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Red Sox Squander Chances in Loss to Pirates

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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

 

process.

 

 

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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