for this game

Maholm, Pirates hold off Red Sox

Jun 25, 2011 - 4:48 AM Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Pirates starter Paul Maholm was good enough through 5 1/3 innings Friday to keep the Red Sox bats in check.

It took five more pitchers to hold the wet blanket over red-hot Boston.

Maholm earned the win and Jose Tabata hit an RBI single to key a two-run third inning, as Pittsburgh held on for a 3-1 victory over Boston in the opener of a three-game series.

Tabata finished with two hits and Lyle Overbay singled home an insurance run in the sixth inning for his second hit, helping the Pirates to their third straight win.

Maholm (4-8) gave up one run on six hits and three walks, while Red Sox starter Jon Lester failed in his bid to become the first 10-game winner in the major leagues.

Lester (9-4) was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on eight hits and a walk in six innings, striking out five.

Boston scored its only run on Kevin Youkilis' ground out in the first inning, losing for the third straight game on the heels of a 14-2 stretch.

"You know, we had it going so good for so long," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "You want the good streaks to be long and the bad ones to be short."

The Red Sox entered the game outscoring opponents 133-68 in their last 18. But a big part of their offense, designated hitter David Ortiz, didn't crack the starting lineup Friday despite Adrian Gonzalez volunteering to give up first base and play the outfield.

However, Ortiz did have a chance to make a difference.

He entered the game for a rainy pinch-hit appearance with two outs in the eighth inning and runners standing at second and third base. After fouling off three Jose Veras curveballs in a row with a 1-2 count, Ortiz grounded up the middle for the third out and Pittsburgh kept its 3-1 lead.

Veras' scoreless eighth was followed by a perfect ninth from Joel Hanrahan, who recorded his 21st save. Chris Resop, Tony Watson and Daniel McCutchen also worked out of the bullpen for Pittsburgh.

Jacoby Ellsbury drew a leadoff walk and the Red Sox took a 1-0 lead in the first inning after he moved to third base on Gonzalez's single and scored on Youkilis' bounce out.

Boston loaded the bases in the third inning, but stranded all three runners when Darnell McDonald grounded into a fielder's choice.

"I thought we worked Maholm," said Francona. "We got his pitch count up, but when he had to, he made pitches and stranded a lot of baserunners."

The Pirates showed few signs of life early on and didn't have a baserunner until the bottom of the third, when they rallied for a 2-1 lead.

Ronny Cedeno singled, Michael McKenry doubled and Maholm walked to load the bases for Tabata, who delivered an RBI base hit on a hot shot down the third base line that Youkilis deflected but couldn't stop. McKenry scored when Chase d'Arnaud grounded into a double play, giving Pittsburgh the lead.

Maholm was yanked after giving up a one-out single to Jason Varitek in the sixth and Resop got Marco Scutaro to line into an inning-ending double play.

Pittsburgh then pushed its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth after Neil Walker singled to lead off and scored later on Overbay's base hit.

McCutchen struck out Youkilis to end the seventh inning, saving Watson from a two-out jam with runners at first and second.

Game Notes

The Pirates improved to 3-4 against the Red Sox after losing a pair of three- game series in 2003 and '05...Pittsburgh is 7-4 in its last 11 games...The Red Sox have lost three straight for the first time since dropping four in a row from May 29-June 1...Boston started a nine-game road trip in National League venues that will include an anticipated matchup next week with the NL-leading Philadelphia Phillies...Lester was one of 12 pitchers stuck on nine wins.