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Oriole 7, Red Sox 5: Collapse Continues As Jonathan Papelbon, Daniel Bard Blow Late Lead

Orioles 7, Red Sox 5

For the Red Sox, something is always wrong.

It is, quite frankly, amazing how consistent they are about it. Unless they have put themselves in a position where it's absolutely impossible to lose--such as in Monday's 18-9 rout--then the Red Sox will, inevitably, lose.

Tonight, the game was bookended by failures in the third and eighth which, when put together, were simply too much to overcome.

For the first time in ages, the Red Sox actually took a 1-0 lead out of the gate, with Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez doubling in the first inning to put Boston up early. With Erik Bedard pitching smoothly for the first two innings and the Sox picking up some more baserunners along the way, the stage seemed set for the first back-to-back wins of September.

Instead, with two outs, Bedard offered up an RBI double to Nick Markakis, and then a line drive to Vladimir Guerrero. The latter should have ended the inning, and completely changed the game. Instead, Josh Reddick started in, hesitated, and then tried to make a leaping grab, only succeeding in knocking the ball into the dirt. From there, Bedard seemed to lose control, walking the bases loaded and giving up a two-RBI ground ball, leaving the game with a 4-1 deficit. 

The Red Sox quickly fought back with a two-run shot from Adrian Gonzalez in the bottom half of the third, and between a few singles, a walk, and an errant throw on a would-have-been-inning-ending double play in the fourth, the Sox actually took a 5-4 lead.

Amazingly, the bullpen held. Scott Atchison got by thanks to a few caught stealings from Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Matt Albers threw a strong sixth, and Daniel Bard went 1-2-3 in the seventh. But he just couldn't handle the eighth. A pair of singles sandwiched around a strikeout to start the inning led Terry Francona to turn to Jonathan Papelbon. The closer would strike out Chris Davis, load the bases on a single to Nolan Reimold, and then go to 3-2 against Robert Andino. The sixth pitch of the at bat had life, but moved across the middle of the zone, and was shot into right field. The bases cleared, the lead fell apart, and the Red Sox lost.

Par for the course.


Three For The Road

Thank You, New York

At least the Yankees won. It's a vile thing to say, yes, but with the Rays being the primary WC competition, having them lose 5-0 makes this terrible failure to perform at least slightly more tolerable. That it comes at the benefit of the New York Yankees...well, beggars can't be choosers, as they say.


Poor Bedard

Something always goes wrong in Erik Bedard's starts. If it hadn't been for Reddick's pathetic play in the outfield, the night may have gone so much differently. The lefty's velocity was up in normal ranges, his curveball was breaking hard, and often into the zone where he would want it, and he'd been on target for most of the game. But that error just seemed to throw him completely off. That he would have trouble with the later portions of his outing in a return game seems pretty intuitive to begin with, but he does seem to have the worst luck of any of the Red Sox' starters.


The Worst Of Times

Jonathan Papelbon hadn't allowed a run in over two months before Tuesday's game. It would be remarkably bad timing...except that this seems to be typical of the Red Sox these days. Choose any player on the team, and the one day they'll choose to have their bad game will come at the exact right time to ensure completely a close Sox loss.


Up Next -- Wednesday, 7:10 p.m. | Josh Beckett (13-5, 2.50 ERA) vs. Tommy Hunter (4-4, 4.81)

If the Sox don't at least split this series, they might as well schedule tee times for October.