It seemed like the season couldn’t get any worse for the Red Sox, a team often embarrassed by its play on the field and actions off it.
Then came Thursday.
The day started with the revelation that only four players attended the funeral of Johnny Pesky on Monday, the rest apparently deciding they had something better to do than pay tribute to a beloved team legend.
The whole team did show up to face the Los Angeles Angels Thursday night and the result was a 14-13 loss in 10 innings, the Sox blowing a six-run lead in the third inning and a two-run lead in the ninth in a wild night at Fenway Park.
It was only the third time since at least 1918 that the Red Sox scored 13 runs and lost. The last time was in 1970.
“We’re playing [expletive], [expletive] baseball,” said closer Alfredo Aceves, who allowed three runs in the ninth inning to blow the save then two in the 10th to lose the game.
With the Sox ahead, 11-9, Aceves came out for the ninth. Vernon Wells homered to left field, the ball appearing on replay to be worth a video review by the umpires, but the Red Sox did not protest.
“I thought it was out,” catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia said, echoing the comments of manager Bobby Valentine and others in the clubhouse. “It bounced straight up.”
With two outs, impressive Angels rookie Mike Trout singled to right and took second when Cody Ross overran the ball.
It proved to be a big error as Trout scored on a single by Torii Hunter. Aceves stared out at Ross in right field after the run scored.
Aceves, who has blown seven saves, then walked Howie Kendrick before Mark Trumbo’s single to center scored Hunter and gave the Angels the lead.
“I missed a couple of pitches, yeah,” Aceves said. “It’s not about that [why] we lost the game. There were like 25 runs.”
Ross atoned for his mistake with a home run off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri to tie it.
After watching Aceves throw 31 pitches in the ninth inning, Valentine sent him back out for the 10th. Kendrys Morales started the inning with a home run. Erick Aybar then singled and scored when Wells doubled off Craig Breslow.
“I had two lefthanders in the bullpen and they had a righthanded lineup,” Valentine said. “I had three innings left [out of the bullpen] and I wanted to squeeze another inning out. It obviously was the wrong decision.”
The 59-66 Sox have lost four straight and 11 of their last 15 games. They are 0-5 in extra-inning games at Fenway Park.
The offense showed some heart, collecting 18 hits. Dustin Pedroia was 4 for 6 with five RBIs, including one with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.
But with Pedroia on second, Frieri (2-0) struck Adrian Gonzalez to end a game that lasted 4 hours 34 minutes.
“It was a wild game. We just have to try to find a way to win those,” Pedroia said.
The Sox had scored twice in the eighth inning to take a two-run lead.
With two outs, Scott Podsednik and Pedro Ciriaco had singles off Garrett Richards. Facing lefty Scott Downs, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to right field to score Podsednik. Pedroia drove in his fourth run with an infield single.
“There’s no quit in this team. I was real proud of the guys,” said Valentine, whose club was ahead, 6-0, fell behind, 8-6, then came back to retake the lead.
Red Sox starter Franklin Morales came out for the third inning with a 6-0 lead. Before the inning had ended, the Angels had scored eight runs and sent 13 batters to the plate as Morales and two relievers threw 48 pitches.
Kendrick an RBI single before Morales struck out Trumbo. With two on and two out, Morales walked Alberto Callaspo and Kendrys Morales to force in a run.
Aybar followed with a groundball that inexperienced third baseman Ciriaco could not handle and another run scored.
Valentine called in Clayton Mortensen. He did not record an out.
Wells walked to force in another run. Chris Iannetta drove a two-run single to left field. Trout singled to drive in Wells.
Hunter’s single to right field scored Iannetta. Hunter was caught off first base, but the Red Sox could not execute the rundown. Trout danced off third base to draw a throw and got back to the bag safely as Hunter got to second base.
The embarrassingly poor fundamentals didn’t cost the Sox another run. Junichi Tazawa came in and got Kendrick to ground to second to finally end the inning. The crowd gave a mock cheer.
The crowd booed throughout the inning, directing much of their ire at Valentine when he made the two pitching changes.
The Sox have walked 14 batters with the bases loaded this season, the most in the American League.
Tazawa retired all four batters he faced. Mark Melancon then worked two scoreless innings, keeping the Sox within striking distance.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson, who hasn’t recorded a victory since June 26, gave up seven runs (six earned) over five innings.
Pedroia doubled in the first inning and scored on a single to center field by Gonzalez. Then the Sox dropped five on Wilson in the second inning.
Podsednik and Ellsbury had RBI singles before Pedroia launched a fastball over the wall for his 11th homer.
Trailing, 8-7, the Sox took the lead back in the sixth inning with two runs.
Mike Aviles pounded a Jason Isringhausen pitch into the Monster Seats. With two outs, doubles by Ciriaco and Ellsbury off Jordan Walden gave the Sox a 9-8 lead.
Facing Andrew Bailey with two on in the seventh, Trout, down 1-and-2 in the count, worked the count full, fouled off a 96-mile-per-hour fastball, then singled to left to tie the game again.
“The last couple of innings we didn’t hold them and that’s my fault,” Valentine said.