Red Sox can't rebound from sloppy fourth inning


BOSTON - Losing Clay Buchholz in the 4th inning of Friday's 5-1 loss to the Yankees was a big blow to the Red Sox chances at winning.

But when Buchholz left the game, the Sox were only down 1-0. Sure, there were two men on, but there was one out for Robbie Ross Jr., who came on in relief.

Though Ross contributed to the sloppiness in the field during the fourth inning, nobody bailed him out, either.

Stephen Drew, who has struggled at the plate all season (and may be replaced at second base on Saturday as the Yankees are reportedly calling up second base prospect Rob Refsnyder) grounded to Mike Napoli at first base. It wasn't an easy grounder, but it's one that Napoli has fielded cleanly numerous times with the Sox. Nonetheless it bounced off him, and as he raced to the ball, Ross raced to the bag. Napoli flipped it to him in time, but Ross couldn't get his first on the base.

After initially ruling it an error on Napoli, the official scorer changed it to an error on Ross. The two can share the blame, as what should have been out No. 2 turned into a bases-loaded situation.

Ross got Cole Figueroa to pop out to Holt for the second out of the inning, but Holt couldn't come through in the next at-bat.

A routine grounder from Jacoby Ellsbury took a little extra hop on Holt. The ball bounced off him and that gave the speedy Ellsbury just enough time to beat the throw to first, scoring the run from third base (WATCH).

"Well, anytime you give a couple extra outs, you're asking for some trouble. A couple balls on the ground we didn't handle and as a result it extended the inning."

Holt has been trusted to play every position in the field over the last two years, and this was an uncharacteristic miss.

"Just a play I should make," Holt said. "It kicked up on me a little bit and just wasn't able to make the play. That gets us out of the inning there with no runs, so that was a big one."

But it wasn't the only one.

The next Yankees speedster stepped into the batter's box, and like Ellsbury got on base without hitting the ball out of the infield. Brett Gardner ripped a grounder to Napoli who made a diving play on the ball. But Ross wasn't quick enough to first base, and by the time Napoli had flipped it to him, Garnder slid head-first into first base. Safe. And another run scored from third (WATCH).

With the bases still loaded, Ross walked Alex Rodriguez on a full-count that scored the third and final run of the inning.

And just like that, the Sox lost their starting pitcher as well as any momentum they brought with them into the game.

Was losing Buchholz a bit of a shock to the infield's system?

"I don't think that was a big factor," Holt said. "Obviously you'd like to see him stay in the game and not come out due to injury. But like I said, Robbie came in and threw the ball really well and gave us a chance to get out of that inning with no runs. We just didn't make the plays."

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