There were no talk of playing for pride in the Red Sox clubhouse or getting ready for next season after Friday night’s 6-5 loss in 10 innings against the Twins. Nothing like that.
But for the first time this season, it was hard not to miss the sense of resignation among the players.
The season is two-thirds over and the Red Sox have lost one more game than they have won. They are 10 games out of first and four games behind in a crowded wild-card race.
The Red Sox also have lost three straight after winning four in a row. The momentum gained by two dramatic victories against the Yankees in New York then a series victory against the Tigers has been lost.
“That seems to be the story of the season,” Adrian Gonzalez said, his voice just above a whisper.
A day after they were held to two hits, the Sox had 14. But they blew a four-run lead, failing to score over the final seven innings. They were 3 for 14 with runners in scoring position and have dropped the first two games in a series against a team they swept on the road back in April.
“Talent can only go so far. You have to figure out ways to win,” Cody Ross said. “There’s a difference between being a really talented group and a winning group. On paper it looks like that, but right now it feels like we’re reading water. It’s not a good feeling. We have to snap out of it.”
The Twins scored the winning run on what amounted to a defensive misplay. With Vicente Padilla on the mound in the 10th inning, Darin Mastroianni hit a fly ball to the gap in right field.
Ross and center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury converged, but the ball fell between them for a double.
“Yeah,” manager Bobby Valentine said when asked if the ball could have been caught. “I thought it hung up there long enough. … When it was off the bat, I thought it was going to be caught.”
Ross, Valentine said, was playing a few steps to the line.
“I don’t know if Ells came over enough with him,” the manager said.
Ross took responsibility.
“I feel like I should have caught it,” he said. “Any ball that’s hit my way, I feel like I should catch. It’s tough to defend the whole field; it’s a big field out there. I caught a couple of ball down the line that could have easily been triples. That one drops in. Just so happens it’s in a big part of the game.”
Ellsbury was not available for comment.
The Twins tried a bunt that was popped up by Brian Dozier. Third baseman Will Middlebrooks dove to catch the ball in foul territory. But his effort was wasted when Jamey Carroll singled to center to drive in the go-ahead run.
“We should have won tonight, no doubt about it,” Gonzalez said. “Today’s frustrating because of where we are. We’re getting close to the end of the year. We have two months to go, these are the kind of games we can’t afford to lose.”
• The Sox are 2-6 in extra innings, 0-4 at home.
• Carl Crawford was 3 for 5 with a homer, a double and three RBIs. He has hit two home runs off lefties this season, one fewer than all last year.
• The Sox haven’t lost back-to-back games against the Twins at Fenway since 2006.
• Somebody needs to get with Felix Doubront and set him straight about his body language on the mound. If there is an obvious blown call, the pitcher is entitled to a dirty look or something of that nature. Veteran pitchers often stop by the umpire on their way to the dugout after the inning for a discreet word or two.
But Doubront isn’t helping himself with his gyrations and assorted tantrums. He’s 24 and in his first full year in the majors. That’s not doing himself any favors with the arbiters.
Thanks to everybody for reading today. I’ll be doing the pre and post-game shows on NESN on Sunday with Dale Arnold (and, I think, Jim Rice). Hope you tune in.