Red Sox notebook

Playing long ball is tiring

14-inning loss was draining

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / July 27, 2011

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Red Sox manager Terry Francona canceled batting practice yesterday and told his players to take their time reporting to Fenway Park. Getting some extra rest was paramount following the events of Monday night.

The Royals beat the Sox, 3-1, in a 14-inning game that ended at 1:59 a.m. The game was delayed by rain for 2 hours 21 minutes before the first pitch.

Randy Williams, the seventh Sox pitcher, took the loss when he surrendered two runs on three hits.

But the game was truly lost earlier.

The Sox stranded runners in scoring position in the ninth, 11th, 13th, and 14th innings. They were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

Their biggest missed opportunity came in the 12th.

With Josh Reddick on third and one out, Francona called for a suicide squeeze bunt. But Marco Scutaro missed the sign and Reddick was run down after he broke for the plate.

“I didn’t see the sign. It was my fault. I just missed the sign,’’ Scutaro said after the game. “I really can’t say nothing else. It was just my fault. Tito’s trying to get something going. It’s late; we haven’t scored runs. We’ve been kind of struggling, bringing guys in from third base. Like I said, it was my fault.’’

As the game went into the 14th inning, starter John Lackey put on his spikes and volunteered to pitch. The Sox already had used six relievers and were not going to pitch Alfredo Aceves, who had thrown 46 pitches Sunday.

“We were in a little bit of a bind. We did not want to touch Aceves,’’ Francona said. “He was volunteering, also.’’

The decision was to stick with Williams.

“As long as Williams wasn’t in getting in danger of hurting himself, we were probably going to stay with Randy until something happened,’’ Francona said.

It was the third time this season the Sox have played a game that lasted at least 14 innings. They are 2-1 in those games.

Lineup jumble The Sox put a creative lineup onto the field for last night’s 13-9 victory against the Royals. Darnell McDonald hit leadoff for the second time this season with Scutaro second and Dustin Pedroia hitting fourth. Rookie Yamaico Navarro was at third base.

Jacoby Ellsbury and Kevin Youkilis were not in the lineup.

For Ellsbury, his day off lasted only four innings. He pinch hit in the fifth and was 2 for 3 with a double. That extended his hitting streak to eight games.

Youkilis was injured when he jammed his foot on the first base bag in the sixth inning Monday night.

“He’s a little sore. But he came through the exam pretty good,’’ Francona said. “I think we’ve all seen Youk enough, he certainly wears it on his sleeve. That’s not bad. When he hit the bag, it looked bad. He kind of came off limping and then we got him out of there for precautionary reasons and I’m glad we did. He’ll be fine.’’

Youkilis is not expected to play tonight. Francona indicated he would try and give Carl Crawford a day off. Crawford was 1 for 5 with a bases-loaded walk.

He is 1 for 11 in the last two games with six strikeouts.

Buchholz update Clay Buchholz felt only “general soreness’’ after throwing off the mound Monday, according to Francona.

The righthander, who hasn’t pitched since June 16 because of a sore lower back, will discuss his situation with team trainers and doctors and determine the next step in his rehab.

Francona said the goal was for Buchholz to be confident once the Sox get “fast and aggressive’’ with the process of getting him back in the rotation.

Buchholz could get back on the mound as soon as today.

“Some of it will depend how he feels. As we turn him loose, we want everybody to feel good about it,’’ Francona said. “It’s getting pretty aggressive now after [Monday]. So we just want to kind of cover everything.’’

Buchholz will need several bullpen sessions to build arm strength before embarking on a minor league rehabilitation assignment. He is not expected to return earlier than mid-August.

Drew to the DL The Sox officially placed outfielder J.D. Drew on the disabled list with what was described as a “left shoulder impingement.’’

Infielder Drew Sutton was recalled from Triple A Pawtucket. The Sox intended to make the move Monday but Sutton had a personal issue to attend to.

This is the ninth time in his career that Drew has been on the disabled list, but just the second time since he joined the team in 2007.

Time changes The Aug. 8 Twins-Red Sox game at Fenway will start at 7:10 p.m., not 8:10 p.m., as originally scheduled. The Sept. 3 game against Texas was selected by Fox and now will start at 4:10 p.m., not 7:10 . . . Reliever Bobby Jenks, who is on the DL because of strained back muscles, is not making much progress, according to Francona . . . Infielder Jed Lowrie is taking soft toss but has yet to hit on the field as he returns from a shoulder injury. Francona said the Sox expect Lowrie to return before the end of the season . . . The Sox have 10 or more hits in 10 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in the majors this season . . . Alfredo Aceves, who went 3 2/3 innings for the win, is now 20-2 in his career. He is the first pitcher to win 20 of his first 22 decisions since Howie Krist was 20-2 for St. Louis from 1937-42. Aceves has won 15 straight relief decisions, the longest streak in the majors since Phil Reagan won 15 straight for the Dodgers from 1966-67 . . . Jason Varitek’s home in the seventh inning was his first hitting righthanded this season. He and Elston Howard are the only Red Sox catchers to hit a home run after the age of 39 . . . ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale sat next to the Kansas City dugout last night and met with Francona on the field beforehand.

Peter Abraham can be reached at

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