Red Sox - 101 000 200 - 4 9 1 Pirates - 000 410 10x - 6 8 2Lyle Overbay's three-run home run highlighted a fourth inning in which Wakefield (6-7-5-4-2, 86), after breezing through the first three innings, faced eight Pirates and allowed two singles (including a run-scoring hit by Karstens), a double, a home run, a walk, and a stolen base. The fifth inning began with a single, double, and error by Dustin Pedroia to bring in another run.
Josh Reddick and Jacoby Ellsbury each hit solo home runs in the seventh to bring Boston to within one run. The Pirates then upped their lead to 6-4 and Joel Hanrahan - on his 24th pitch of the inning - struck out Adrian Gonzalez (who had driven in the Red Sox's first two runs, on a groundout and solo dong) with Dustin Pedroia at second to end the game.
It was Boston's fourth straight loss (after winning 14 of 16 games since June 3) and it dropped the Red Sox into second place, 0.5 GB the Yankees.
The Red Sox had a flicker of hope when, one strike away from defeat, Pedroia smacked a fly ball to right. Xavier Paul went back and leapt at the wall, but could not make the catch. As Pedroia pulled into second base with a double, a Pirates employee assumed the ball had been caught and the game was over and started the fireworks display! Gonzalez took a ball, then fouled off four pitches before going to far on a checked swing to truly end the game. And the rest of the PNC fireworks were set off.
Tim Wakefield / Jeff Karstens
Karstens has made 12 starts this season, and he has allowed more than two earned runs only twice. In four starts this month, he has a 0.65 ERA. In 27.2 innings, he has allowed only 16 hits and three walks (a drool-worthy 0.69 WHIP), with 11 strikeouts. However, the Pirates won only two of the four games, because they scored a total of five runs (2, 0, 2, 1).
Wakefield is hoping for Win #184 as a member of the Red Sox (and career Win #198).
Sidebar: R.A. Dickey and Wakefield are the two knuckleballers in the majors. And down in Allen, Texas, two dentists/baseball fans have a practice called Dickey & Wakefield Dental. But it's not a tribute; their names are Steve Dickey and Brian Wakefield. The Mets' Dickey:
Wow, that's amazing! What are the odds of that? I tell you what. I would definitely feel comfortable going there. You've got to have a steady hand to throw a knuckleball, and also to do the work they do. ... I'm going to text Tim. He's going to love this.Also: Amy alerted me to a Bats post at the Times about the 2011 Red Sox's progression from doomed to dominant.
AL East: Rockies/Yankees at 1 PM; Rays/Astros at 7 PM.