After eight shutout innings, Tim Wakefield told his manager Terry Francona he was too tired to pitch the ninth.
By then, the Phillies had just about enough of the Boston knuckleballer. After Wakefield left, the Phils scored three times in the ninth. It was way too late.
The knuckleball did in the home team as the Red Sox won, 8-3, Sunday at Citizens Bank Park. And as if the Phillies wanted to see more of it, the Mets will arrive Tuesday with another knuckleballer, R.A. Dickey.
Consider Sunday a hard lesson.
"He threw some balls that would stay in the zone and some balls would just kind of float up and away or down and in," third baseman Greg Dobbs said. "Then he'd pop a heater in at 72 m.p.h. and make it look like it's 95. There's not much you can do when he's got it all going."
Wakefield won a game for the first time since July 8, 2009, against Oakland. He had been banished from the Boston rotation, only to return thanks to an injury to Josh Beckett.
The timing was perfect for the 43-year-old Wakefield.
"Very satisfying," he said.
Wakefield improved his lifetime record against the Phillies to 4-1. In 57 innings vs. the Phils, he has a 2.68 ERA.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said because the Phils have rarely seen a knuckleballer in recent years, it can be tough to adjust to.
"We were popping it up," Manuel said. "We weren't striking out a lot. At times, we weren't aggressive."
Staked to a comfortable lead, Wakefield said he was able to rely on more than just the knuckleball in the later innings. While behind in the count, he recorded outs with fastballs.
The Phillies have a day off before facing their second knuckleballer in as many games. Now, at least, they have a point of reference.
"When he's making it dance like that, it's really tough," Dobbs said. "You don't face too many of those guys. So it's definitely different, that's for sure."
Phillies righthander Brad Lidge (right elbow inflammation) will accompany the team to New York and throw a bullpen side session Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list May 15. He plans another session Thursday.
Lidge said he could pitch in a rehab outing sometime this weekend, but that is undecided. If all goes well, Lidge said he thinks he could be activated early next week.
"Hopefully, that would be it," Lidge said.
Lidge said the inflammation in his elbow feels like it is gone. He has played catch on flat ground the last few days and did some long tossing Sunday.
"The progress we've had the last two days is good," Lidge said.
Manuel said he started Dobbs at third base for Placido Polanco because Polanco had played nine games in nine days and was 1 for 15 in his career against Wakefield. Dobbs made a key error in the fourth inning. . . . Ross Gload hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in the ninth inning, his second pinch-hit homer of the season. . . . Catcher Carlos Ruiz pinch-hit in the ninth and struck out. He was 1 for 17 in the homestand and is 0 for his last 13 at-bats. . . . Backup catcher Brian Schneider (strained left Achilles tendon) caught all nine innings for triple-A Lehigh Valley on Sunday and will be activated before Tuesday's game.