BOSTON -- Red Sox knuckleballer Charlie Zink, unable to turn a 10-run lead into his first Major League victory, was optioned back to Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday night. Zink, who joined the rotation after Tim Wakefield was placed on the disabled list, was sent back down to make room for pitcher Paul Byrd, who was acquired from the Cleveland Indians earlier in the day. Facing the highest scoring team in the American League, Zink had a 10-0 lead in the first inning and a 12-2 lead after four innings, but couldn't get through the fifth. That's when the Rangers scored eight runs off him and relievers Javier Lopez and David Aardsma.
"[I] left some balls up," Zink said. "They're big league hitters, they're a great hitting team. I left some balls up, and they hit them well. I couldn't make an adjustment at that point. I know I can do better than this." Zink ended up allowing eight runs on 11 hits with one walk and one strikeout in 4 1/3 innings, but the Red Sox needed to clear a roster spot for Byrd. Zink is the first Boston pitcher to allow eight runs in his Major League debut since Pete Smith against the Tigers on Sept. 13, 1962. He is the fourth Boston pitcher to give up eight runs in a game this season. He allowed 11 hits, which is tied for most by a Red Sox pitcher in his Major League debut. Two others gave up 11 hits. One was Dave Pauley in 2006; the other was Roger Clemens in 1984. "I thought he handled his emotions real well," manager Terry Francona said. "He competed. He threw the ball over the plate for the most part. The fifth unraveled but it unraveled on everybody." Zink and Aardsma are the first two pair of A-to-Z Red Sox teammates to appear in the same game since first baseman Harry Agganis and outfielder Norm Zauchin on June 2, 1955, against the White Sox.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.