The Red Sox fell to the Angels 5-3 Wednesday in what was really more of a marathon than a baseball game.
With Josh Beckett and Ervin Santana trading scoreless innings through a wet four innings, there was no indication of what was to come. But after Beckett recorded the first out in the top of the fifth, the sky opened up, and the umpires called for the tarp.
It would be two-and-a-half hours before the next pitch was thrown, but even then, at around 11:00 p.m. EST, nobody could have predicted what was to come.
The trouble started for the Red Sox in the seventh inning, with Dan Wheeler on the mound. He proved ineffective from the get go, allowing a double to leadoff batter Howie Kendrick, and then grooving a terrible pitch to Vernon Wells that would have left Fenway entirely had it not hit the light tower on the Monster.
With Hideki Okajima cleaning up after Wheeler, the Sox were still on the wrong end of a no-hitter. Finally, though, the offense started to wake up. Jed Lowrie ended the no-no in the seventh inning before Jason Varitek led off the eighth with a double and was brought home by Adrian Gonzalez' RBI single.
It still took some ninth inning magic, though, for the Sox to prolong the game. The Red Sox quickly found themselves with two men on when Jed Lowrie and Mike Cameron both reached to start the frame, and then scored a run on a wild pitch, throwing error combo by Angels closer Jordan Walden and catcher Hank Conger. They lucked out, however, when some bad baserunning resulted in Mike Cameron being out at third--a mistake that arguably cost them the game given the ensuing sequence with Carl Crawford doubling and Jacoby Ellsbury tying the game, bringing in Crawford with a single.
With the score tied 3-3 after nine, the Sox and Angels started into extra innings. Jonathan Papelbon and Daniel Bard held down the fort for three scoreless innings, while Trevor Bell responded for the Angels. He had more than a little help doing so, however. And not from the Angels. With Marco Scutaro reaching first with one out in the twelth, up came Kevin Youkilis. On the fourth pitch he saw, Youkilis swung, and swung hard, lifting a ball high and far to left. With both teams of announcers starting into their walk-off calls, the ball bounced off the monster just inches short of a home run. Third base coach Tim Bogar waved Scutaro home then, at the last second, held up his hands to stop him. It was to no avail--Scutaro ran right past, and was cut down at the plate on a strong relay from Erick Aybar. After an infield single kept the inning going, Jed Lowrie grounded out to end the threat.
As is often the case in these long games, the Red Sox had their one shot, and when they didn't take advantage, it was all over. With Diasuke Matsuzaka on in relief, the Angels loaded the bases with two outs on a pair of singles and a walk. It was Bobby Abreu who finally did the honors, shooting a ground ball single past a diving Dustin Pedroia and into right field to score two runs and give the Angels a 5-3 lead they would not relinquish.