Rick Porcello delivers against the Phillies on Wednesday night. (Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Closing time: Rick Porcello makes one big mistake, Red Sox bats go silent in 4-2 loss to Phillies

John Tomase
April 08, 2015 - 6:03 pm

PHILADELPHIA --€“ On Monday, Rick Porcello signed an $82.5 million contract. On Wednesday against the Phillies, he reminded us that he's not your prototypical $20 million pitcher. While Phillies counterpart Aaron Harang toyed with the Red Sox, striking out in eight in 6.2 shutout innings, Porcello made one mistake, and it cost him dearly. Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur crushed a hanging slider with two on in the sixth to break a scoreless tie and boost the Phillies to a 4-2 victory. One game after blasting five homers in an 8-0 whitewashing, the Red Sox did nothing offensively on a cold, raw, wet night. Third baseman Pablo Sandoval provided virtually all of the team's offense with a pair of singles (though he also made a costly throwing error that led to a run). One of the Red Sox' best chances to score came in the seventh, when Dustin Pedroia walked and Sandoval followed with his second single. But Hanley Ramirez flew out to center at the end of a lengthy at-bat to finish Harang's night, and Mike Napoli lined out to short, with Pedroia getting doubled off second to end the inning. For most of the night until that point, Porcello looked like the pitcher the Red Sox had hoped to see when they extended him on Monday. He forced 11 groundouts vs. just two flyouts, kept the ball down, and seemed on his way to keeping the Phillies in the park. But the winning rally showcased one of the drawbacks to relying on a sinkerballer who doesn't record big strikeout numbers. After a Darin Ruf one-out walk, Philly's Cody Asche singled on a grounder just out of Pedroia's diving reach. Francoeur's homer followed, and that was it for the Red Sox. Porcello allowed six hits and three runs in six innings, striking out four and walking two. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Francoeur's homer may have won it, but the Phillies wouldn't have been in that position without the effort of Harang, a 14-year veteran coming off a 12-12 season with the Braves. Harang kept Red Sox hitters off balance and let the weather knock down a couple of long fly balls from Mookie Betts as the Sox failed to duplicate Monday's performance. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Not a heck of a lot. Sandoval recorded his first two hits of the season, looking far more comfortable from the left side than he had been from the right two days earlier. --€“ Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, dropped to eighth in the lineup because manager John Farrell felt catcher Ryan Hanigan had been swinging the bat better, lined an RBI single to left in the eighth to give the Red Sox their first run. -- Betts continues to develop in center, making a pair of nice running catches. WHAT WENT WRONG -- The offense, hyped as a potential juggernaut after the opener, went ice cold. The best chance at a rally came in the eighth after Bogaerts' RBI single and Pedroia's bases-loaded walk, but Ramirez fell about five feet shy of his second grand slam in as many games, this time against Jonathan Papelbon. --€“ Called upon to pinch hit with two on and no outs in the eighth, David Ortiz waved at a slider against right-hander Ken Giles and struck out on four pitches. -- The Red Sox were inconsistent in the field. Sandoval and Pedroia committed uncharacteristic errors. One led to a run. The other forced Porcello to throw more pitches.