For Wakefield, a bit of everything
SAN FRANCISCO — American League pitchers rarely venture off the mound. Their job is primarily to throw the baseball and the rest of the game is for others to handle.
But there is no designated hitter in the National League. So for seven innings last night, Tim Wakefield was a complete baseball player and the 43-year-old thoroughly enjoyed it.
Wakefield threw 100 pitches and had four balls hit back at him. He also went to the plate three times, dropping down a successful bunt and drawing his first walk since 1998. That led to a takeout slide at second base.
The only thing missing was a victory as the Red Sox fell to the Giants, 5-4.
Wakefield (2-6) allowed 11 hits over seven innings and four runs, three earned. But it was his error that led to the costly unearned run.
With one out in the second inning and the Sox leading 3-0, Pablo Sandoval singled and took second on a wild pitch. Buster Posey followed with a single that went through Sandoval’s legs and into center field.
The San Francisco third baseman ran through the stop sign of third base coach Tim Flannery and scored when Darnell McDonald overran the ball.
Wakefield then walked Aaron Rowand before Eli Whiteside singled to load the bases.
The opposing pitcher, Jonathan Sanchez, surprised the Red Sox with a perfect squeeze bunt between the mound and first base.
“Bases loaded, one out, I thought he might be swinging,’’ said Wakefield, who threw Sanchez a fastball to try to get ahead in the count.
Posey scored without the Sox making a play. Wakefield fielded the ball and tried to make a backhanded flip to first baseman Kevin Youkilis. The ball sailed away and Rowand scored from second.
“I should have just put it in my pocket and tried to get the next two guys out,’’ Wakefield said.
Said manager Terry Francona: “On [Sanchez’s] part, it was a great play. Instead of just probably eating it, Wake tried to finish the play and there were guys running all over the place.’’
The next hitter, Andres Torres, hit a ball back at the mound. With Whiteside coming to the plate, Wakefield used his glove to shovel the ball to catcher Victor Martinez and the tag was made in time.
Outside of that inning, the only run Wakefield allowed came in the third inning, when Juan Uribe homered. Wakefield has a 3.54 ERA in his last four starts but is 1-2.
For Wakefield, the bunt play was his only regret.
“I got caught up in the moment and tried to be aggressive and I threw the ball away,’’ he said. “Obviously it was the difference in the game.’’
Wakefield did have a productive night at the plate. He had a successful sacrifice in the second inning and in the seventh drew the third walk of his career.
The next hitter, Marco Scutaro, grounded to second and Wakefield aggressively slid at second baseman Freddy Sanchez, preventing the Giants from turning a double play.
“It’s fun being part of the game,’’ Wakefield said. “But the bottom line is I made the error that cost us the game.’’