Wolf battled through seven tough innings after Rickie Weeks(notes) and Corey Hart(notes) homered on consecutive pitches in the first inning, leading the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-2 win over the streaking Boston Red Sox on Saturday night.
Wolf (5-4) scattered nine hits, walked one and fanned three, ending a string of four straight no-decisions. But it was the final batter he faced that had him smiling.
“With their lineup, you can’t relax on any batter,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. “That’s what makes it so impressive what Wolfie did.”
Clinging to a 4-2 lead and knowing he was very likely facing his last hitter, Wolf just wanted to make sure he didn’t make a mistake against Gonzalez. He wasn’t about to let the lefty get a pitch he could hit toward the Green Monster.
“I remember I threw five straight sliders,” he said. “It was big. It was two outs in the seventh. I just didn’t want to give in there. His strength falls right into this ballpark.”
Gonzalez had homered into the left-field seats Friday night.
“Huge,” Kottaras said of Gonzalez’s at-bat. “He’s such a great hitter. Getting him out there was big for Randy.”
Lester (9-3) allowed four runs—three earned—and seven hits, walked three and struck out eight. He matched his career high of three homers allowed, the other time coming on opening day in Texas.
“Obviously, with the way we’ve been swinging the bats lately, I thought for sure if I just kept them where they were at we’d have a chance,” Lester said. “But you’ve got to tip your hat to Randy Wolf tonight. He threw the ball better than I did. That’s the main thing, you’ve got to outpitch the other guy. He did that tonight.”
The Brewers broke a 2-all tie with a pair of runs in the third. Former Red Sox catcher Kottaras led off with a homer over Boston’s bullpen. After Lester retired the next two batters, he walked Ryan Braun(notes) and Prince Fielder(notes) before Casey McGehee(notes) singled on a grounder to right, making it 4-2.
Milwaukee had grabbed a 2-0 on Weeks’ and Hart’s homers just four pitches into the game. After first baseman Gonzalez dropped leadoff batter Weeks’ foul pop for his first error of the season, the shortstop belted the next pitch into the Green Monster seats for the 24th leadoff homer of his career. Hart followed by hitting the next pitch over Boston’s bullpen. Braun then doubled on the ensuing pitch before Lester retired the next two hitters, including McGehee’s inning-ending double-play liner.
Weeks became the first player to lead off a game with a home run after having his foul pop dropped since Warren Cromartie of the Montreal Expos homered off Bill Caudill of the Chicago Cubs—after third baseman Steve Ontiveros dropped Cromartie’s foul, July 4, 1979, according to information provided to the teams by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Wolf got out of trouble the next two innings after the Red Sox tied it. He left runners on first and second in the third and allowed a leadoff double to Marco Scutaro(notes) before retiring the next three batters in the fourth.
“After (the third) he put up five zeroes. We just couldn’t get anything going,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “Wolfie, he kinda pitches with that fastball that’s got a little bit of life at the end and gets on top of your barrel and some breaking balls, a changeup and really pitched effectively.”
Boston had won its last 11 when facing a left-handed starter, its longest stretch since 13 in a row in 2008.
Notes: It was Weeks’ fourth leadoff homer this season. … The Red Sox placed LF Carl Crawford(notes) on the 15-day DL before the game with a strained left hamstring. He suffered the injury beating out an infield hit in Friday’s 10-4 win. … Roenicke said RHP Shaun Marcum(notes), who left Friday’s game with a left hip flexor, was expected to be checked out by a doctor at Fenway Park on Saturday night and again by the Brewers medical staff on Monday. “He was scheduled to throw a side on Monday, but he may have to skip a start,” Roenicke said. … The game was moved from a scheduled 1:10 start to 7:10 to help reduce congestion around the city as many fans were attending a “Rolling Rally” in the afternoon to celebrate the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup. … Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon(notes) served the second of his three-game suspension handed down for bumping plate umpire Tony Randazzo on June 4.