Party crasher: Overbay spoils Sox's celebration
Released by Boston last spring, veteran hits go-ahead two-run double
BOSTON -- Lyle Overbay insists he harbors no ill will toward the Red Sox, even though they released him less than a week before last year's Opening Day, went on to win the World Series and celebrated the title before Friday's Fenway Park opener with Overbay standing glumly in the visitors' dugout.
Just business, Overbay said with a shrug.
But it sure felt good to spoil the party.
"It wasn't 'payback,' because I didn't have any bad feelings, but it's always nice to take the World Series champs down," Overbay said. "That's true no matter who it is."
The Red Sox received their rings, but the Brewers scored a 6-2 win, thanks to an Overbay-led four-run flurry in the top of the ninth inning. Before the veteran first baseman delivered his go-ahead two-run double and Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez added RBI singles, the Brewers had been 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, continuing a funk that began while scoring only four total runs in Milwaukee's opening series against the Braves.
"A lot of times when you see that early," said manager Ron Roenicke, referring to his team's missed opportunities, "good things don't happen late."
This time, good things did happen late. Tied at 2 since the end of the third inning, Khris Davis (double) and Scooter Gennett (sacrifice bunt, but reached on a fielder's choice) gave the Brewers a pair of baserunners to start the ninth against Red Sox reliever Edward Mujica, the former Cardinals closer who signed with the Sox during the offseason.
Overbay was off to an 0-for-2 start to the day and an 0-for-7 start to his second tenure with the Brewers, but he swung over one of Mujica's split-fingered fastballs and connected with a second. Overbay pulled a double into the right-field corner for a 4-2 lead.
Gomez followed with an RBI single for his fourth hit of the game, and Ramirez finished the scoring with another RBI single with two outs.
Milwaukee tallied 12 hits in all and 21 total bases, one more base than their first three games combined. Reliever Brandon Kintzler earned the win after pitching a scoreless eighth inning and Mujica lost in his Red Sox home debut. Boston had won its previous nine home openers.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada was charged with two runs (one earned) on four hits in 5 2/3 effective innings, with three walks and six strikeouts. He threw 102 pitches, a total that might have been lower had Mike Napoli not worked a pair of 10-pitch walks. The second of those plate appearances, in the sixth inning, ended Estrada's afternoon in favor of left-hander Will Smith, who struck out pinch-hitter Jonny Gomes to end the sixth inning with the go-ahead runner at third base, then stranded two more runners in a scoreless seventh.
"We had a couple of opportunities that we didn't cash in," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "I thought, first time we've seen Estrada, he kept us off-balance with a very good changeup. He pitched ahead in the count quite a bit."
Said Roenicke: "Marco's changeup today was unbelievable."
The Brewers, meanwhile, came out swinging against Red Sox starter Jake Peavy, with four hits including three extra-base hits in the first two innings. But they produced only two runs, both in the second inning, when Jonathan Lucroy led off with a home run that cleared the Green Monster in left field, and Davis doubled off the Monster and scored on Gomez's RBI single.
The Red Sox struck back beginning in the bottom of the second, when Napoli worked a leadoff walk and tried for third on Grady Sizemore's single to right field. Schafer's throw was wide of third base and got to the wall, allowing Napoli to score.
Logan Schafer atoned for his first Major League error on the very next play. Xander Bogaerts flew out to right field, and it turned into a double play when Schafer's one-hop throw was in time to retire Sizemore.
Boston tied the game in the next half-inning when No. 9 hitter Will Middlebrooks homered with one out.
"It was hard to feel that ball. I'm not going to lie," said Estrada, who felt the temperature fall from 43 degrees at the start of the game. "I didn't really have fastball command today, but I felt I made the right pitch when I needed to."
Estrada settled for a no-decision, but the Brewers had a happy clubhouse thanks in large part to Overbay. The 37-year-old said several times that he took no special pride beating the team that released him, but Roenicke knows firsthand that it is a satisfying feeling.
"I know that a lot," Roenicke said. "I was let go a lot."
Roenicke didn't mind watching the Red Sox get their rings.
"When you watch that on the opposing side, when you're a kid, this is what you dream of doing," Roenicke said. "Every single guy in that locker room dreams of the same thing, and that's being in a World Series and winning it. So the ceremony itself with the rings, that was pretty cool."