BOSTON (AP) — Reed Johnson hit a go-ahead, two-run double in an error-filled, eight-run eighth inning and the Chicago Cubs, wearing replica uniforms of their last series in Fenway Park in 1918, beat the Boston Red Sox 9-3 on Saturday night.
The Cubs’ last visit to the 99-year-old stadium before Friday night’s 15-5 loss was in the World Series 93 years ago. Chicago won the fifth game then, but Boston took the championship by winning Game 6.
The Red Sox had victory in sight again on Saturday, leading 3-1. But Matt Albers failed to retire any of the six batters he faced in the eighth and his teammates committed three errors in the inning.
Johnson had entered the game as a pinch runner in the top of the second after Marlon Byrd was beaned. Byrd walked off under his own power.
The Red Sox spent about four hours in first place in the AL East when Tampa Bay lost to Florida 5-3. Their first stay at the top this season marked a stunning turnaround for a team that began the season at 2-10.
Then came the wild turn of events in the eighth that ended Boston’s winning streak at seven games.
Before then, Aramis Ramirez had given Chicago a 1-0 lead in the third with an RBI double. Boston went ahead on David Ortiz’s two-run homer, his ninth of the year, after Kevin Youkilis led off the fourth with a single. Jacoby Ellsbury’s run-scoring single made it 3-1 in the sixth against Carlos Zambrano before Sean Marshall (2-0) came in to end the inning.
Then Albers (0-2) relieved in the eighth and Boston’s chances of winning faded fast.
Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro singled and Ramirez walked, loading the bases. Carlos Pena then walked in a run before Johnson doubled to left, putting the Cubs ahead to stay. Alfonso Soriano followed with a popup to short left field where shortstop Jed Lowrie let it bounce off his glove for an error as Pena scored.
Franklin Morales, obtained Thursday from Colorado, relieved Albers and his first pitch went for an RBI double by pinch-hitter Jeff Baker. Koyie Hill struck out and Barney flew to right, where J.D. Drew’s catch was only the beginning of a bizarre play.
He threw home and Soriano, who had tagged up, headed back to third. Catcher Jason Varitek’s throw ticked off third baseman Kevin Youkilis’ glove. Youkilis was charged with an error and left fielder Carl Crawford, who backed him up, threw wildly to home for another error as Soriano and Baker scored.
Castro followed with an RBI double, making it 9-3.
The Red Sox throwback uniforms were an off-white color with no team name on the front. The Cubs wore grey uniforms with blue pinstripes and the word “Cubs” on the left breast.
NOTES: RHP Matt Garza was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday’s series finale with stiffness in his pitching elbow. Cubs manager Mike Quade indicated that lefty reliever James Russell was the leading candidate to start against Tim Wakefield. … Youkilis was hit by a pitch for the 72nd time, breaking a tie with Mo Vaughn for the Red Sox record. … Ortiz’s homer made him the fifth player to hit at least 300 with the Red Sox. The others are Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382) and Dwight Evans (379). … Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Monday since going on the disabled list May 5 with a strained right biceps.