DENVER -- Just as Dustin Pedroia was having the game of his life, Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was enduring the roughest back-to-back days of his career.
How rare is it for Papelbon to blow consecutive save opportunities, as he did on Wednesday and Thursday at Coors Field? It had happened only twice before. The first was in Papelbon's rookie year of 2006, when he surrendered a lead at Tropicana Field against the Rays on Aug. 6 and then another at Kansas City three nights later. Then came the meltdowns at Detroit and Minnesota, which happened on May 7 and 9, 2008.
But this marked the first time Papelbon had suffered such an indignity in back-to-back days.
"I was sideways in my delivery -- I wasn't crisp in my delivery," Papelbon said after Boston's 13-11 win over the Rockies in 10 innings on Thursday.
On Wednesday, Papelbon came on with a one-run lead and gave up a game-tying homer to Ian Stewart and a walk-off, two-run shot to Jason Giambi in the bottom of the ninth. On Thursday, Papelbon came on with an 11-9 lead and gave up a two-out, two-run bloop single to Brad Hawpe.
This time, there was a much better ending. Thanks to Pedroia belting his third homer of the night -- a two-run blast in the top of the 10th -- Papelbon was able to come back out for the bottom of the 10th and earn the win.
All's well that ends well, right?
"That's all that matters -- the team won," Papelbon said. "Some nights I pick them up; some nights they pick me up. That's why you have 25 guys in this locker room."
Papelbon is 16-for-19 in save opportunities this season and has a 3.98 ERA, which is nearly two runs higher than his career ERA of 2.05.
"I've just got to go back to the drawing board," said Papelbon. "It's just like anything else, man. The season's a heavyweight fight. I lost round 3; we've got 12 rounds to go. I've got to go back to the drawing board; it's just that simple. If I go and try to make things more complicated than they are, I'm only going to hurt myself in the long run."