Scenes of the Red Sox’ frustrating September
Scenes of the Red Sox’ frustrating September
The Red Sox' slide began on Sept. 1 in a 4-2 loss to the Yankees. An incredulous Adrian Gonzalez watched a called third strike as the Yankees and their fans celebrated a series win at Fenway.
Andrew Miller was roughed up by the Rangers for six runs in 1 1/3 innings on Sept. 2 as Texas opened a three-game series with a 10-0 win. The Red Sox surrendered first place in the AL East to the Yankees with the loss
Carl Crawford provided the weekend's biggest hit with a fourth-inning grand slam on Sept. 3 that helped power a 12-7 win against the Rangers.
In the series finale on Sept. 4, the Rangers battered starter John Lackey and reliever Felix Doubront (shown) for nine runs in the first 5 1/3 innings.
When the Rangers left town, Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox had fallen 1 1/2 games behind the Yankees in the AL East and were eight games ahead of the Rays.
A day game on Sept. 5 in Toronto proved unlucky for the Red Sox and David Ortiz. The team lost starter Josh Beckett to a sprained ankle in the fourth inning.
The day ended with Dan Wheeler surrendering a walkoff home run to Brett Lawrie in the 11th inning of a 1-0 loss.
The Red Sox got one back on Sept. 6 when they beat up on the Blue Jays 14-0.
Daniel Bard blew an 8-6 lead on Sept. 7 when he allowed five runs in the eighth inning of an 11-10 loss. It would be the first of his three losses over eight days.
The Blue Jays stymied Ortiz and the Red Sox 7-4 in the series finale on Sept. 8. The lead over the Rays shrank to 6 1/2 games with the Red Sox headed to Tampa. The seeds of a potentially historic comeback by the Rays began to take root.
Ortiz went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and the Red Sox managed just six hits as the Rays buoyed their playoff chances with a 7-2 win on Sept. 9.
More disappointment was in store for the Red Sox on Sept. 10 when a ninth-inning comeback that forced extra innings was wasted when the Rays turned a leadoff triple in the 11th into a 6-5 win.
B.J. Upton's grand slam fueled a 9-1 win in the series finale on Sept. 11, and the Rays closed the gap in the playoff race to 3 1/2 games.
Panic began to set in around Red Sox Nation as a playoff spot that once looked certain began to seem in doubt. Rays manager Joe Maddon said there was a "message" sent to Terry Francona's team.
The panic came to a halt when the Red Sox returned to Fenway on Sept. 13 and beat up on the Blue Jays 18-6. Pedroia's three-run home run in the sixth inning was one of the key hits.
The win against the Blue Jays also marked the long-awaited 200th victory for Tim Wakefield, who had waited 51 days since his 199th.
The Red Sox could not follow up with a win on Sept. 14, however. Bard again imploded when he blew a 4-2 lead by allowing three runs in the eighth inning.
Josh Reddick struck out in the ninth inning of the 5-4 loss to the Blue Jays. The lead over the Rays shrank to four games, with Tampa coming to town for a four-game series.
The slump continued for Pedroia and the Red Sox when the Rays arrived. Rookie starter Kyle Weiland was rocked for four runs in three innings en route to a 9-2 Tampa win.
Tampa's Evan Longoria, left, hit a three-run home run to key the victory for the surging Rays. Afterward, he celebrated with Upton.
Carl Crawford went 0-for-3 in the loss to his former team.
The Red Sox finally beat the Rays on Sept. 16 as Beckett returned to the rotation. Jonathan Papelbon closed out the 4-3 win.
The bad breaks returned on Sept. 17, however, when the Rays beat Pedroia and the Red Sox 4-3.
Maddon, left, congratulated his team and said that while he was disappointed they wouldn't sweep, he would be content taking three of the four games in the series.
Maddon's wish came true when the Rays defeated Mike Aviles and the Red Sox 8-5 on Sept. 18 to cut the playoff lead to just two games.
The Red Sox got no relief in the opener of a doubleheader with the Orioles on Sept. 19. Ortiz slammed his helmet in frustration after a controversial call denied the Red Sox a run in a game they'd lose 6-5.
The Red Sox finally stopped their skid in the nightcap, however, when a seven-run seventh powered an 18-9 win. A grand slam by Conor Jackson, center, was the big hit in the inning.
Papelbon reflected in the dugout after he blew a 5-4 lead to the Orioles in a 7-5 loss on Sept. 20.
A dejected Alfredo Aceves lingered in the Red Sox dugout after surrendering a hit that delivered the go-ahead runs in a 6-4 loss to the Orioles on Sept. 21.
Ortiz slumped back to the dugout after grounding out in the seventh inning of a 9-1 loss to the Yankees on Sept. 24.
Jacoby Ellsbury, left, Jason Varitek, center, and Pedroia watched as the Yankees ran away with the opener of a doubleheader on Sept. 25. The Red Sox lost 6-2.
Ellsbury stopped the Red Sox' losing streak with a three-run home run in the 14th inning of the nightcap on Sept. 25. The win left the Red Sox just one game up on the Rays in the wild-card race.
The Red Sox' lead in the playoff race evaporated when they headed back to the visitors' dugout at Camden Yards after a 6-3 loss to the Orioles on Sept. 26. The Rays' corresponding win against the Yankees brought them into a tie for the wild card.
Rookie catcher Ryan Lavarnway finally injected life into the Red Sox with two home runs and a crucial ninth-inning defensive play as the Red Sox hung on for an 8-7 win on Sept. 27.
Mike Aviles watched as the Orioles celebrated dooming the Red Sox' postseason hopes with a walkoff 4-3 win in the regular-season finale on Sept. 28.