Red Sox Squander Chances in Loss to Pirates


By WILL GRAVES    AP Sports Writer


PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Jose Tabata and Lyle Overbay each had two hits


and an RBI to lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 3-1 win over the


Boston Red Sox on Friday night.



Paul Maholm (4-8) beat an American League team for the first


time in nearly two years by surviving 5 1-3 eventful innings. Joel


Hanrahan worked a perfect the ninth to pick up his 21st save in as


many chances as the Pirates won their third straight to climb back


above .500.



Boston starter Jon Lester (9-4) pitched six solid innings but


failed to become the AL’s first 10-game winner, giving up three


runs, two earned, while striking out five and walking one.


Adrian Gonzalez had two hits to bump his major league-leading


average to .360, but the Red Sox left 11 men on base while dropping


their third straight to a National League team.



The Pirates, in the midst of their best start in a dozen years,


added a little quality to their quantity by shutting down


baseball’s most potent offense, at least for a night.


Pittsburgh improved to 38-37 thanks in large part to another


solid performance from the bullpen, which shut out the Red Sox over


the final 3 2-3 innings.



Not that the Red Sox didn’t have their chances, none better than


the eighth inning when they put runners on second and third with


one out. Reliever Jose Veras struck out Marco Scutaro then got


pinch-hitter David Ortiz to ground out to short to end the inning.


Boston’s second visit to Pittsburgh in over a century provided a


fair share of electricity thanks to the thousands of Red Sox fans


who were part of the third-largest crowd in PNC Park history. A


“Let’s Go Red Sox” chant broke out on the game’s very first


pitch, giving it a very Fenway Park-like feel.



The Pirates, however, were hardly pushovers.


Overbay, who sat out the three-game series against Baltimore


earlier in the week so he could spend more time in the batting cage


to work his way out of a prolonged slump, had two crisp hits while


Tabata continued his strong play as the leadoff hitter.



Maholm struggled with his command, needing 103 pitches _


including just 54 strikes _ to get through 5 1-3 innings, but he


managed to keep baseball’s top offense off the scoreboard.


Whenever Maholm found himself in trouble, he got out of it by


dominating Boston’s Darnell McDonald. The left fielder went hitless


in three at-bats against Maholm, stranding six men on base in the





The NL venue forced Ortiz to watch most of the game from the


bench. Boston manager Terry Francona hinted he may consider playing


Ortiz at first and send Gonzalez to right field but opted not to


take a chance on Friday because Francona didn’t want to put any


more stress on Boston’s already suspect defense.



Instead Mike Cameron got the start in right, but the veteran


looked very much like the rookie on a flyball from Mike McKenry in


the second. Cameron charged in to make the catch but misjudged the


flight and the ball skipped past him, allowing the Pirates to get


runners on second and third with no outs.



The miscue, officially ruled a double, helped the Pirates take a


2-1 lead.



Boston handed Pittsburgh an insurance run in the sixth after


third baseman Kevin Youkilis mishandled a grounder by Matt Diaz,


allowing Neil Walker to race from first to third. Overbay brought


him with a single to right.



NOTES: Pittsburgh 3B Chase d’Arnaud picked up his first major


league hit with a triple to left in the fifth inning. … The Red


Sox’s rained out game against Baltimore on May 17 has been


rescheduled for Sept. 19. … Boston RHP Bobby Jenks will make a


minor league rehabilitation appearance on Saturday for Double-A


Portland. Jenks hasn’t pitched since June 7 due to a strained back.


… The game served as a homecoming for Francona, who grew up in


New Brighton, about 45 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh. He


estimated a couple of busloads of friends from the town were coming


to the game.




(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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