J.D. Drew stuck with his usual laid-back approach after looking terrible the previous four times at the plate. It finally paid off – and ended a long day.
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Drew struck out four consecutive times before he singled home Carl Crawford from second with two outs in the 14th inning Saturday, lifting the Boston Red Sox to a 9-8 win over the Oakland Athletics after closer Jonathan Papelbon blew a four-run lead in the ninth.
Drew, known as one of the quieter, more reserved players in the Red Sox clubhouse, felt like he was going to make contact. He rarely gets too excited and it even showed as he got dressed quickly after his game-winning hit.
”I had some good swings in all the earlier at-bats,” Drew said. ”Sure it’s aggravating, you never want to strike out four times in a game. Even though I struck out four times, I thought I had some quality swings.”
Boston recovered for its 18th win in 26 games after Papelbon blew the big lead and was ejected along with catcher Jason Varitek a few minutes apart in the ninth.
”I just lost my cool,” Varitek said. ”You can’t argue balls and strikes.”
Crawford had four hits and drove in three runs and Adrian Gonzalez had a solo homer and three hits for the Red Sox. Boston has beaten Oakland 14 of the last 18 games in Fenway Park.
Conor Jackson had a tying, pinch-hit two-run single in the ninth and a key double in the 11th as Oakland grabbed the lead, but Andrew Bailey couldn’t hold it. The Athletics lost their fifth straight.
”Obviously just didn’t do my job today and let the team down,” said Bailey, who made just his third appearance after missing the start of the season with a strained right forearm.
Alfredo Aceves (3-1) pitched four innings for the win. He gave up a run in the 11th before Boston rallied in the bottom of the inning.
In the game-winning rally, Crawford doubled into the left-field corner against Guillermo Moscoso (2-1), the Athletics ninth pitcher. After Jed Lowrie was intentionally walked, Drew lined a single to right-center to end the 5-hour, 17-minute game.
Landon Powell, who struck out four times and went 1 for 7, grounded out with runners on first and second to end the top of the 14th. After that, the crowd – that was left – cheered when `Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ was played for a second time.
Oakland had taken an 8-7 lead in the 11th inning on Ryan Sweeney’s sacrifice fly against Aceves. Boston tied it with two outs in the bottom half. Jarrod Saltalamacchia doubled high off the left-field wall against Bailey and scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s double down the right-field line.
Oakland, which entered the day scoring the second-fewest runs in the AL, scored four runs in a wild ninth against Papelbon after second baseman Dustin Pedroia booted a potential game-ending double-play grounder. Both Varitek and Papelbon were both ejected by home plate umpire Tony Randazzo in the inning.
”It was a great, great comeback to tie the game in the ninth, then to actually go ahead in extra innings,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. ”We had the game. We were in pretty good shape.”
Mark Ellis singled leading off and Daric Barton walked. After Powell struck out, Pedroia had pinch-hitter Coco Crisp’s grounder go through his legs, scoring a run. Pennington’s RBI double made it 7-5 and Varitek was ejected while arguing during the hit.
”If I fielded that ball we would have won about four hours ago,” Pedroia said. ”But we battled. We had a lot of key hits. I don’t think one play won or lost the game. It was one play in like a nine-hour game.”
Jackson then tied it with his two-run single. Papelbon was ejected after throwing the first pitch to the next hitter, Sweeney, and had to be restrained by manager Terry Francona. He appeared to bump Randazzo before being shoved out of the way by Francona.
Bobby Jenks got out of the inning when he struck out Hideki Matsui with runners on first and third with a pitch in the dirt that bounced away.
The late blowup spoiled another solid start by Josh Beckett.
Beckett gave up three runs, four hits, walked three and fanned four over six-plus innings. It was just the third time in 12 starts that he’s given up more than two runs.
Cahill, coming off his worst consecutive starts of the season, gave up five runs on eight hits, striking out eight and walking one. He had given up a combined eight runs -seven earned – over 12 2-3 innings.
Notes: Francona said before the game that RHP Clay Buchholz’s next start may be moved back few days because the pitcher was worried about how his back felt in Friday’s start. … Red Sox RHP John Lackey is scheduled to start the series finale on Sunday in his return from the 15-day DL after being sidelined with strained right elbow. … Oakland manager Bob Geren had said before the game that RHP Guillermo Moscoso, who worked 2 1-3 innings of scoreless relief in Friday’s loss, was still expected to start on Tuesday at Baltimore. But after he said he’d have to rethink things. … Boston SS Marco Scutaro, on the DL since May 8 with a strained left oblique, was expected to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Saturday night againts Durham. The plan is for him to play short, second and DH over three games, in no particular order. ”If he feels good, he’ll join us in New York on Monday,” Francona said. … The game was originally scheduled for 7:10, but moved to 1:10 after soliciting fans opinions online earlier this week because the Bruins were playing Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday night. … Matsui snapped a career-worst 0-for-19 slump with an 11th-inning single.