One out. Mike Timlin needed to record just one lousy out. It took him five batters to get it, but by that time, the lead, the game, and first place in the East were gone.
Tim Wakefield held a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth. He allowed a single, threw a wild pitch, and hit a batter (his 3rd of the night). He got Carl Crawford to hit a 3-1 pitch for a 4-6-3 double play, but then Jose Cantu singled to left. 4-3.
I really didn't have any problem with Timlin coming in. Wakefield was at 93 pitches and the next batter, Travis Lee, had tagged him for a long home run back in the second inning. ... It fell apart pretty quickly. Lee singled, Johnny Gomes tripled, Eric Munson doubled, and Alex Gonzalez singled.
In retrospect, perhaps Craig Hansen for the out and Timlin in the ninth would have been a better course of action. ... The Sox went quickly in the ninth, slipping into second place for the first time since mid-July, thanks to the Yankees' 2-1 win over Baltimore.
Bill Mueller led off for the first time in his career and collected three singles and a walk. Manny hit #39, Doug Mirabelli had two hits, and while Edgar Renteria went 1-for-5, he also hit three wicked line drives right at Tampa infielders. Adam Hyzdu walked twice, though I did not like seeing him whiff with the bases loaded in the seventh.
Boston gets its long-awaited day off today. The Yankees finish their series with the Orioles tonight. The Red Sox will be either in an exact tie for first or one game out. ... Then it's a 10-game sprint to the finish.