Cubs ride 8-run 8th past error-prone Red Sox for first Fenway win since 1918

BOSTON -- Patience paid off for Reed Johnson and the Chicago Cubs.

For the Boston Red Sox, an eighth inning of poor pitching and fielding helped end their seven-game winning streak.

Johnson has started just seven games this season. And the Cubs trailed 3-1 after seven innings before beginning their comeback to a 9-3 victory on Saturday night.

He had a go-ahead double in an eight-run eighth on Saturday night and the Cubs gained a split of their first two games at Fenway Park since the 1918 World Series with both teams wearing replica uniforms from that year.

"I was just trying to come in every day and keep doing what I was doing," Johnson said. "I was working on a lot of things in the (batting) cage."

Johnson didn't even start on Saturday. But when Marlon Byrd was beaned by Alfred Aceves in the second -- and walked off under his own power -- Johnson ran for him and stayed in the game in center field.

Chicago manager Mike Quade thought Byrd would stay overnight in a hospital.

"You're nervous," said Johnson, who is batting .392 but has just 51 at bats in 31 games. "You never want to see something like that."

The Cubs' last visit to the 99-year-old stadium before Friday night's 15-5 loss was in the World Series 93 years ago. Chicago won the fifth game then, but Boston took the championship by winning Game 6.

The Red Sox had victory in sight again on Saturday, leading 3-1. But Matt Albers failed to retire any of the six batters he faced in the eighth and his teammates committed three errors in the inning.

They spent about four hours in first place in the AL East when Tampa Bay lost to Florida 5-3. Their first stay at the top this season marked a stunning turnaround for a team that began the season at 2-10.

Then came the wild turn of events in the eighth.

Before then, Aramis Ramirez had given Chicago a 1-0 lead in the third with an RBI double. Boston went ahead on David Ortiz's two-run homer, his ninth of the year, after Kevin Youkilis led off the fourth with a single.

"Tough lineup. They have a pretty good idea of what they're trying to do at the plate," Chicago starter Carlos Zambrano said. "Just one mistake -- to Big Papi."

Jacoby Ellsbury's run-scoring single made it 3-1 in the sixth against Zambrano before Sean Marshall (2-0) came in to end the inning.

Then Albers (0-2) relieved in the eighth and Boston's chances of winning faded fast.

"I didn't think he pitched as bad as the line's going to show," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said.

Darwin Barney and Starlin Castro singled and Ramirez walked, loading the bases. Carlos Pena then walked in a run before Johnson doubled to left, putting the Cubs ahead to stay. Alfonso Soriano followed with a popup to short left field where shortstop Jed Lowrie let it bounce off his glove for an error as Pena scored.

"Overran it, misjudged the wind," Lowrie said. The conditions have "been tough all year. It's no excuse, just got to play it. What can you do?"

Franklin Morales, obtained Thursday from Colorado, relieved Albers and his first pitch went for an RBI double by pinch hitter Jeff Baker. Koyie Hill struck out and Barney flew to right, where J.D. Drew's catch was only the beginning of a bizarre play.

He threw home and Soriano, who had tagged up, headed back to third. Catcher Jason Varitek's throw ticked off third baseman Youkilis' glove. Youkilis was charged with an error and left fielder Carl Crawford, who backed him up, threw wildly to home for another error as Soriano and Baker scored.

Castro followed with an RBI double, making it 9-3.

The Red Sox's throwback uniforms were an off-white color with no team name on the front -- a good idea, perhaps, considering they wouldn't want to be associated with the way they played in the eighth.

"I thought it was a cool look," Lowrie said.

The Cubs wore grey uniforms with blue pinstripes and the word "Cubs" on the left breast.

Game notes
Carlos Marmol pitched a scoreless ninth, extending his streak to 23 2/3 innings without a run. ... RHP Matt Garza was scratched from his scheduled start in Sunday's series finale with stiffness in his pitching elbow. Quade indicated that lefty reliever James Russell was the leading candidate to start against Tim Wakefield. ... Youkilis was hit by a pitch for the 72nd time, breaking a tie with Mo Vaughn for the Red Sox record. ... Ortiz's homer made him the fifth player to hit at least 300 with the Red Sox. The others are Ted Williams (521), Carl Yastrzemski (452), Jim Rice (382) and Dwight Evans (379). ... Red Sox reliever Bobby Jenks is expected to throw his first bullpen session on Monday since going on the disabled list May 5 with a strained right biceps.