Game Story: Sox drop another to the O's, 5-4

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Game Story: Sox drop another to the O's, 5-4

By SeanMcAdam
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, leading to a 5-4 defeat to the Baltimore Orioles.

Daniel Bard, the third Red Sox pitcher of the night, 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.

STAR 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.
GOAT OF THE GAME: 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, followed that up with another errant pitch, then surrendered the game-winning single to Guerrero.

TURNING POINT
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
Kevin Youkilis's three-run homer in the top of the eighth was just the third 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

Red Sox acquire third baseman Eduardo Nunez from Giants

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Red Sox acquire third baseman Eduardo Nunez from Giants

BOSTON — On the day Rafael Devers made his major league debut, the Red Sox added another piece to help them at the hot corner — and potentially elsewhere.

The Sox and the San Francisco Giants struck a deal that sends third baseman and utility man Eduardo Nunez to the Red Sox in exchange for minor league righties Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Nunez, a 30-year-old from the Dominican Republic, could prove a versatile bench piece, particularly as Xander Bogaerts and Brock Holt both struggle. The former is dealing with a hand injury. Dustin Pedroia, red hot, also needs to be spelled occasionally because of his left leg, so Nunez could help out in a variety of ways.

But perhaps the bulk of Nunez’s time with the Sox is to be spent at third base, where he fits as a right-handed complement to the left-handed hitting Devers in a platoon.

Nunez is slashing .299/.326/.414 this season against southpaws, with a  .263/.294/.412 line against them lifetime.

Nunez this year is batting .307 overall, which would be a career-high for him in a single season. But he doesn’t have much pop, with just four home runs this year and double-digits just once in his career (16 last year).

Defensively, Nunez has played shortstop and third base more than any other position in an eight-year career that brought him from the Yankees (four years), Twins (three years) and the Giants (two years) before the Sox. This year, Nunez has played more games at third than any other position, 48, but the seven errors he’s made isn’t an encouraging total.

Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez tweeted an endorsement of Nunez, writing “Eduardo Nuñez plays amazing defense in whatever position he is placed. Red Sox are getting a great guy and player.”

The Red Sox and Mariners were in the middle of a night game in Seattle a little after midnight Wednesday morning when Nunez was seen shaking hands with his Giants teammates. 

There’s a small irony at play here. The Giants, of course, recently re-acquired Pablo Sandoval on a minor league deal, with the Sox still paying Sandoval a ton of money. The Giants’ production at third base has actually been worse than the Red Sox’ this season.