits and five RBI, and matched a season-high with three runs scored. But it was a wild game.That it was. And the third inning was the wildest. The eight runs were the most the Angels have scored in one inning against the Red Sox since nine in the first inning on July 18, 1994.Angels No. 9 batter Chris Iannetta led off the inning with a single to right. Mike Trout grounded into a force out, erasing Iannetta. Torii Hunter singled to right, sending Trout to second. With Howie Kendrick batting, Trout stole third. Kendrick singled to center, scoring Trout, sending Hunter to second. After Mike Trumbo struck out, swinging at a 97-mph fastball from Morales, Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales walked, scoring Hunter. Erick Aybar reached on an error by third baseman Pedro Ciriaco, allowing Kendrick to score and Callaspo to go to third. That also ended Morales outing.But the Angels were not done. Mortensen entered, giving up a walk to Vernon Wells, scoring Callaspo. Iannetta singled to left, driving in two runs with his second hit of the inning. Trout singled, driving in Wells and sending Iannetta to third. Hunter singled to right, scoring Iannetta, and driving Mortensen from the game.Tazawa entered, getting Kendrick to ground out to Dustin Pedroia to end the inning.While the Sox would battle back to tie the score or reclaim the lead several times, this inning appeared to emotionally deflate them."We didn't play as well as we could that inning, said manager Bobby Valentine. There's some plays that could have been made. And they wound up with eight runs.
"There's no quit in this team, though. I was real proud of the guys. That last couple innings, we didn't hold them, and that's my fault. They did great. They did a great job."Morales threw 63 pitches in all, 35 for strikes. He threw 31 facing eight batters in the third. It was the second-shortest start of his career, after going just two innings on April 21, 2009, at Arizona while with Colorado. The six runs allowed match his season high.Even though it appeared he had gotten the third out of the inning until it went for an error Valentine opted to take the left-hander out of the game at that point."Well he had plenty of pitches left, he just wasn't throwing them over, Valentine said. The first two innings, he had a real good split, and then the third inning, he didn't have the split. He was trying to get it back, and when he didn't do it, he was overthrowing his fastball.
"And he got a ground ball to third base in a 6-2 game, that could have been the third out, too."Instead it went for an error, extending the inning for five more batters and six more runs.
When you get six runs you never want to get complacent, said Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who was watching from the dugout at that point in the game as Ryan Lavarnway got the start. You want to just step on peoples necks and continue to go. I think thats what guys were trying to do. They just strung some hits together. But its tough to watch, especially when your pitchers out there battling, competing. But it was obviously going to be one of those nights regardless of who was in the game because their guys were giving it up too.Still, the Sox sensed they could pull out a win.Yeah, absolutely, said Pedroia. It was a crazy night and you feel like whoever is hitting last is going to win, one of those things. So I had confidence in our team until we lost. You have to feel that way.