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
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
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.)