Red Sox Drop Game 1 To A’s

By Francis Walker
Updated: November 16, 2007

Pedro Martinez NEW YORK, NY. —When Pedro Martinez steps to the mound it’s almost certain that the Boston Red Sox will win. There is no easy out in their batting line-up as hitters such as Bill Mueller, Todd Walker, David Ortiz, and Normar Garciaparra helped the Red Sox set Major League records for slugging percentage (.491), extra base hits (649), and total bases (2,832), and a franchise record 238 homers. Given these impressive numbers, no one expected the Red Sox to come up short in Game 1 of their ALDS showdown against the Oakland Athletics.

Perhaps the only flaw in the Red Sox attack is their suspect bullpen, which failed them again when Derek Lowe (1 2/3 innings, 4 walks, one run) loaded the bases and allowed Ramon Hernandez’ game-winning infield RBI bunt-single. Eric Chavez scored from third to give the A’s a dramatic 12th inning 5-4 win.

The A’s took a 1-0 lead in their best-of-five series.

The Red Sox trailed 3-1, but battled back ferociously behind Todd Walker and Jason Varitek, who both hit solo homers off A’s starter Tim Hudson. Hudson, who lasted 6 2/3-innings, allowed two runs on ten hits, 6 strikeouts.

Hudson, who had control of the game with one out in the sixth after Ortiz popped out, began throwing his pitches underhanded while favoring his left side.

Immediately following Hudson’s departure, Ricardo Rincon allowed a two-out, two-run homer to Walker, as the Red Sox took a 4-3 lead.

The A’s threatened Martinez in the bottom of the seventh, but Martinez took himself out of a bases loaded jam. Martinez, overall, allowed three runs on six hits, three strikeouts with four walks on 130 pitches.

The Red Sox should have kept Martinez in because; the bullpen let a very crucial game slip away.

With one out in the ninth, Kim walked Billy McMillon and hit left-hander Chris Singleton inside with a breaking ball before striking out Mark Ellis. The Red Sox then sent lefty Alan Embree, who allowed Erubiel Durazo’s two-out game tying single to left field to score Eric Brynes. Earlier in the third inning, Durazo’s two-run double in the third inning off Martinez. Durazo went 2 for 4, 3 RBI’s.

The Red Sox had plenty of opportunities to score, but Johnny Damon, a career .400-hitter, left the bases loaded with two out in the eighth. Damon Jackson could have won the game for the Red Sox with runners on first and second, but missed on a 2-2 count. Gabe Kapler stranded two runners on base when he grounded out to Eric Chavez, who made game saving play in the top of the 12th.