The Red Sox avoided a 4-game sweep on Sunday to the lowly Oakland Athletics. They head into a much needed off day today as they prepare to host the Texas Rangers Tuesday night.
John Farrell gave Hector Valezquez the ball for his MLB debut and it quickly showed that he was not ready yet. He allowed two home runs in the first inning to Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis for an Oakland 3-2 lead after one. Mitch Moreland homered off A’s starter Sonny Gray in the fourth to tie the game, but Oakland came back in the bottom of the frame to take a 6-3 lead helped out by a Chad Pinder home run. The A’s tacked on two more in the 6th en route to an 8-3 victory.
Velazquez finished his debut with 5 innings, 9 hits, 6 earned runs while surrendering 3 home runs. A rocky start for his tryout to be Boston’s 5th starter, it remains in question if John Farrell will go back to him this week. His counterpart Sonny Gray kept the Boston bats quiet giving up 3 runs on 4 hits in six innings of work.
Chris Sale again was left with a no decision after a fantastic performance after his offense failed once again to give him run support. Mitch Moreland hit his 2nd home run of the series off Oakland starter Kendall Graveman in the fourth inning to give Boston a 2-0 lead. Oakland got on the board in the fifth inning as a Mark Canha triple off of Sale scored Ryon Healy to make it a 2-1 game. In the sixth, Oakland got to Sale for another run with a double by Khris Davis drove in Rajai Davis to make it 2-2.
In the bottom of the ninth, Ryon Healy drove the ball to deep center that seemed to end the game, only to be robbed by Jackie Bradley Jr., pushing the game to extra innings. Boston failed to score in the top of the 10th. Farrell called in Heath Hembree in the bottom of the inning to try to get the game to another extra inning. Mark Canha was able to keep the ball away from Jackie Bradley as he hit a no-doubter to left field to end the game.
Boston’s offense struggled to drive in runs and left ten runners on base compared to only four from Oakland. Oakland starter Kendall Graveman held Boston in check only giving up two runs on six hits in six innings of work. Chris Sale was dominant again as he recorded a double digit strikeout game for the eighth straight start. Again, Boston failed to provide him run support. Sale finished with seven innings allowing two runs on seven hits with ten strikeouts and ZERO walks.
Oakland went home run happy in the fifth inning off Red Sox reliever Ben Taylor en route to their second 8-3 victory of the series.
Hanley Ramirez got the offense started with a home run to center of A’s starter Sean Manaea in the second inning. Josh Rutledge drove in Chris Young later in the inning to push Boston’s lead to 2-0. Oakland came back to tie the game in the bottom of the inning scoring on an error by Christian Vazquez and a Chad Pinder run off a Rajai Davis bunt single.
Dustin Pedroia drove in Devin Marrero in the fifth to give Boston it’s lead back 3-2. After John Farrell gave the hook to Pomeranz, Ben Taylor got the call in the fifth and allowed three runs off of two. Oakland long balls. (Mark Canha, Khris Davis) Noe Ramirez came in the same inning and proceeded to give up a 483-ft Chad Pinder home run to push the host’s lead to 7-3 after five. Jed Lowrie went deep the next inning off of Ramirez to round out the scoring in the game.
After being pulled after four innings while allowing two runs but with a pitch count of 97, Drew Pomeranz had some words with John Farrell about the quick hook. He may of had a case as Oakland scored 5 runs in the fifth inning.
Boston’s offense was held in check by A’s starter Sean Manea and relievers Frankie Montas and Josh Smith. The trio allowed 7 hits in the game and held Boston scoreless the final four innings.
Mitch Moreland’s third home run of the series provided the offensive spark for the Sox as they kept their record above .500 while avoiding a 4-game sweep.
Boston once again got started early scoring two runs in the top of the first courtesy of a Dustin Pedroia RBI single and an Andrew Benintendi sac fly for a 2-0 lead.
After cutting the lead to 2-1 in the second Chad Pinder tagged Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez with a home run in the fourth to give them a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the 5th, Mookie Betts drove in Christian Vazquez to tie the game and came around off Pedroia’s second RBI single of the game to give Boston a 4-3 lead. Moreland’s home run came in the 6th to give Boston a 6-3 lead. A Marrero RBI in the 8th followed by 5 runs in the top of the 9th would put the game well out of reach as the Red Sox took the series finale, 12-3.
Athletics starter Andrew Triggs could not get out of the 6th after Mitch Moreland’s home run. He finished the game with 5.1 innings pitched while allowing six runs on eight hits.
Eduardo Rodriguez worked through his hiccup in the fourth as he gave Boston a much needed deep outing. He went eight innings allowing three runs on six hits to push his record to 3-1 on the young season.
WHERE WE STAND/WHATS NEXT
The Red Sox remain over .500 at 22-21 and are still 4 games behind the Yankees in the AL East. Boston comes home for six games against AL West opponents Texas and Seattle before heading to Chicago to face the White Sox next week.
Rick Porcello (2-5, 4.23 ERA) will get the start Tuesday against the Texas Rangers after a much needed off day for the BoSox. Andrew Cashner (1-3, 2.45 ERA) will start for the visitors.
PLEASE KEEP SCORING!!
The Red Sox need to find some offensive consistency. They go on these big run-scoring games and are then kept quiet for the next 2-3 games. Hopefully they can give Porcello a lead and he can pitch with some confidence as he tries to turn his season around. They also need to give more run support to the dominant Chris Sale as he deserves some wins on his record with how well he has been throwing the ball.