April 27, 2011: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

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April 27, 2011: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com

BALTIMORE -- After clawing back from a four-run deficit, the Red Sox experienced a nasty meltdown in the bottom of the eighth inning Wednesday night, leading to a 5-4 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles.

Daniel Bard, the third Red Sox pitcher of the game, allowed two singles to start the inning and a passed ball by Jason Varitek put both baserunners in scoring position.

When another pitch got away from Varitek, the catcher scrambled for the errant pitch and, tossing to Bard covering, the Sox cut down Nick Markakis at the plate.

But with the infield playing in, Vladimir Guerrero lined a single up the middle, scoring Derrek Lee with the winning run.

The Sox had rallied in dramatic fashion in the top of the inning when Adrian Gonzalez singled home Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis followed with a three-run homer into the seats in left.

Baltimore used the long ball in the fourth to take a 3-0 lead against Josh Beckett.

With two out and Derrek Lee on second, Luke Scott drove a pitch over everything in right, with the ball landing on Eutaw St., some 423 feet from home plate.

Beckett was enraged that Scott had flipped the bat after his swing and stared down Scott as he rounded the bases.

Appearing unnerved, Beckett then gave up a solo homer to Adam Jones, who drove a 2-and-0 fastball out to left.

Player of the Game: Vladimir Guerrero

It wasn't as crushing -- or as impressive -- as his Game 3 homer in the 2009 ALDS off Jonathan Papelbon, but Guerrero's single up the middle in the eighth inning scored the game-winner for the Orioles.

With Derrek Lee at third and one out, Daniel Bard was looking for a strikeout by going inside on Guerrero. Instead, Bard left a pitch out over the middle, and Guerrero, still capable of good plate coverage, drove it into center.

Honorable Mention: Jeremy Guthrie

The Orioles starter pretty much had his way with Red Sox hitters, shutting them out
over six innings while walking just one and striking out six.

Guthrie worked out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the first, then got some help in the fourth when Nick Markakis threw out David Ortiz trying to score from second on a single to right.

The Goat: Daniel Bard

This wasn't Bard's night. He mislocated to both Markakis and Lee, allowing back-to-back singles to start the eighth.

Then he crossed up Jason Varitek, uncorking a pitch that broke away from Varitek. He followed that up with another errant pitch, then surrendered the game-winning single to Guerrero.

Turning Point: Bard gets wild

Bard's second errant pitch of the eighth resulted in a tagout of Markakis at the plate, but moved Lee to third, representing the go-ahead run, and forced the Red Sox to move the infield in. Guerrero then lined a pitch through the middle.

By the Numbers: 2

Kevin Youkilis's three-run homer in the top of the eighth was just the second three-run shot by the Red Sox in 23 games this season.

Quote of Note:

"Is this TMZ?'' -- Josh Beckett to reporters who asked about his staredown with Luke Scott and discussion with home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth after the bottom of the fourth.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam.

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

Shaughnessy provides details of Price-Eckersley confrontation

The Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy, citing "six people who witnessed . . . the incident", provided details Sunday of the confrontation between current Red Sox pitcher David Price and Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley, now a part-time member of the Sox broadcast team, on a recent team flight from Boston to Toronto.

As earlier reported, Price berated Eckersley over innocuous on-air comments by Eck regarding a rehab start by Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. From Shaughnessy:

On the day of the episode, Price was standing near the middle of the team aircraft, surrounded by fellow players, waiting for Eckersley. When Eckersley approached, on his way to the back of the plane (Sox broadcasters traditionally sit in the rear of the aircraft), a grandstanding Price stood in front of Eckersley and shouted, “Here he is — the greatest pitcher who ever lived! This game is easy for him!’’

When a stunned Eckersley tried to speak, Price shot back with, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

Many players applauded.

Eckersley made his way to the back of the plane as players in the middle of the plane started their card games. In the middle of the short flight, Eckersley got up and walked toward the front where Sox boss Dave Dombrowski was seated. When Eckersley passed through the card-playing section in the middle, Price went at him again, shouting, “Get the [expletive] out of here!’’

When Price was asked about it the next day, he said only, “Some people just don’t understand how hard this game is.’’

