By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
PITTSBURGH The Red Sox continued their stumble through Interleague play, dropping their second straight game to the Pirates, 6-4, and fourth straight to National League teams.
In his second start against his former team, Tim Wakefield took the loss, falling to 4-3, with a 4.54 ERA.
Wakefield went six innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional), with two wild pitches, two strikeouts, and a home run. He threw 86 pitches, 49 strikes.
He was done in by a four-run fourth inning, when he faced eight Pirates batters. With a two-run lead, Wakefield gave up a 3-run homer to Lyle Overbay and an RBI single to pitcher Jeff Karstens.
Wakefield gave up another run in the next inning, when Chase dArnaud led off with a single followed by Garrett Jones double. DArnaud scored on Dustin Pedroias fourth error of the season, as Andrew McCutchens ground ball went through his legs.
The Pirates added another run in the seventh. Matt Albers, who started the inning, gave up a one-out solo homer to Jones. It was the first home run Albers has allowed since June 8, 2010, spanning 60 games and 77.i innings.
Jeff Karstens earned the win, improving to 5-4 (2.66). He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts and three home runs. He threw 109 pitches, 68 strikes.
The Sox opened the scoring in the first when Dustin Pedroia walked with one out, stole second and went to third on catcher Mike McKenrys throwing error. He then scored on Adrian Gonzalezs groundout to shortstop Ronny Cedeno.
Solo home runs by Gonzalez in the third, and Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury in the seventh accounted for the rest of the Sox runs.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Lyle Overbay
With the Pirates trailing by two runs in fourth, Overbays three-run homer in the fourth inning was the big blow they needed. Overbay, who went 1-for-3 with three RBI and an intentional walk, has more home runs, 13, against the Sox than he does against any other team. Although he entered the game hitting .231 for the season, he is batting .307 in his career against the Sox.
HONORABLE MENTION: Jeff Karstens
Karstens had not faced the Red Sox since 2007, while with the Yankees. He went 6 23 innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks with two strikeouts, improving his record to 5-4 with a 2.66 ERA. Although he gave up three home runs, they were all solo shots, limiting the damage by the Sox. The Sox had runners on in every inning but the fourth, but could build no momentum against Karstens. In 11 Interleague games (six starts), he is 3-0 with a 3.06 ERA.
THE GOAT: Tim Wakefield
Given a 2-0 lead after three innings, Wakefield could not hold onto it, relinquishing the lead and the game in the fourth. He faced eight Pirates batters in the inning, giving up four runs on four hits and a walk. Wakefield went six innings, giving put five runs on seven hits and four walks (one intentional) with two strikeouts and two passed balls. His record fell to 4-3 with a 4.54 ERA.
THE TURNING POINT
After the Sox got out to an early 2-0 lead, with single runs in the first and third, the Pirates took the lead for good in the fourth. With one out, Andrew McCutchen singled, and Neil Walker walked, setting up Lyle Overbays three-run blast. Ronny Cedeno followed with a double. After Mike McKenry fouled out to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, pitcher Jeff Karstens singled up the middle, scoring Cedeno with his first RBI of the season. Jose Tabata grounded out to end the rally, but the Pirates took a lead they would not relinquish.
STAT OF THE DAY: 1-for-4
David Ortiz entered the game batting 1-for-3 with a home run as a pinch-hitter this season. He has not been in the starting lineup the last two games, as manager Terry Francona has had the difficult decision of sitting Ortiz. In each of the last two games, though, Ortiz has been called up in the late innings to pinch-hit in a crucial spot. Friday he came up in the eighth inning with the tying runs on second and third. On Saturday night, he led pinch-hit to lead off the ninth. Both times he was unsuccessful, making him 1-for-4 in pinch-hit situations this season. Francona said he is unlikely to start Ortiz at first base and Adrian Gonzalez in right field on Sunday, meaning Ortiz could be called on for similar pinch-hit situations.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
Weve lost six in a row before. Weve been 2-10 before. Were human. Everyone puts us out there to win 120 but we got, I dont know how many wins we have now, but whatever we have, we have to get one more.
-Kevin Youkilis on the Sox four-game losing streak
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen