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Red Sox 9, Athletics 8

Extra motivation for Sox’ Drew

After 4 K’s, he singles in game-winner in 14th

By Peter Abraham
Globe Staff / June 5, 2011

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Until yesterday, J.D. Drew had never struck out four times in a game in his five seasons with the Red Sox.

“That’s aggravating,’’ he said. “You never want something like that to happen.’’

But he more than made up for it. Because until yesterday, Drew had never had a walkoff hit for the Sox, either.

A long, frustrating, and emotional day came to a fruitful end in the 14th inning when Drew’s single scored Carl Crawford from second base to give the Red Sox a 9-8 victory over Oakland.

Those players who had the energy mobbed Drew as he rounded first. His single ended a game that lasted 5 hours and 17 minutes and featured 495 pitches.

“There’s something to be said for persistence,’’ Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I don’t know that this is exactly like we drew it up.’’

The Sox kicked away a 7-3 lead in the ninth inning as Jonathan Papelbon allowed four runs, all after Dustin Pedroia booted a ground ball that looked sure to be a game-ending double play.

Before the inning ended, both Papelbon and catcher Jason Varitek had been ejected.

The teams each scored a run in the 11th inning as darkness began to fall. In the 14th, Crawford doubled with two outs against righthander Guillermo Moscoso. Oakland intentionally walked Jed Lowrie to get to Drew.

Drew had delivered an RBI single way back in the fifth inning, then struck out swinging in each of the four at-bats that followed. This time he took a strike, then lined a fastball to right-center.

“Got the barrel to it, hit it to short right-center field, which was the perfect spot for it,’’ he said.

Drew, who keeps his emotions well in check, said he thought the four previous at-bats actually helped him.

“Couple of good swings in every one of those at-bats,’’ he said. “Trying to draw from that. Stay short, see the ball, and hit it.’’

Said Francona, “It was a good swing. I think he was ready to go home. I think we all were.’’

The single made a winner of Alfredo Aceves, who allowed one run over four innings of relief.

“Terry kept asking me if I was OK. I said, ‘Yes, sir.’ I was fine,’’ said Aceves, who threw 71 pitches three days after throwing 78 in a start against Chicago. “I just wanted to help us win that game.’’

The Sox took a 7-3 lead into the ninth, the product of six decent innings from Josh Beckett and three runs driven in by Crawford, who was 4 for 7 on the day.

Francona decided to use Papelbon in a non-save situation because the closer had started warming up in the eighth before the Sox padded their lead with two runs.

“That’s the way we do it,’’ he said. “Pap knew that if the lead was four runs, he was coming in.’’

An apparently unfocused Papelbon gave up a single to Mark Ellis, then walked Daric Barton. He came back to strike out Landon Powell before getting Coco Crisp to ground toward second base.

What looked like a possible double play turned into a disaster as the ball went between Pedroia’s legs and a run scored.

“I thought it was going to bounce up and it stayed down,’’ said Pedroia, who had made just two errors all season. “I just missed it, man. You hate to make errors, especially in that situation.’’

After Cliff Pennington’s double drove in a run, Varitek was ejected for protesting the strike zone of umpire Tony Randazzo.

Pinch hitter Conor Jackson followed with a line shot that deflected off the glove of a diving Kevin Youkilis at third base and went for a two-run single.

Papelbon was then ejected by Randazzo and responded by charging at the umpire. Papelbon had to be held back as he pointed at Randazzo and tried to further confront him.

Papelbon had his back turned to the plate when Randazzo came walking toward him. When Papelbon saw that, he became enraged and his first career ejection swiftly followed.

Crew chief Brian Gorman, speaking for Randazzo, refused comment.

Papelbon, oddly, was ejected after throwing a pitch to Ryan Sweeney that was called a strike. He claimed to be talking to catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia about the strike zone.

“I had no idea what his zone was,’’ Papelbon said. “I guess he may have jumped to the conclusion that I was talking to him. I felt he threw his arms up in the air for no reason. Then everything unfolded the way it did.’’

Bobby Jenks took the mound and allowed a single by Sweeney. But he came back to strike out Josh Willingham. He struck out Hideki Matsui for what looked like the end of the inning, but the ball rolled away from Saltalamacchia. Jackson crossed the plate, but the run did not count as Saltalamacchia made a long, accurate throw to first base in time for the third out.

Oakland took the lead in the 11th on a sacrifice fly by Sweeney off Aceves. The Sox were down to their last out in the bottom of the inning when doubles by Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury tied it up against Oakland closer Andrew Bailey.

“That’s a hard way to win a game,’’ Drew said. “But it’s better than losing it, right?’’

Peter Abraham can be reached at pabraham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @peteabe.

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