The Boston Red Sox are no longer alone for the AL East lead and aim for a series win over the San Francisco Giants Wednesday at AT&T Park.
Losses in five of their last seven games have put the Red Sox percentage points behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the division lead. After taking the opener of this three-game set by a 7-0 score, Boston dropped a 3-2 decision Tuesday night.
Roger Kieschnick scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a bases-loaded walk by Brayan Villarreal. Franklin Morales was dealt the loss since Kieschnick reached base on a single and later came around to score when Marco Scutaro drew a base on balls on four straight pitches.
Red Sox manager John Farrell was asked why he didn't put closer Koji Uehara in during the hectic ninth inning.
"I'm holding back on Koji because if we push across a run, he's going to close the game out," Farrell said.
Shane Victorino homered and has eight hits in his last four games. Jake Peavy surrendered a run on five hits and a walk over 5 2/3 innings in the start for Boston.
The Red Sox, who are scheduled to visit the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend, hope Felix Doubront can find his groove when he takes the mound Wednesday. Doubront is 1-3 in his last four decisions and was roughed up by the New York Yankees in Friday's 10-3 loss. He allowed seven runs (6 earned) and eight hits in four innings to fall to 8-6 in 23 games (22 starts) with a 3.95 ERA.
Doubront has pitched four innings in each of his previous two starts and will face San Francisco for the first time. The left-hander is 4-2 in 11 road starts this season.
San Francisco was able to end a two-game slide and win for the fourth time in six tries thanks to Villarreal not being able to find the strike zone. Kieschnick singled with one out and Andres Torres later walked with two away in the ninth. Hector Sanchez was then hit by a pitch and Villarreal took over the mound, promptly walking Scutaro on four pitches.
"You take it any way you can get it and this was a good one," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.
Kieschnick tallied three hits and a pair of runs scored, while Brandon Belt tripled and doubled for the Giants. Closer Sergio Romo tossed a scoreless top of the ninth to pick up the win and Ryan Vogelsong was sharp through seven innings in the start, giving up two runs.
Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval was scratched because of back soreness and will be re-evaluated Wednesday morning. Bochy said he could have used the bulky Sandoval as a pinch-hitter Tuesday.
Barry Zito will be inserted back into the rotation Wednesday for the Giants and has made four relief appearances since his previous start on July 30 at Philadelphia, where he allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings of a 7-3 loss. The 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner is 0-5 with a 6.66 earned run average in his last 10 starts and 1-7 in his previous eight decisions.
Zito has made 25 appearances (21 starts) this season, going 4-8 with a 5.34 ERA, and owns a 4-1 mark at AT&T Park. In 14 career starts against the Red Sox, the veteran left-hander is 5-6 with a 5.12 ERA.
The Giants will host Pittsburgh for four games after this set with Boston, which took two of three from the Giants back in 2010.