BOSTON – The script seemed so right. Here were the Boston Red Sox toying with the Milwaukee Brewers, locked into a 2-2 game heading into the ninth inning.
These are the magical Red Sox, who earlier received their World Series rings in an emotional ceremony.
How would they end it? Who would get the walk-off hit? Did you know Jonny Gomes was going to lead off the bottom of the ninth? But before Boston fans could get to the happy ending, someone screwed up the preceding chapter.
Gomes came to the plate in the ninth, his team down 6-2.
Milwaukee’s four-run rally in the top of the inning was plenty as the Brewers bested Boston 6-2 Friday afternoon in the Red Sox home opener in front of a sold-out crowd of 36,728 at Fenway Park.
How unlikely was Friday’s result? Consider that Boston (2-2) had won its previous nine home openers. Fans not only celebrate the return of baseball in New England, they usually toast it with a victory.
Boston looked in good shape when it sent out one of the new additions, reliever Edward Mujica, the former closer for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Mujica (0-1) allowed a leadoff double to Khris Davis.
Scooter Gennett bunted to Mujica, who tried to throw out Davis at third. But Will Middlebrooks’ tag was late. It was a close play. But Boston Manager John Farrell opted not to make a challenge with the new video replay rules.
“The safe call came. In the conversation with our video (people), it didn’t seem like the replay was conclusive,” Farrell said.
It may not have mattered. Lyle Overbay followed with a double, scoring two runs. Mujica gave up two more hits and two more runs before being relieved by Andrew Miller.
“They are familiar with him being in the same division (Brewers and Cardinals),” Farrell said. “At the same time, Edward’s had a lot of success against that lineup. But he mislocated a couple of balls and unfortunately, he paid for it.”
Meanwhile, Boston managed only five hits in the game, four off starter Marco Estrada.
“We couldn’t get anything going,” said catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts. “(Estrada) had a good change-up and could throw it in any count. His fastballs kept us honest.”
Jake Peavy started for Boston and allowed two runs in the second inning – Jonathan Lucroy’s home run over the left-field wall and Carlos’ Gomes’ two-out RBI. After that, Peavy retired nine of the last 11 batters he faced.
“He got into a nice rhythm,” Farrell said.
Boston got one run in the second when a Grady Sizemore single and outfield throwing error by Logan Schafer allowed Mike Napoli to score.
Sizemore reached third and tried to score on Xander Bogaerts’ shallow fly ball to right. Schafer threw him out.
“No second-guessing,” Farrell said. “He threw a strike from 200 feet.”
Will Middlebrooks tied the game in the third with a solo home run.
“First time around (Estrada) was getting ahead of guys with fastballs and he put one over the middle to me,” Middlebrooks said.
Boston got only one hit off the Brewers’ bullpen – a David Ortiz single in the eighth that ended in Napoli’s double-play grounder.
But overall, few threats from the Red Sox. But the game was still tied.
New Boston reliever Burke Badenhop held Milwaukee scorelesss for two innings. Then it was Mujica’s turn. Farrell said he didn’t consider Junichi Tazawa or Koji Uehara because both had pitched two straight days and it was too early to push them.
Besides, Mujica wasn’t signed to a two-year, $9.5 million deal to be avoided. He was called upon and it did not work out.
“A long day for the guys,” Peavy said. “We get back at them (Saturday).”
Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: