The Red Sox concluded a disappointing road trip on Sunday night with a 10-inning loss in the Bronx on a little cheap shit roller up the middle by future Yankee Hall of Famer Brett Gardner, off Jonathan Papelbon. Gardner hit a ball that Alex Cora could only knock down, but it didn't stay in the infield to give New York one of their patented cheap wins, 5-4.
The Sox got 6+ strong innings out of Tim Wakefield, but Javier Lopez came on to give up a two-run triple to Robinson Cano to tie the game in the seventh at 4. Once again, the Sox bullpen fails to hold a lead in the seventh for the third time in the last eight days. The Sox hit Joba Chamberlain, whose plaque in Monument Park has been delayed for some unknown reason, for three runs in six innings. Glad to see at least the newest Yankee Who Can Walk On Water not figuring in the decision (although he left on the short side). In the fifth, Kevin Youkilis scored the first run on a wild pitch, sliding hard into the plate as Chamberlain blocked the plate without the ball. In the next inning, Chamberlain threw a pitch behind Youk. (Chamberlain's really asking for it. I hope he realizes that BS has been stored away in the Red Sox' collective memory bank.)
Terry Francona made a head-scratching move, letting Jason Varitek bat for Julio Lugo with a man on second and one out. While Lugo has been near-worthless at the plate lately, Varitek has been totally worthless. He hit the first pitch back to Rivera, who threw him out at first. Then pinch-hitter Manny Ramirez, who looked like he was posing for a statue, looked at three Rivera strikes to end the last Red Sox threat. (And why was Manny not in the lineup, Tito?)
The Red Sox split the four games in New York, and it was the only one of the three series on this trip that could be called in any way satisfactory. But they easily could have swept this series with a clutch hit in both losses. (Joy of Sox pointed out on his blog on Sunday the absymal numbers the Sox put up with the bases loaded in these last 10 games.)
Under most circumstances, I'd take a split of four games in New York anytime. But these last two games left me with a cold feeling, games the Sox easily could have won.
At least the Red Sox get off the road, and head back to Boston to conclude the first half of the season with six games against Minnesota and Baltimore.