By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BALTIMORE -- In a season-ending loss -- especially one so dramatic -- there are bound to be those who get the lion's share of the blame.
In the crushing 4-3 defeat for the Red Sox Wednesday night, Carl Crawford and Marco Scutaro were front-and-center.
Scutaro made a critical baserunning error in the bottom of the eighth inning that cost the Red Sox what would have been a vital insurance run.
With one out in the eighth and Scutaro on first base, Crawford sliced a double to left-center. Scutaro took off from first and rounded second.
As the ball got by left fielder Nolan Reimold and center fielder Adam Jones raced to retrieve the ball near the warning track, Scutaro inexplicably stopped between second and third and for an instant, appeared to head back to second.
He quickly reversed field again and was waived home by third-base coach Tim Bogar. But the reversal on the basepaths cost Scutaro valuable time and he was thrown out at the plate.
"When Reimold dove for the ball," recounted Scutaro, "the ball kind of went underneath and I couldn't see the ball at all. So I heard the crowd cheering and I didn't know if it was our fans or their fans, so I didn't know if he made the play or not.
"I just had a bad read and I should have, I guess, just kept going. If he would have caught the ball, it was probably going to be a double play. What can I say? Things happen."
"He thought it got caught," said Terry Francona. "At that point, it's probably human nature for him to stop, but there was nowhere for him to go. It was unfortunate."
As Scutaro came back to the dugout, he wasn't thinking about the significance of the out or how costly it might be. After all, the Red Sox had the lead with six outs to go.
"I'm not thinking about the fallout," he said. "I'm thinking about getting the outs. We had the lead and we were in a pretty good situation with Jonathan Papelbon coming in to pitch the ninth."
In the ninth, after back-to-back doubles by Chris Davis and Nolan Reimold tied the score, the Orioles had the potential winning run on second in Reimold with Robert Andino at the plate.
Andino hit a sinking liner to left that Crawford came in on. He made a diving attempt for the ball, but couldn't glove it. With two outs and Reimold running on the play, Crawford's throw to the plate was too late.
It would have hardly been a routine catch for Crawford, but it's one superb outfielders can make.
"I thought I had a play on it," said Crawford, "but it was a tough play and unfortunately I couldn't make it. It was low so I knew I had to slide and get up under it and I wasn't able to. I definitely had to try to make a sliding catch."
From the dugout, Francona had his fingers crossed.
"I hoped he had a chance," said Francona of Crawford. "He gave it his best shot. It didn't work."
The ending was not what Crawford envisioned when he signed his landmark seven-year, 142 million deal last December.
"It's very disappointing because we had high expectations," he said, "and we didn't live up to them."
"It's pretty sad," concluded Scutaro. "We battled the whole year. We fight and we fight and we came up short by one game. It feels pretty bad. You start thinking back to all the games we should have won earlier in the season, or in the middle of the season, or whatever.
"You know what, man? That's baseball. You can do nothing about it now."