Their wall-banging propensity of the previous two days nullified, the Red Sox hoped for a while that they could simply wear Hamels down.
- 134 wins
- 118 wins
Nobody did a better job of that than Victor Martinez. With the Sox down 4-1 in the sixth, Martinez worked a whopping 15-pitch walk, putting runners on first and second with nobody out.
"I was getting tired, though," said Martinez.
But Hamels all but scoffed at the notion that would tire him out, striking out Adrian Beltre on three pitches, getting David Ortiz on a fielder's choice and Mike Lowell on a flyout to right.
"He's a tough hitter," said Hamels. "After a few pitches, you just don't want to give in. You keep going after him and hope that he starts sitting on a different pitch, but I didn't want to make it easy. After that, it's just grinding away, going after the next guy. In that lineup, it doesn't get easy. It's not like there's a pitcher coming up you can get out. It's just going after him and knowing we still have the lead. You still have to bear down, and that's what I was able to do."
If Hamels was going to crack, that sixth inning would have been the time.
"After Victor's at-bat later in the game, there was a lot of, I don't want to say excuses or reasons [Hamels could have slipped], but for him to do what he did after that, I think shows even more the type of pitcher he is," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "That was an unbelievable at-bat, and in a lot of ways, maybe takes something out of a pitcher. We still couldn't get it done. He's a good pitcher that pitched a great game."
Then there was Tim Wakefield, a good pitcher who pitched a gritty game, only to be victimized by one bad inning, a four-run fourth from which his team never recovered.
A day after the Red Sox essentially recorded all 27 outs with their 'pen, Wakefield gave his team a much-needed extended start. The knuckleballer went 7 1/3 innings, scattering seven hits and four runs while walking one and striking out three.
"Well that was my mindset going into the day, to go as deep as I could," said Wakefield. "I actually felt great in the eighth. We're on the losing end, so he can't let me out there too much longer, but I did get us into the eighth and unfortunately, it was one bad inning again."
Wakefield, who became Boston's all-time leader in innings pitched in his previous start, achieved another milestone in this one. He reached 3,000 career innings, joining Jamie Moyer and Andy Pettitte as the only active pitchers in that club.
"Yeah, it was pretty special," said Wakefield. "We lost today. We faced a tough guy over there, Cole Hamels. He really did a number on our offense today. Reflecting back on 3,000 innings is pretty cool. There's not too many people that can say that."
The Red Sox had a couple of other positive developments. Daniel Nava, the undrafted prospect who clubbed a grand slam on the first pitch of his career Saturday, came back with two more hits, including an RBI single. And Dustin Pedroia, who had been slumping, roped three hits and is 8-for-17 in his past four games.
"Yeah, I feel better," said Pedroia, who has been bothered by a sore right knee. "Physically, I'm feeling better, which is a good thing. I'm seeing the ball better. I'm working hard and just translating into the game now, which is when it gets fun."
Heading into Monday's off-day, Boston is 37-28, four games behind the Yankees and Rays in the American League East.
Once Wakefield exited -- he's now at 3,004 2/3 innings -- the Red Sox tried to rally against Jose Contreras in the bottom of the eighth, putting runners at the corners with one out. But Beltre hit into a 5-4-3 double play, and the threat was over.
It was Beltre who had given Boston the lead early, belting a solo homer -- his ninth of the season -- over the Monster to open the second inning.
Wakefield somehow escaped from a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam in the first and then worked back-to-back 1-2-3 innings. But in the fourth, the Phils finally got to him. Ryan Howard started it with a one-out double to right.
"Just my timing was a little off," said Wakefield. "I left a couple up. Victor said the ball was moving. It just didn't have that late finish to it. I left a couple of balls up that got hit pretty hard and made an adjustment after that."
Jayson Werth tied the game with an RBI single up the middle. Up stepped Raul Ibanez, who belted a two-run homer to right. Juan Castro's RBI single made it 4-1.
"Seven hits [in the game], he gave up five in a row," Francona said. "He elevated five balls and paid the price. Other than that, he was terrific. The ball was in the zone and had some violence to it which is good. He got a little ahead of himself for that stretch, and that was all the runs."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.