PITTSBURGH — Avast, ye mateys, that was an ugly game.
There were six errors, nine walks, 18 runners left on base and a few other mistakes that won’t show up in the stats. But after losing four straight, the Red Sox weren’t going to argue with a 4-2 result. They packed up and got the heck out town.
“We persevered,” Terry Francona said.
Andrew Miller was a solid again, going six innings and allowing one earned run. He scattered five hits (all singles), walked one and struck out four. Francona praised his poise, pointing out that Miller had to get a few extra outs because of the defensive lapses behind him.
Miller did not have the same good changeup he had in his first start. But he compensated with a better breaking ball. That he is able to do that is certainly encouraging given his previous woes in Detroit and Florida. He’s becoming a pitcher, not just a guy with a good arm.
The offense was fueled by four Pittsburgh errors. The entertainment came in the seventh inning when David Ortiz tagged up on a fairly shallow fly ball to right field.
“I was going with everything I’ve got,” he said.
Garrett Jones made an accurate throw. Ortiz didn’t slide as much as he did lunge at the plate with his plate with his right foot while shoving catcher Eric Fryer out of the way with his left shoulder.
The tag was late and the Sox had a two-run lead.
“You know what? He did pretty good,” Francona said. “Big fella got the legs moving. I don’t know about that slide. It looked like a car accident.”
Said Ortiz: “It wasn’t that bad. That’s what I would say.”
Fryer, who was playing in his first major league game, ended up on his backside.
“He took it like a man,” Ortiz said.
The bullpen took it from there as Alfredo Aceves, Daniel Bard and Jonathan Papelbon were a batter away from perfect.
As to other stuff:
• J.D. Drew fouled off a bunt into his left eye before the game. That’s why he left after one inning. Francona didn’t seem to think it would be an issue.
If you had to put money down on “Which Red Sox player would leave the game because of bunting a ball into his eye?” would you have bet your house on Drew or just a few mortgage payments?
• Tommy Hottovy was saying good-bye after the game. It appears he is headed back to Pawtucket to make room for Bobby Jenks. That would leave the Red Sox without a lefty against the Phillies and fearsome Ryan Howard.
But given Hottovy’s control issues, that may be just as well.
• A young reporter working on a preview of the Philadelphia series mentioned to Jonathan Papelbon that folks in Philadelphia hated Francona. “That’s OK, I hate him, too,” Papelbon said without blinking an eye. You should have seen the look on the poor kid’s face.
• Tito Francona, the manger’s father, was seated behind his desk in the clubhouse before the game holding court. Terry really enjoyed having his father around this weekend.
I realize that people will occasionally differ with Francona’s strategy. But you should know that this is a guy who really appreciates where he is and what he does. That he gets to share it with his father only adds to it.
• It was fun to see so many Red Sox fans here this weekend and to meet a few of you.
The game drew 39,511 fans, a record for PNC Field. The series also set a record with 118,324 coming through the gates.
The team is off tomorrow but we’ll have some blogging en route to Philadelphia. Thanks to everybody for reading this weekend.