OAKLAND -- Ahead 2-1 in the ninth inning and seemingly headed for a victory over the Oakland A's, the Red Sox badly fumbled the game away in every conceivable manner Tuesday night -- in the field, at the plate, on the bases and on the mound.
There was plenty of blame to go around in the aftermath of the Sox' 3-2 loss.
At the plate: With runners on first and second, third baseman Nick Punto, whom manager Bobby Valentine labeled "the best bunter on the team," failed to get a good sacrifice down.
Punto popped the bunt attempt up in the air, and Oakland first baseman Chris Carter, anticipating the bunt, came in, making a diving catch of the bunt.
Punto, unsure whether the bunt was caught, raced to first base, where teammate Mike Aviles, who had been on first, was doubled off.
"Nobody out, standard play . . . just got to get the bunt down," said Punto. "It was a simple execution play and I didn't get it down. That's what I do - simple fundamentals. Can't make those mistakes."
"We had first and second and no outs," lamented Bobby Valentine. "That's where the game was lost. You can't bunt into a double play there. It's that simple. We've got our best bunter on the team up and he's got to be able to bunt the guys over."
On the bases: After the bunt mishap, outfielder Ryan Kalish was on second and decided to try to steal third with two outs. He was gunned down and the Sox were out of the inning.
"It was an aggressive play," said Valentine. "They blocked the base on him. He had it stolen. He had it stolen, he just couldn't get in there. Good play on their part, bad play on ours.''
Asked if Kalish had gone on his own, Valentine said: "They didn't hold him. I wasn't expecting a steal. If I don't want him to go, I better hold him. It was an easy steal -- big leg kick (from pitcher Jerry Blevins), he just couldn't get by (third baseman Brandon Inge's) leg."
Said Kalish: "I thought I got a good jump. I think I was even safe. Sometimes that's just the way it goes. (Inge) had his leg in front of the bag so I think that's what (the umpire) saw."
In the field: With the potential tying-run on second, Brandon Moss singled to center. Kalish charged the ball, hoping to make a throw home, but in the process, over-ran it as Chris Carter scored and Cliff Pennington went from first to third.
From third, Pennington scored on Coco Crisp's sacrifice fly.
"I've got to play better defense," said Kalish, who misplayed a ball Monday night, too. "That's why I got called up. That's what I need to do the best and right now, I'm just not doing that."
Kalish admitted that he picked his head up as he charged the ball to see where Carter was and that proved costly.
"Yeah, for sure," said Kalish. "Between that and the ball out there kind of snakes a little bit. That was something the last few days of BP, you see. Like I said, I've got to play better 'D'. No excuses. That's something I've got to bring to the park every day."
On the mound: Alfredo Aceves had a 2-1 lead, but suffered his fourth blown save of the season and sixth loss.
He allowed two singles and a game-winning sacrifice fly.
As is his custom when pitching poorly, Aceves left the clubhouse with answering questions from reporters.