PHILADELPHIA -- Jonathan Papelbon's showmanship on the mound after saving a 6-4 Phillies win against the Red Sox was matched in intensity only by the ejection of manager Bobby Valentine one out earlier.
Papelbon, who had pitched only for the Red Sox before this season, worked around a leadoff single from Kelly Shoppach on a hard grounder to third that could've been ruled an error. Papelbon struck out Nick Punto to end the game, one batter after Marlon Byrd's out call at first base from Gary Darling got Valentine sent to the clubhouse early.
"Valentine can't distract Cinco, man," Papelbon said of his alter ego, Cinco Ocho. "Come on. He's got ice in his veins."
But for the Red Sox, who hit three solo homers en route to their second loss in three games, the ninth-inning drama means little going forward. After this three-game series at Citizens Bank Park, Papelbon will continue on in the National League, out of sight and out of mind.
The man who will be front and center for Boston is the one who was once tabbed to replace Papelbon as Boston's closer, Daniel Bard. The right-hander issued five free passes over five innings, including three of the first four batters he faced. For contrast, Philly's Cole Hamels went seven innings, struck out nine and walked just one.
"The walks -- they aren't acceptable," Valentine said. "That amount of walks, you can't leave your team out there and you can't keep letting those guys on base. It's tough to hit in the strike zone, might as well throw it in there, but I know he's trying, too."
The first batter Bard faced was Jimmy Rollins, who took first on a full-count slider. That left Bard wondering just why he had decided, to the first batter of the game, to throw any pitch other than a fastball on a 3-2 count. Although Bard allowed just three hits on the night, two of them came in that first frame, after the walks. Bard felt the Phillies were able to sit on his slider at that point, and that added up to a 4-0 deficit heading into the second.
"My first mistake was throwing a 3-2 slider to the leadoff guy," Bard said. "That's getting out of that reliever mode still. If it's the eighth inning and he's the winning run, it's a little bit of a different situation. ... It just put me in a little bit of a funk. I didn't respond to it real well. When you get out of your delivery a little bit, the best thing to do is step off, take a breath and hit the reset button. I never did that. I tried to power through it a little bit."
Bard struck out more batters Friday than he had in any of his previous three starts, but that's not saying much -- he whiffed just three Phillies. He also hit two batters, reinforcing his command issues. Bard said he had a delivery issue early that he was able to correct for the scoreless frames.
"There's a way that I get my arm up in the back that allows me to throw the ball through the catcher, which is basically just being aggressive to the middle of the zone," Bard said. "It's almost a mentality as much as it is a physical thing."
To Bard's credit, the Phillies are a hot team, with the Major's longest active win streak at six games. That he was able to settle down and go five innings was a help to the bullpen. Matt Albers went two scoreless frames, a performance that enabled Adrian Gonzalez's third homer of the season to put Boston within one, at 5-4, in the eighth. That shot came against righty reliever Chad Qualls.
Sox lefty Franklin Morales gave Philly the run back in the bottom of the inning, on a Freddy Galvis solo homer.
Gonzalez's home run, for what it's worth, came a day later than he promised his next one would be after Wednesday's game. Gonzalez had not homered in 109 at-bats, since April 17 in Texas.
Mike Aviles went deep in the sixth to cut Philadelphia's lead to 4-1, and Cody Ross homered in the sixth to make it 5-3. Aviles has six homers and Ross, who homered for a second straight day, has eight. Both came off Hamels.
Ross was one of two Sox players hurt. He went down on a foul ball off his left foot that led him to get X-rays, while catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia went to an area hospital after a ball that hit a batter then ricocheted off his left ear.