In 9th, everything that could go wrong, did for Sox

In 9th, everything that could go wrong, did for Sox
May 24, 2014, 12:15 am
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For a team in free-fall, as the Red Sox surely are now with eight straight losses, sometimes all it takes is something to go right to turn things around.

Instead, in the ninth inning at Tropicana Field Friday night, everything that could go wrong, did, resulting in a particularly painful 1-0 walk-off loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

*Start with the top of the ninth, when the Red Sox got the lead runner, A.J. Pierzynski, on base with a leadoff single.

The Sox had Shane Victorino drop a bunt to attempt to move Pierzynski to second. But Rays third baseman Evan Longoria charged the ball perfectly and threw to second to cut down the slow-moving Pierzynski, who chose not to slide as the force out was recorded.

"I don't know why he didn't slide,'' said Farrell. "I think he assumed
the throw was going to beat him. I thought [Pierzynski] got a decent [jump], but unfortunately the throw beat him to second.''

"Longo's one of the best third basemen,'' said Pierzynski. "I'm not fast. I got the best jump I could. I was going as fast as I could. There was nothing I could do. He just made a nice throw. I was just trying to get there as fast as I could and I was like, 'If I slide, I actually think I'll get there slower.' I was just going to stop and stay at the base, but if I slide or not, I'm out either way.''

Farrell didn't pinch-run for Pierzynski, who may be the slowest runner on the team.

"Didn't want to pinch-run there, knowing that we may need [Jonathan] Herrera there in another situation,'' said Farrell.

*In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Miller, in his second inning of work, got a pop-up for the first out, then walked the speedy Desmond Jennings with one out.

Farrell chose to go with Burke Badenhop to come in use his sinker to try to get an inning-ending double play.

After Badenhop threw over to first several times, the Sox put a pitch-out on, but Pierzynski's throw had little on it and Jennings was easily safe at second.

"We certainly had the sense that Jennings was looking to go and we pitch-out,'' said Farrell. "He still beats the throw.''

"We had him on the pitch-out there,'' said Badenhop, "and I kind of sailed the pitch to A.J. there and didn't give much of a chance to get a good throw off Jennings, a fast guy and one of the better base stealers in the league. I don't even know if a good throw, a good exchange, would have gotten him. But again, I think I hand-cuffed A.J. a little bit.''

Badenhop then got a pitch up a little too much to pinch-hitter Cole Figueroa, who sent a line drive into right center, scoring Jennings from second with ease.

The Sox had pulled their outfield around to left on the left-handed-hitting Figueroa, based on tendencies. Sure enough, the ball dropped between two outfielders as though Figueroa was a dead pull hitter.

"We executed our pitch to Figueroa,'' said Badenhop, "and hits a grenade that blows up in right-center, pretty much. He fights it off. The ball was probably a little bit up [in the strike zone] and it's a little bit more down, it's a little
flare. But he hit to where we didn't have anybody playing. We were swung around completely the other way.

"Those are the kind of breaks you hope to get, but it finds the grass out there.''

And the streak grows.

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