BOSTON -- It was a late Wednesday night and then an early Thursday morning at Fenway Park, and, ultimately, a difficult ending for the Red Sox.
Bobby Abreu ripped a two-run single through the hole and into right field, snapping a tie at 2:38 a.m. ET and ultimately leading the Angels to a 5-3, 13-inning victory.
Not only did the game last five hours, but it included a fifth-inning rain delay of two hours and 35 minutes. It was the longest game played by the Red Sox since a 15-inning loss at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 7, 2009, and the lengthiest at Fenway since a 4-2, 15-inning defeat to the Rays on Sept. 10, 2008.
"When I showed up today, I didn't think I'd be talking to you guys at three in the morning," said manager Terry Francona. "And if I did, I wish we'd have won."
It looked like the Red Sox were going to win in the bottom of the 12th when Kevin Youkilis ripped a blast to left that landed off the Green Monster for a double. Off the bat, it looked like Youkilis was going to have a walk-off homer. Making the near miss even more painful is that Marco Scutaro tried to score from first on the hit and was nailed at the plate, as the Angels perfectly executed the 7-6-2 play.
"They made it," Francona said. "They did what they had to do. That's our chance to win the game, and they got it in the air, they got it where they needed to be. They beat him to the plate. We're all on the top step of the dugout thinking maybe we can go home. Turns out we didn't."
"Yeah, yeah, crazy game," said outfielder Mike Cameron. "I thought for sure that Scooty would score, but I guess they made a good play on him. I didn't even watch it. I was just kind of watching the ball. I saw Scooty coming around and thought he would score for sure, but he didn't. It was a battle all night tonight. Tough one to lose."
With the Red Sox going through their entire bullpen except Bobby Jenks, who couldn't pitch after his arm cramped up, Daisuke Matsuzaka came on in the 13th for the first relief appearance of his Major League career.
Howard Kendrick opened the inning with an infield single. Matsuzaka got the next two batters, but Peter Bourjos ripped a single to right, pushing Kendrick to third. Erick Aybar walked to load the bases, giving Abreu the chance to be the hero for the Angels.
It was a challenging way for Matsuzaka to return to action, considering he left his last start with tightness in his right elbow and was scheduled to return to the rotation on Friday night. But Francona was left with little choice.
"The part that we felt a little more comfortable was it was his day to pitch, but there was nothing else to do," Francona said. "It was a very difficult thing. We gave him as much of a heads up as we could, because he is so routine-oriented -- as most starters are. We sent him out early and let him throw even though we knew [Daniel] Bard was going back out, just to give him a chance."
The Angels improved to 1-6 on the season against the Red Sox, beating them for just the second time in 17 meetings dating back to last season.
Boston trailed 3-1 entering the bottom of the ninth before a dramatic rally forced extras.
Jed Lowrie led off the ninth with a walk against closer Jordan Walden. Cameron belted a single to left. Walden then uncorked a wild pitch, and catcher Hank Conger's throw to the plate got away, allowing Lowrie to score from second. However, Cameron was cut down trying to advance to third, as Aybar threw to Alberto Callaspo.
The main reason that Cameron was thrown out is that Conger's throw deflected off of third-base umpire John Hirschbeck, preventing it from squirting further away.
"Yeah, instinctively, that's what you're taught to do is run," said Cameron. "The shortstop made a good play I guess. It hit off the umpire and kind of kicked back to Aybar. Yeah, I just instinctively saw the ball get away and ran."
That seemed like it might be a crushing blow for Boston, but Carl Crawford again created hope with a double. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury worked the count to 3-2 and raked a game-tying single to right, moving the contest into extra frames.
"A lot of ups and downs tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have two strikes on a hitter [Ellsbury] with a chance to close it out, and they tie it. But there wasn't a letdown in the dugout."
A strong performance by the bullpen -- particularly Jonathan Papelbon (one inning, two K's) and Bard (two innings, four K's) -- let the Red Sox hang around.
Early on, Boston was completely shut down offensively.
Eight outs away from being no-hit for the first time in 18 years, the Sox avoided that indignity on a one-out single by Lowrie in the bottom of the eighth.
Starter Josh Beckett went 4 1/3 innings for Boston, allowing a hit and three walks while striking out three.
Then came the rain.
"We just sit and wait," said Bard. "It's almost like you're starting a new game when you go back out there. Nobody wants to be here this late, but nobody wants to lose, either."
Ervin Santana was brilliant for the Angels over his four innings, walking one and striking out seven. But the delay was far too long for him to continue, leaving the Angels to attempt a combined no-no.
Rich Thompson kept it alive by holding Boston without a hit for 1 2/3 innings. Lowrie's hit came against lefty Scott Downs.
The game was scoreless until the top of the seventh, when Vernon Wells belted a towering two-run homer to left against struggling reliever Dan Wheeler.
The Red Sox started to climb back in the eighth. After the slumping Dustin Pedroia (0-for-6, career-high four strikeouts) whiffed, Adrian Gonzalez reached on a swinging bunt that scored Jason Varitek, who had started the rally with a leadoff double to right.
"This team's got guts," Bard said. "We're not going to give up that easily. We obviously wanted to win that game sooner than later, but it didn't happen."
There won't be much time for the Red Sox to dwell on the defeat. They will be back out there again for Thursday afternoon's 1:35 contest against the Angels.