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Final: Red Sox 15, Pirates 14

Posted by Adam Kilgore, Globe Staff  March 9, 2009 05:40 PM

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"A LONG DAY OF BASEBALL" (5:40, END 10, 15-14 SOX)
So sayeth Terry Francona, whose team won a marathon that took 4 hours and 10 minutes. The Red Sox took a 14-11 with two runs in the ninth, and the Pirates came back with three in their half off of side-armer Wes Littleton to send the game to extra innings. Josh Reddick, who had pinch run in the ninth, drove in the game-winning run with a double. Littleton actually got credit for the win after blowing a save; Blake Maxwell pitched the 10th for the save.

Not a good day for Billy Traber, who let the Pirates back into the game by allowing four earned runs in the eighth. He nearly collided with Andrew McCutheon while covering home plate following a passed ball. He also nearly collided with Chris Carter while backing up third base after a double -- the ultra-intense Carter sprinted in from left field to back up the throw to third.

A LONG DAY (4:16, BOT 8, 12-7 RED SOX)
It's been a pretty sloppy game, one played by lots and lots players not coming to a major league ballpark near you this season. Ramon Ramirez had a solid outing after a rocky one his last time out, striking out two and allowing just a hit in one inning. Manny Delcarmen had his first tough outing of the spring, allowing two earned runs on two hits and a walk. Catcher Dusty Brown added a solo home run, the fourth Red Sox longball today.

LOWRIEEE (2:30, BOT 3, 8-4 SOX)
Jed Lowrie did not commit an error as a shortstop all year last season. He has made two today in one inning, and could have been given a third, too. A groundball just ricocheted off his glove and into center, which happened a batter after he called for a pop up in shallow center and let it drop. Very strange to see this from Lowrie, one of the most reliable players the Red Sox have.

Lester found himself some trouble here; runners were on first and second and a run had already scored before he struck out Freddy Sanchez. There would have been one out if Lowrie had not bobbled a ground ball by Morgan. (Robinson Diaz, who doubled to lead off the inning, would have scored, anyway, though.) Lester has been replaced mid-inning by No. 96 Mike James, one of the extra pitchers the Red Sox brought with them. Francona said Lester would throw about 45 pitches today.

If you parlayed Bard, Green, and Brad Wilkerson all hitting home runs today, cash your betting slip now. Wilkerson crushed a grand slam to right-center after Lowrie reached on an error by Wilson, Bard walked, and Jeff Bailey singled. The Sox are making this one pretty ugly -- they scored five in the third before making an out, a Chris Carter strike out.

HOLY NICK GREEN (1:52, TOP 3, 4-0 SOX)
Nick Green, currently the leading hitter on the Red Sox, just blasted a home run to straight away center. Green, who did not play in the majors at all last season, has been destroying the Grapefruit League this spring; he came in with a .526 batting average, and he's got 11 hits now. That homer must have gone about 435 feet; it was an absolute bomb. In his career, Green 30, has an OPS+ of 72.

LESTER 2, LaROCHE FAMILY 0 (1:45, END 2, 3-0 SOX)
Brothers Adam and Andy LaRoche led off the second, and Lester them both -- Adam on a ground ball to McAnulty at first, Andy on a deep fly to left. For good measure, Lester struck out Jack Wilson to end the inning, his first K of the afternoon.

BARD-H (1:40, MID 2, 3-0 SOX)
The Red Sox -- Paul McAnulty, George Kottaras, and Gil Velazquez -- went in order in the second. In his career, by the way, Bard has four at bats over two games as a DH. He's 0 for 4 with a walk and a run. This spring, he's 1 for 1 with a three-run homer.

Jon Lester, apparently the latest member of the Red Sox long-term core to strike a deal with the team, pitched a scoreless first inning despite allowing two hits in his first appearance since the contract extension became public (if not official). Nyjer Morgan led with an infield single to second base, but Lester picked him off. Freddy Sanchez grounded to short, and Nate McLouth lined a single up the middle. Ryan Doumit skied one to left to end the inning.

Welcome to McKechnie Field, where we have it's a Chamber of Commerce day: 83 degrees with a slight breeze. The Red Sox did not bring what you'd call a representative team here today -- the only projected starters are Jed Lowrie and Jon Lester. There's really nothing Terry Francona could do, though, with several regulars at the World Baseball Classic and a few others in and out of the training room. Jacoby Ellsbury did not make the trip because his hamstring has been feeling sore; it's nothing serious.

The Red Sox, batting against Tom Gorzelanny, scored three runs without recording an out. Gorzelanny hit leadoff batter Nick Green, Lowrie walked, and Josh Bard -- at DH -- crushed a long, high home run over the left field fence.

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