SAN FRANCISCO — Brayan Villarreal was called up from Triple A Pawtucket on Monday to join the Red Sox. Few noticed because the Sox also promoted hot prospect Xander Bogaerts that day.
Villarreal was given his first chance in the ninth inning Tuesday night, coming in with the bases loaded and two outs of a tie game against the Giants.
Four wayward pitches later, the game was over as he walked Marco Scutaro to force in the winning run.
Red Sox manager John Farrell didn’t want to pitch Brandon Workman for a third straight day and was saving Koji Uehara for a closing situation.
“I was holding back Koji, that’s why Villarreal was in there,’’ Farrell said.
With Tampa Bay beating Baltimore, 7-4, the Sox have fallen into second place for the first time since July 30. They are percentage points behind the Rays.
The Sox have lost five of their last seven games and eight of the last 11. They have not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7 at Houston.
The game marked the major league debut of Bogaerts, the organization’s top prospect. The 20-year-old was 0 for 3 before leaving the game in the sixth inning as part of a double switch.
Bogaerts is the youngest position player to get in a game for the Sox since Dwight Evans in 1972. Evans was five days younger than Bogaerts at the time of his debut.
Franklin Morales (2-1) started the ninth. Roger Kieschnick singled with one out and took second when pinch hitter Andres Torres walked with two down.
The Giants used Hector Sanchez, a switch hitter to pinch hit for lefthanded hitting Gregor Blanco. Morales got ahead of him 0-and-2 before hitting him in the arm with a 2-and-2 fastball.
“Franklin lost the strike zone a little bit,’’ Farrell said.
“I thought we had Sanchez set up,’’ Sox catcher David Ross said. “[Morales] started pulling his fastball and we lost him.’’
In came Villarreal and there went the game.
“That was a tough spot for Villarreal,’’ Ross said. “I thought the last pitch was close. When you can’t throw a strike you’re not going to get that call.’’
The Sox did not score in the final six innings, getting two hits. Sergio Romo (4-6) went an inning for the win.
Red Sox starter Jake Peavy allowed one run over 5⅔ innings. He left a 2-1 lead in the hands of the bullpen.
The lead lasted until the eighth when the increasingly inconsistent Junichi Tazawa gave it up.
Scutaro singled with one out and went to third when Brandon Belt (3 for 4) singled to left. Buster Posey lifted a fly ball to right field.
The ball drifted into foul ground and was caught by Shane Victorino, who was facing the wall and not in a good position to make a strong throw. Scutaro scored standing.
“There’s a lot of stuff going through my mind there,’’ Victorino said. “It was close to the foul line and I’m thinking I don’t want to give Buster Posey a chance to hit the ball into the gap if I let it drop. You can question what’s the right thing to do, but I went over intending to catch it.’’
The Red Sox built a 2-0 lead in the first three innings against Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.
Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a single and stole second, giving him 45 on the season. Vogelsong then hit Victorino with a pitch before Dustin Pedroia singled to load the bases.
Mike Carp, batting cleanup for the first time this season, drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Victorino led off the third inning with a home run to left field. It was his eighth of the season. Pedroia walked and went to third on a two-out double by Nava, who has reached base safely in 32 consecutive starts. Bogaerts was next and he grounded to shortstop. That was the first of 10 consecutive batters Vogelsong retired.
Peavy had a two-hit shutout going after four innings. Brandon Belt tripled to start the fourth and was stranded as Buster Posey grounded to third before Peavy struck out Hunter Pence and Brandon Crawford swinging.
Peavy walked off the mound pumping his fist. But the fifth inning wasn’t as smooth for him. Kieschnick singled and scored on a triple to left field by Joaquin Arias.
With the infield in, Vogelsong hit the ball hard but was robbed of a single when Pedroia made a diving stop and threw him out. Blanco also grounded to second.
Scutaro followed with a slow roller to shortstop. Bogaerts charged the ball and made a strong throw to end the inning. Scutaro dove into the bag and was out on a close play.
Belt started the sixth with a double to right field. He got two outs when Posey grounded to shortstop and Pence flied to deep right.
When Farrell came out of the dugout to call in lefthander Craig Breslow, Peavy appeared annoyed. But it worked out well for the Sox, as Breslow needed one pitch to get Crawford to ground to second.