Monday September 27, 2010 | 04:47 AM

When Bill Hall scored on Mike Lowell's sacrifice fly in the ninth, giving Boston a 3-2 lead, I dared look ahead.

The Yankees had the combustible A.J. Burnett starting next, in Toronto; while Boston would have Clay Buchholz in Chicago.

Hmm. After Boston beat New York on Sunday night, another Red Sox win Monday, combined with another Yankees loss ... and the Red Sox would be only 3.5 games out ... a still sizable distance, but at least Boston would be making it fun.

But that thought process was interrupted by the bullpen gate opening up.

Jonathan Papelbon entered and experienced his league-leading 8th blown save in the ninth inning. Hideki Okajima reverted to his old form and gave it up in the 10th.

We have said it before. The injuries and slow start hurt the Red Sox, but the bullpen's inefficiency buried them.

Boston (86-69) is now 6.5 games out with seven games to play.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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