Red Sox lose home opener as Milwaukee erupts for 4 runs in ninth
BOSTON -- The pomp and circumstance of Opening Day was held under partly sunny skies at Fenway Park. By the time the game ended, the skies were cloudy and the result was not what the Boston Red Sox were hoping for.
The Red Sox and the Milwaukee Brewers took a tie game into the ninth inning, but the Brewers scored four times against reliever Edward Mujica and went on to beat the Sox 6-2, spoiling the party for 36,728 fans at Fenway Park.
"They're all downers when you lose," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "We obviously wanted to win. It was the home opener in front of our fans.
"They executed and had some good at-bats before we could get to them."
The Red Sox, who pounded Baltimore pitching for 14 hits in Thursday's series finale, were limited to five hits by Milwaukee starter Marco Estrada and three relievers. Brandon Kintzler, the third of the four pitchers, tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning to get the win. Francisco Rodriguez set the Red Sox down in order in the ninth to close the door.
"It's tough. We hit some good balls, but right at people," said third baseman Will Middlebrooks. "We lost the first game of the season [in Baltimore]. We'll come back and go at them [today]."
The loss was the first for the Red Sox in a home opener since 2004, and they have lost only five of the last 22 openers at Fenway.
For the fourth consecutive game, the Red Sox got a quality performance from their starter. On Friday it was right-hander Jake Peavy, who gave up two earned runs on six hits in six innings. Peavy struck out four and walked two. He gave up both runs in the top of the second. Milwaukee catcher Jonathon Lucroy hit a 2-0 pitch into the Green Monster seats for a leadoff home run, and with two outs, Carlos Gomez hit an RBI single that plated Khris Davis.
"My feel wasn't what it was in spring training. It was a little different," said Peavy. "Any time you have a chance to win and you don't have your best stuff, you don't feel the best. At the end of the day, you want to pitch deeper into ballgames and give up less than two runs. That's just all there is to it."
Lucroy, Davis and Aramis Ramirez each had two hits as the Brewers had 12 hits against four Boston pitchers.
The Red Sox scored single runs in the second and third innings. They scored an unearned run in the second when Grady Sizemore singled to right, and Mike Napoli scored when right fielder Logan Schafer airmailed a throw for an error. Middlebrooks hit his first homer of the year an inning later, tying the game at 2. From there, both teams put zeroes on the board until the ninth.
Mujica was making his Fenway debut in the ninth inning. He was with the St. Louis Cardinals last October for the World Series, but never threw a pitch in the game. After Burke Badenhop pitched two scoreless innings, Boston manager John Farrell had the former Cardinal ready for the ninth.
"They came out swinging against Mojica. Knowing that he's been in the National League Central, they're familiar with him," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "At the same time, Edward's had a lot of success against that lineup. He mislocated a couple of balls and unfortunately, [Friday], paid for it."
Davis led off with a double into the left-field corner. The Brewers played for one run and Scooter Gennett was bunting. Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski fielded the ball and threw to third, but Davis slid in ahead of the tag. Lyle Overbay was the next batter, and he belted a double to right, scoring both runners. Gomez and Ramirez gave the Brewers some insurance with run-scoring singles.
"They got the leadoff double. We tried to be aggressive and get the lead runner on the bunt, and it kind of led to their big inning," Pierzynski said. "Those things happen. He bunted hard enough that we could get the guy at third. We tried to be aggressive. Unfortunately, it was a close play and he was safe."
Rodriguez got Jonny Gomes looking, Sizemore on a grounder to Gennett at second and Xander Bogaerts on a pop fly to Gennett to end the game.
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