SAN FRANCISCO — The Red Sox had a 2-1 lead on the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night. Then came a series of events that make for good baseball conversation. Let’s go over them:
The Tying Run: Junichi Tazawa, whose trustworthiness can no longer be taken for granted, put runners on first and third with Buster Posey up. He hit a fly ball to right field that got caught up in the wind.
Shane Victorino caught the ball in foul territory facing the wall along the line. A run scored and the game was tied.
You can argue whether Victorino should have caught the ball or let it drop. Three things to remember:
1. Posey was up. If he gets to swing again, the ball could be over the fence.
2. It’s windy at AT&T Park. The ball could have drifted back fair pretty easily.
3. The sac fly only tied the game. It wasn’t the go-ahead run.
“I went over there to catch the ball. I had no intent of doing anything else. I thought about (letting the ball drop), I really did after the play was done,” Victorino said. “I said to myself, ‘Should have I have let that fall?’ But what if Posey hits the ball in the gap?”
“You can always think differently. I told myself to catch the ball, get the out and put myself in a position to make the throw. … As I was running over there, I was thinking about all the scenarios. If I let that fall, is that going to end up fair and I end up looking like a fool. I tried the best I could.”
Manager John Farrell supported his right fielder.
“That’s one of those plays, with the wind blowing back in and not knowing if that’s going to drift back on the foul line, he’s almost straddling the line,” Farrell said. “We’re damned if we do, damned if we don’t.”
Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who knows this park better than anybody, said catching the ball was the right move.
The ninth inning: Farrell went to Franklin Morales in the ninth inning, not Koji Uehara. Farrell explained he wanted to hold back Uehara for a save situation and did not want to use rookie Brandon Workman for three days in a row.
Morales had two outs with a runner on first when he walked pinch hitter Andres Torres and hit pinch hitter Hector Sanchez. Morales was ahead of Torres 1-and-2 and ahead of Sanchez 0-and-2. That’s really when the game was lost.
“I’m pissed off,” Morales said. “I let them get away. My fastball, when I went in, I went in too much.”
Said Farrell: “It looked like Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit. It leaves us in a tough spot with two outs. Just the uncertainty of strike throwing … felt like it was time to make the move.”
David Ross, who was catching, was surprised.
“Franklin was doing pretty good and then we kind of let them back in the count a couple of times,” he said. “When he hit [Sanchez] I thought we had them. He was pulling his fastball in too much.”
The impossible spot: Brayan Villarreal came in with the bases loaded and two outs and walked Marco Scutaro to force in the winning run.
You’re excused for not knowing who Villarreal is. He was obtained from the Tigers in the three-team deal that landed Jake Peavy. He’s a 26-year-old righthander who was very good for the Tigers in 2012 and so bad in April that he was sent down to Triple A.
Villarreal pitched two games in Lowell and two games for Pawtucket before he was called up on Monday. Tuesday was his debut with the Sox.
“I’m not going to pitch Workman on three consecutive days. That was the decision,” Farrell said.
Villarreal missed badly three times. The fourth pitch was a little closer but still outside and umpire Mike Everitt kept his hand by his side.
“He got behind. You can’t do that in that situation,” Ross said. “The 3-and-0 pitch was close. I think the umpire had been giving that pitch most of the night. But when you’re 3-0 and haven’t thrown a strike yet, they tend to [call] borderline pitches a ball. It’s a borderline pitch. We shouldn’t be in that situation to begin with.”
Villarreal has faced 27 hitters in the majors this season, 17 of them have reached base. The odds of him getting an out there were slim.
Villarreal was not available to speak to after the game. He seemed pretty upset.
The Red Sox are now percentage points behind the Rays and haven’t won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 at Houston. They are 4-8 since.
Thanks for staying up.