Matsuzaka, Red Sox fall to Angels in 13 innings
In a game that appeared to have everything but an ending, the Angels scratched out two runs in the 13th inning off Daisuke Matsuzaka to defeat the Red Sox, 5-3, at 2:45 a.m. in a game that lasted almost eight hours at Fenway Park.
Matsuzaka, making his first relief appearance in the majors, gave up a single to Howie Kendrick to open the 13th, and a two-out single by Peter Bourjos.
"It was a tough spot to put Daisuke in,'' said manager Terry Francona. "But we had no other choice. The good news was today was his day to pitch.''
He walked Erick Aybar to load the bases, and Bobby Abreu delivered a two-run single to right.
"When I showed up today, I didn't think I'd be talking to you guys at 3 in the morning,'' Francona said after the Sox played their longest game at Fenway since a 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay Sept. 10, 2008. That contest went 14 innings and lasted 5:02.
Kevin Youkilis almost ended it in the 12th, smoking a shot to left that appeared to be gone. But the ball hit off the wall, and Marco Scutaro, who had singled, was easily thrown out at the plate on a perfect relay from Vernon Wells to shortstop Aybar to catcher Hank Conger. With Youkilis at second, Darnell McDonald reached on an infield hit to third, but Jed Lowrie grounded to first to end the inning.
"We had our chances,'' Francona said.
Lowrie may have broken up a no-hit bid by a trio of pitchers with his seventh-inning single to right off Scott Downs, but Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI single highlighted a two-run ninth inning that tied the score, 3-3, and sent a game already rain-delayed for 2 hours and 35 minutes into extra innings.
The Fenway Park crowd, which had thinned from 37,037 to fewer than a 1,000 hardy souls by the time the game resumed at 11:05 p.m., were treated to free hot chocolate and coffee during the rain delay. And they were treated to extras in this hardball all-nighter.
Trailing 2-0, the Sox scored in the eighth on Adrian Gonzalez’s dribbler down the third-base line, which drove in Jason Varitek, who had a leadoff double to right and went to third on Ellsbury’s grounder to first. Gonzalez went to second when pitcher Fernando Rodney fielded the ball and went and flipped it over the head of Conger trying to nail Varitek.
Rodney got out of the inning when David Ortiz flied to right, leaving men on the corners.
The Sox atoned in the ninth, however, when Lowrie drew a leadoff walk from Jordan Walden, the fifth of six Angels pitchers. Mike Cameron singled to left, advancing Lowrie to second. A wild pitch with Carl Crawford at the plate advanced both runners, and a throwing error by Conger to third enabled Lowrie to score, pulling the Sox within 3-2.
Cameron, however, got thrown out trying to take third on the play.
After Crawford doubled to left, Varitek struck out, setting up Ellsbury to deliver the tying single off a 3-and-2 pitch. Ellsbury extended his hitting streak to 13 games and extended the game to extra innings.
The Sox ran into a buzz saw in the form of Ervin Santana, who threw four scoreless innings of seven-strikeout, no-hit ball before the game was delayed by rain at 8:30 p.m. with one out in the fifth inning.
Call it a redemptive rain shower for the Sox, who struggled against the Angels righthander.
With two outs in the first inning, Gonzalez drew a walk, but was stranded when Youkilis, in the lineup after sitting out Tuesday night’s 7-3 victory with flu-like symptoms, flied to right.
Santana, who had a career-high 17 wins last season, retired the next eight batters he faced.
He struck out the side in the second and finally allowed a runner with two outs in the fourth when he hit Youkilis on his left hand. It was the 71st time Youkilis had been hit in his career, tying the club record set by Mo Vaughn.
Santana got out of the inning when he struck out Ortiz, who showed no ill effects from the ball he fouled off his right ankle in the second inning.
Josh Beckett scuffled in the first inning. He loaded the bases, issuing a leadoff walk to Aybar, a one-out single to right to Izturis, and a walk to Torii Hunter, which set the table for Alberto Callaspo, who grounded into a 4-6-3 double play.
Beckett retired six in a row before he walked Izturis to start the fourth.
Varitek threw out Izturis at second, his second caught stealing of the season after allowing nine steals in 10 previous attempts.
Beckett then caught Hunter looking at a 92 mile-per-hour fastball for a called third strike and got out of the fourth when he got Callaspo to hit a warning-track fly to center.
Beckett started the fifth by striking out Kendrick for the second time, then play was halted because of rain.
The rain delay put a damper on the marvelous pitching duel between Santana and Beckett, both of whom departed the game once it resumed at 11:05 p.m.
Matt Albers, who threw two perfect innings in Sunday’s 3-2 win over the Mariners, relieved Beckett (4 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts) and struck out Wells with a 94-mile-per-hour fastball before allowing Conger to reach on a single up the middle.
Albers got out of the inning by getting Bourjous to whiff on a slider.
Rich Thompson, who had recorded 15 strikeouts in his last 7 2/3 innings, was summoned in the fifth to keep the no-hitter alive. He turned in a tidy 1-2-3 inning, ringing up strikeouts of Cameron and Crawford after getting Lowrie to pop to third.
Aybar greeted Albers in the sixth with a leadoff double to right. After Bobby Abreu grounded to the mound and Izturis reached on a walk, Aybar went to third on Hunter’s ground out to third. It put men in scoring position with two out for Callaspo, who wound up popping up to short to end the inning.
The Sox threatened in the bottom of the sixth when Varitek drew a leadoff walk, but got forced out at second on Ellsbury’s fielder’s choice. Ellsbury, who beat out the throw to first, stole second (his eighth stolen base of the season) and went to third on Dustin Pedroia’s fly ball to right. It prompted Angels manager Mike Scioscia to summon Scott Downs, who came in with two outs and got Gonzalez to ground to short.
Dan Wheeler relieved Albers (1 2/3 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts) in the seventh, and Vernon Wells smoked an 0-and-2 pitch off the light stanchion in left to give the Angels a 2-0 lead. Wells’s third homer of the season scored Kendrick, who reached on a leadoff double to left.
After Wheeler issued his first walk of the season, to Conger, and then induced Bourjous to fly to deep center, Hideki Okajima came in and got Aybar to pop a bunt to the mound and struck out Abreu.
Michael Vega can be reached at email@example.com.