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Pirates 3, Red Sox 1: Boston Comes Up Empty In Clutch, Pirates Prevail

The Red Sox lost their third straight game, falling 3-1 to the Pirates Friday night.

It’s becoming a tired story by now: a poorly constructed lineup that manages to put a lot of men on base but score few leaves the Red Sox trailing a weaker National League team when all nine innings are over and done with.

Over the last two games against the Padres, the Red Sox had stranded 20 runners. Tonight, they added eleven more.

The only runner they managed to score was Jacoby Ellsbury, who reached base with a leadoff walk in the first and came around to score on a Kevin Youkilis groundout. The next at bat exemplified everything wrong with the team over this three-game losing streak however, as Darnell McDonald stepped up to the plate with a runner in scoring position and promptly recorded the third out.

He would do this again in the third with the bases loaded, and then once more in the fifth with two men on.

Meanwhile, Jon Lester had lost the lead in the third inning thanks to a rally started by a bunt single from Ronny Cedeno. Mike Cameron made a terrible diving attempt on a ball in right field, Lester managed to walk the pitcher, and then Kevin Youkilis couldn’t save a bad hop, allowing a run to score. Another came across shortly thereafter on a double play.

Darnell McDonald was not the only Boston player to come up empty when it counted. With two on and one out in the seventh, Adrian Gonzalez popped up and Kevin Youkilis struck out. But when those two were the guys setting the table earlier, it’s difficult to lay blame at their feet.

It’s entirely possible to blame Kevin Youkilis for the third run of the night, though. Neil Walker’s leadoff single in the sixth never left the infield, deflecting off his glove, and the double play ball that did leave the infield only did so thanks to Youkilis’ inability to make the easy play.

The Sox’ last real opportunity came in the eighth, with David Ortiz getting a shot with men on second and third and two outs. But, after a seven pitch battle, Ortiz could only hit a ground ball up the middle, where Ronny Cedeno was waiting to record the out. Joel Hanrahan closed things out in dominant fashion, and the Red Sox dropped their third straight.