Price later said he was merely standing up for his teammates and "[whatever] crap I catch for that, I’m fine with it.’’

Shaughnessy, citing "three people close to Eckersley," reported that neither Price nor manager John Farrell has apologized to Eckersley.

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

Drellich: The pros and cons of Rafael Devers' promotion

BOSTON — Rafael Devers is here and there’s a bundle of reasons to be excited. There’s reason, too, to be skeptical. 

WATCH: Did Sox make right move? / BASEBALL SHOW PODCAST: On Devers

Here is a look at the potential pros and cons, depending on Devers’ success. We’ll start with the good as the 20-year-old top prospect heads to the big leagues for the first time.

PROS

Infusion of energy

In the same way a trade can bring a boost of morale, so too can the promotion of a top prospect. It’s new blood walking through the door, either way. There’s help for a group of hitters — and by extension, pitchers lacking run support — who need to see a lift from the front office. Sox manager John Farrell previously acknowledged the sense of anticipation leading up to the trade deadline. The mood heading into Devers’ first game should be an exciting one.

Production

Virtually anything is better than what the Sox have had offensively at third base. Devers’ minor league hitting has been a spectacle. They wanted to see how he adjusted to Double-A pitching and he did so admirably. He walked into Triple-A and kept raking, with three hits in his final game. The ceiling is very high.

Trade leverage

Theoretically this applies to Devers directly. If the Sox wanted to deal him, he’d be worth more as a big leaguer with some success. But if we believe everything the Sox say, they don’t want to trade him. They’d be crazy to do so. Leverage, then, comes in another form. Those teams that the Sox have talked to about third-base help, or hitting help, in general now get a message from the Sox of “Hey, we don’t need you.” Potentially, any way.

Feet wet for the future

A taste isn’t always a good thing, but it often is. One way or another, the Red Sox have to hope that Devers’ first stint in the big leagues lays the groundwork for the future. Growing pains might be inevitable but in some way, the sooner he can go through them, the better. If he comes off the bench at times, that’ll be a new experience he can have under his belt, although you wouldn’t expect he’ll need that skill too much early in his career.

Prospects saved, or repurposed

It’d still be a stunner if the Sox don’t make a trade at the deadline. It just wouldn’t be the Dombrowski way to stay idle. But Devers’ arrival might allow for a different allocation of resources. Whatever prospects the Sox were willing to put toward a third-base upgrade could go toward another bat, or a reliever or both.

CONS

Uncertainty

This is the biggest concern. Even if Devers rakes for the first week and thereby convinces the Red Sox they don’t need to trade for a third baseman, what does one week really tell them? A month isn’t really enough, either, but it would have been a lot better. (There is always the possibility of a trade in August.) Devers is still missing what the position has been missing all along — a known quantity. Someone with a major league track record, someone who can provide as much certainty as can reasonably be found.

Public about-face

Promoting Devers to the majors for the purposes of evaluation ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline would have been wiser at the start of July. He was raking after two months at Portland. It’s clear the Sox didn’t intend to move Devers with this kind of speed. They’ve adjusted on the fly, which is necessary sometimes, but Dombrowski said on July 14 — the day Devers was moved to Triple-A — that "I don't want to put it on his back that we're counting on him in a pennant race.” Didn’t take long for that to change.

Defense

Devers made four errors in 12 games at Pawtucket and has 16 in 72 games between there and Portland. One scout who has seen Devers doesn’t think he’s ready defensively yet. From there, it’s worth noting the context at this position: how chaotic third base has been for the Sox this season. Basic plays were not made for a time, and that’s how Deven Marrero ended up with a job. A drop off in defense is fine, but repeated errors on routine plays won’t work, particularly at a position where the Sox have already lived those woes.

Development

It’s a natural worry for a 20-year-old kid: if he doesn’t do well, can he handle it mentally? He wouldn’t be in the big leagues if the Sox didn’t think so. At the same time, you run the risk of a slow-down for a player who was chugging right along. Devers is poised to share time for now, which means he may well come off the bench, something he hasn’t had to do.

Loss of leverage

If Devers looks bad for a week — as in, truly overmatched — the Sox aren’t going to have any better position for a trade for an established infielder or bat. If anything, the potential trade partner would gain ground.