Rapid Reaction: Athletics 20, Red Sox 2
September, 1, 2012
By Jeff Fletcher, Special to ESPNBoston.com
OAKLAND -- The Boston Red Sox reached a new low on Friday night.
With their 20-2 loss to the Oakland A's, the Red Sox fell to nine games under .500 (62-71) for the first time since July 18, 1997. How long ago was that? Mike Trout was a few weeks shy of his sixth birthday.
Boston's already-frustrating season has been accelerating downhill all month, including losses in the first four games of this nine-game West Coast swing. The Red Sox went 9-20 in August, their worst August since they were 9-21 in 2006.
The 20 runs were the most the Red Sox allowed since Aug. 21, 2009, against the New York Yankees. To add insult to injury, 13 of the A's runs were driven in by three former Red Sox players: Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and George Kottaras.
Overcooked: Aaron Cook normally is successful when he's keeping the ball on the ground, but the A's teed off him and hit rockets all over the ballpark, to the tune of six runs. They added in a few well-placed bloopers, too. Cook pitched a perfect first, but even then all the outs were in the air, which may have been a sign of things to come. In the second, the first four batters reached base, capped by Josh Donaldson hitting a two-run homer on a hanging breaking ball. The A's knocked Cook out with three more hits, and two more runs, in the third, and the two outs Cook got were flyouts to the warning track. Cook is 1-5 with a 7.27 ERA in his past seven starts.
Down quickly again: The Red Sox have allowed multiple runs before scoring their first run in all four games on this trip. They trailed 2-0 on Tuesday and Thursday in Anaheim, 4-0 on Wednesday against the Angels and 6-0 on Friday.
Even uglier: The Red Sox were out of the game even before relievers Craig Breslow and Mark Melancon turned the game from a disappointment to an embarrassment. They gave up nine runs on six hits in the seventh inning. It was the most runs the Red Sox allowed in an inning since Sept. 27, 2006.
Early-inning failures: Although it may not have mattered considered Boston's pitching meltdown, the Red Sox had a chance to get the night off to a much different start. Boston had four hits before the A's got their first, but they were hitless in four at-bats with runners in scoring position. Jacoby Ellsbury came up with two on and no outs in the first, and he hit into a double play.
Bard's back: Daniel Bard pitched for the Red Sox for the first time since returning to the majors after a two-month stint at Triple-A. Bard gave up a homer to George Kottaras and a bloop single in his one inning of work.
Former Sox slugging: Three former Red Sox players -- Moss, Reddick and Kottaras -- combined for four homers for the A's. Moss, formerly of the Red Sox, had two doubles, a single, a homer and four RBIs. Moss is Moss is 10-for-13 with three homers and nine RBIs against the Red Sox so far this season. Reddick hit his first career grand slam, homer No. 28 on the season, in the eighth inning.
Kottaras hit two homers, his first career multihomer game.
Salty smokes one: Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit his 23rd homer of the season, extending his career high. Saltalamacchia is second in the majors in homers by a catcher.
Mopping up: Alfredo Aceves, who was closing games as recently as earlier this week, took the mound in the fifth inning with the Red Sox down 6-0. Aceves pitched one inning and gave up a two-run homer to Moss.
Up next: Left-hander Felix Doubront (10-6, 4.79 ERA) starts Saturday for the Red Sox against the A's, who will send rookie A.J. Griffin (3-0, 2.42) to the hill. Doubront gave up five runs in four innings in his only start against the A's, earlier this season. Griffin gave up two runs in six innings in his only start against Boston, in July.