The Red Sox fell to the Pirates 6-4 Saturday night, allowing the New York Yankees to take sole possession of fourth place in the American League East.
While the Red Sox offense was able to bring a bit more firepower to the table than they had on Friday, the problems were much the same. The Sox scored in the first (as they had done in the previous game) when Dustin Pedroia walked, stole second, advanced to third on the errant throw from catcher Mike McKenry, and then scored on Adrian Gonzalez' ground out. They scored again when Gonzalez went opposite field to pick up his sixteenth bomb of the season in the third inning, putting the Red Sox up 2-0.
But already the same old problems were shining through. Almost as soon as Jarrod Saltalamacchia reached second base with a leadoff double in the second, he was heading back to the dugout as the bottom three in the Sox' order went down in order. Again, the Sox had a chance in the fourth with two men on and nobody out, but Marco Scutaro grounded into a double play, and the inning was over. Somehow these last four games the Red Sox' lineup has always seemed one man short.
Still, the Sox had a 2-0 lead, and Tim Wakefield seemed on in his return to Pittsburgh, but then things just fell apart.
It started with an infield single to a diving Kevin Youkilis with one out in the fourth, but the rest was clearly Tim Wakefield's fault. A walk to Neil Walker brought Red Sox killer extraordinaire Lyle Overbay to the plate, and on the sixth pitch, he lived up to his title, clubbing a hanging knuckleball that looked more like a curve than anything else into the seats in right field to put the Pirates up 3-2. If that weren't bad enough, Ronny Cedeno doubled, and then came home on the ultimate embarrassment: an RBI single from pitcher Jeff Karstens.
Another run would score in the fifth, as Wakefield allowed the first two men to reach, and Dustin Pedroia pulled a Buckner on a ground ball that seemed likely to keep the runners where they were.
The Red Sox rallied as Josh Reddick, who Terry Francona says has earned another start, blasted a home run to right-center. Jacoby Ellsbury followed suit, bringing the Sox to within one, but they could score no more and Matt Albers allowed another solo shot to seal the deal for Pittsburgh.
Eight more men stranded on a night where the Red Sox slammed three homers--all of them solo shots. After four straight similar losses, something's gotta give.