Brewers lose twice
Mike Lowell hit a two-run homer and doubled in a pair of runs, and the Boston Red Sox survived a battle of bumbling infielders to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 on Saturday and complete a sweep of their day-night doubleheader.
The teams’ infielders combined for seven errors in the nightcap — four by the Brewers — the most in a game this season. None was by Boston first baseman Kevin Youkilis, who had the go-ahead single and played his major league record 222nd straight game at first without an error.
“I have no clue,” Boston centerfielder Coco Crisp said, recalling the misplays. “You can come to a game and see many different types of games. You can see a web gem, or you can see a game like today.”
In the opener, Daisuke Matsuzaka held Milwaukee to a pair of unearned runs pitching into the seventh inning, and David Ortiz hit a three-run homer to help the Red Sox beat the Brewers 5-3.
Manny Ramirez, two homers shy of becoming the 24th player in major league history to hit 500, had the second game off after going 1-for-3 during the day.
Boston starter Tim Wakefield gave up three runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings under the lights, and left with a 5-1 lead. But David Aardsma allowed a pair of inherited runners to score and Craig Hansen gave up three unearned runs to give Milwaukee a 6-5 lead.
The Red Sox answered in their half of the seventh when Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia reached on errors, ending up on second and third after third baseman Bill Hall threw a potential double play ball into right field. David Ortiz’s grounder drove in a run and Youkilis blooped a single to right off Salomon Torres (3-1).
“The Red Sox made a bunch of errors, too, and they’re World Champions,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “Think they’re learning anything tonight? It happens. You make errors.”
Hansen (1-2) got the win. Mike Timlin pitched the ninth for his first save, at 42 years, 68 days, becoming the oldest to record a save since John Franco did it with the Mets at 42 years, 341 days on Aug. 24, 2003.
“We used every pitcher that was available and we found a way to win,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Just like the opener, Boston grabbed the lead in the first inning after the first two batters were retired, going ahead on Lowell’s two-run double.
His two-run homer, a shot that cleared the seats above the Green Monster, gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead in the third. They added a run in the fifth without a hit when Ellsbury reached on shortstop Craig Counsell’s fielding error and later scored when Hall bobbled a grounder.
With Matsuzaka (7-0) on the mound in the opener, Boston didn’t need any help from the Brewers’ shoddy defense.
He gave up seven hits over 6 2-3 innings and tied the Angels’ Joe Saunders for the AL lead in wins. Dice-K held the Brewers scoreless until two outs in the seventh, when Rickie Weeks reached on a fielding error and Mike Cameron homered to left.
He’s two wins away from tying Josh Beckett’s 9-0 start last season, not that he’s willing to call himself the staff ace yet.
“I want to keep winning,” Matsuzaka said, smiling briefly to an interpreter. “But I think Boston’s ace is Josh Beckett.”
Jason Varitek added a pair of doubles for the Red Sox, who avoided matching their longest losing streak this season. Boston had lost its previous four games to close a 10-game trip.
Ortiz homered into the first row of the seats above the Monster in the second off Jeff Suppan (2-3), driving in Julio Lugo and Ellsbury and extending the Red Sox lead to 4-0.
Matsuzaka walked the first batter he faced but settled down after that. He escaped a jam in the sixth with runners on second and third and no outs, striking out Hart and J.J. Hardy before Joe Dillon flied out.
“I guess I’ve stopped thinking I’m a pitcher that can paint the corners,” said Matsuzaka, who walked eight in five innings two starts ago. “I’m throwing a little less there.”
The Red Sox have won Matsuzaka’s last 11 starts.
“One inning we had the bases loaded and didn’t score,” Yost said. “We got the pitch count up high and that was a nice inning to battle through — make him throw pitches and got his pitch count up.”
Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs for his 12th save, despite giving up a solo homer to Ryan Braun with two out.
Suppan gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings, and lost for the third time in four starts. The Brewers have lost three straight overall.
After retiring the first two batters in the first, Suppan walked Ortiz, hit Ramirez on the left hand and allowed Youkilis’ single. J.D. Drew then walked to give Boston a 1-0 lead.
Notes:Ellsbury has been successful on all 25 stolen-base attempts in his career, most by a Red Sox rookie since 1920. ... Brewers LF Gabe Kapler, who retired prior to last season after playing with the Red Sox, received a nice ovation before his first at-bat in the second game. ... Crisp was back in the lineup for the nightcap after leaving Tuesday’s game in Baltimore with a headache and upset stomach. ... The Red Sox wore their red jerseys for the first time this season in the night game. ... Boston RHP Curt Schilling, rehabbing from shoulder weakness since spring training, threw from 90 feet Friday. ... The Red Sox plan to option OF Jonathan Van Every to Pawtucket and RHP Chris Smith’s contract will be purchased from Triple-A on Sunday.