Tigers 7, Red Sox 6 (12 innings)

Red Sox allow Tigers to claw back and win

Rookie Brennan Boesch had a two-run triple in the sixth to pull Detroit within 6-3. Rookie Brennan Boesch had a two-run triple in the sixth to pull Detroit within 6-3. (Duane Burleson/Associated Press)
By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / May 16, 2010

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DETROIT — The Red Sox had a five-run lead with Jon Lester on the mound in the sixth inning against the Detroit Tigers last night. Six innings later, the visitors had suffered their most painful loss of the season.

Ramon Santiago drew a four-pitch walk from Ramon Ramirez with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom of the 12th as the Tigers escaped Comerica Park with a 7-6 victory.

The Sox drew 12 walks, matching the most in the major leagues this season. But they left 13 runners on base, seven in scoring position, to fall to 1-6 in extra-inning games.

“One of those days, a crazy day,’’ said Kevin Youkilis, who walked a career-best five times yet scored only once. “We should have won that game. But you have to move on.’’

After getting 2 1/3 shutout innings from Jonathan Papelbon, his longest outing since 2006, Sox manager Terry Francona turned to the back end of his bullpen in the 11th inning.

Manny Delcarmen, who had warmed up four times earlier, survived for an inning as the Tigers left a runner on second. But Magglio Ordonez singled to start the bottom of the 12th.

Lefthander Scott Schoeneweis came in to face lefthanded-hitting rookie Brennan Boesch. His second pitch was lined into right field for a single that pushed Ordonez to third. Lefties are 9 for 24 (.375) against Schoeneweis.

Ramirez, who has been erratic all season, walked Brandon Inge on five pitches to load the bases, then struck out Alex Avila for the second out. But he walked Santiago, throwing four fastballs that didn’t so much as flirt with the strike zone.

The Sox walked off the field dejected as the Tigers celebrated. Ramirez declined to comment, leaving others to speak for him.

“He just got behind and didn’t throw strikes,’’ Francona said. “Ramon’s never been touch-and-feel. Just get it and fire it. That’s part of his success.’’

That the game went to extra innings was the fault of Hideki Okajima, who was handed a 6-4 lead in the eighth and gave it away within four batters.

Ordonez drove a 3-and-2 fastball over the fence in left field for his fifth home run. Okajima then walked Miguel Cabrera before Boesch singled and Inge drove an RBI double into the corner in left field.

Okajima had not allowed a run in his previous six outings.

“You can’t go out every night and not give up runs,’’ said Francona, who did not have Daniel Bard available because he had thrown 28 pitches Friday night.

The Sox had a chance to take the lead in the 10th against Joel Zumaya as Mike Lowell singled and Marco Scutaro bunted pinch runner Jonathan Van Every to second.

But Dustin Pedroia grounded out before Victor Martinez lined to first. Martinez was 0 for 5 and has two hits in his last 28 at-bats. His batting average has fallen to .226.

The Sox had another opportunity against Zumaya in the 11th when Youkilis walked and David Ortiz dropped a single into left field. But Adrian Beltre struck out and J.D. Drew grounded into a double play.

“Their bullpen is the best I’ve seen this season,’’ Pedroia said. “Zumaya was throwing 100 pretty much every pitch. But we still had some chances.’’

Jose Valverde (1-1) pitched an inning for the victory.

Francona had every intention of starting Lowell against lefthander Dontrelle Willis. But that changed after he watched Ortiz belt two long home runs Friday night.

A good manager, Francona said, knows when to step out of the way. Ortiz had earned the right to stay in the lineup.

“I’m always trying to do what’s right and he had some pretty vicious swings [Friday] night,’’ Francona said before the game. “There’s always a balance. Somebody plays and somebody sits.’’

Not only did Ortiz start, but he also was moved up to the fifth spot in the batting order. Three more hits produced two more RBIs for Ortiz, who has driven in 13 runs in 10 games this month. His batting average is up to .232.

Led by Ortiz, the Sox built a 6-1 lead after five innings. Willis lasted only 3 1/3 innings. He walked seven, struck out five, and allowed four runs.

Lester came into the game having allowed only three earned runs in his previous 27 2/3 innings. He was not quite as sharp last night, giving up four runs over seven innings. Three of the runs came in the sixth, two on a triple by Boesch, who has driven in 19 runs in 18 games.

“I started to get into a little bit of a rhythm after that, but I didn’t execute that pitch to Boesch,’’ Lester said. “Otherwise I feel like I threw the ball pretty good.’’

Lester allowed four hits and four walks while striking out 10. It was the ninth time in his career he reached double digits in strikeouts.

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