Former closer Gagne struggles as Red Sox lose 13-6 Print
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Saturday, 13 October 2007 19:53
MLB Headline News

 BOSTON (AP) -Eric Gagne's decline from super closer to struggling reliever reached a new low.
He was charged with the first two runs in Cleveland's seven-run 11th inning as the Indians beat Boston 13-6 early Sunday morning to tie the AL championship series 1-1.
Javier Lopez and Jon Lester followed Gagne to the mound and did even worse, with Lopez allowing three runs and Lester two.
The Red Sox obtained Gagne at the trade deadline July 31 for just such occasions. He had 152 saves with the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2002 through 2004 before injuries limited him to 16 games the next two seasons.
He was hurt early this season with Texas then started pitching well. So the Red Sox figured he'd add depth, particularly for the postseason, to an already solid bullpen.
But with Jonathan Papelbon starring as the closer, Gagne had to make the adjustment to a setup role.
He never did.
In 20 games with Boston he was 2-2 with a 6.75 ERA.
Then came the playoffs and his problems continued.
He allowed the only run in Boston's 9-1 win that gave the Red Sox a three-game sweep against the Los Angeles Angels in the AL division series. His next appearance came Friday night in another non-pressure role in Boston's 10-3 win over Cleveland. He struck out the side in a scoreless ninth after loading the bases on two hits and a walk.
In Game 2, manager Terry Francona was reluctant to use him. But his bullpen was getting depleted after Manny Delcarmen, Hideki Okajima, Mike Timlin and Papelbon allowed one run in 4 1-3 innings.
Then came the 11th and Francona had a choice - not a very good one.
Lopez had pitched poorly Friday and Lester had made just one relief appearance all season.
The obvious, if unappealing, option was Gagne.
He started well by striking out Casey Blake. Then Grady Sizemore singled to right and Asdrubal Cabrera walked.
Francona walked out of the dugout and signaled for Lopez.
With Gagne sitting in the dugout, looking straight ahead through his goggles, Lopez allowed Trot Nixon's tiebreaking single, walked Victor Martinez intentionally and gave up an RBI single to Ryan Garko.
Lester took over and allowed Johnny Peralta's RBI double and Franklin Gutierrez's three-run homer.
Gagne took the loss but had plenty of company in his misery.
 

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