Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, Athletics 1
May, 2, 2014
By Gordon Edes | ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- Takeaways from the Fens, where Clay Buchholz had his first good night at home this season, Jackie Bradley Jr. kept making himself at home, and with one grand swing Dustin Pedroia allayed fears that the Red Sox basepaths would remain clogged worse than the Green Line at rush hour.
The result: The Red Sox rebounded from a double-dip loss to the Rays on Thursday by beating Oakland 7-1 before a crowd of 34,850 on a spring-like (67 degrees) night. In so doing, they reframed the conversation about the team's offense. Instead of contemplating opportunities missed, the focus returned to how the Sox are scoring runs again with everyone back, the team scoring at least seven runs for the fourth time in the past seven games.
The slam: Pedroia unloaded on an 0-and-2 pitch from Oakland reliever Ryan Cook for a grand slam in the sixth inning, the 100th home run of his career and his first home run in 161 at-bats, the four RBIs also pushing his career total over 500 (503). Pedroia had just six RBIs this season until unloading on Cook, who was trying to keep the Athletics within striking distance. Instead, the Sox, who have been having a terrible time of it with runners in scoring position (4-for-20 in a doubleheader sweep by the Rays on Thursday) opened a 6-1 lead.
Pedroia, who also doubled, walked twice and scored two runs, joined Carl Yastrzemski as the only Sox players with at least 100 home runs and 100 stolen bases while playing for Boston.
Basic Buchholz: Clay Buchholz allowed a season-low three hits in his 6 1/3 innings of work, the only run he allowed coming on a triple by John Jaso and a two-out wild pitch in the second inning. Buchholz was especially tough with runners in scoring position; the Athletics went 0-for-7 while he was in the game.
Vintage JBJ: The rookie center fielder made the night's top defensive play when he made a leaping catch of Yoenis Cespedes' drive to the wall in center, that catch converted to a double play when he threw to second baseman Pedroia, who nailed Josh Donaldson retreating to first to end a threat in the eighth.
No love for the exes: On Wednesday, Oakland put up 17 hits, a season high, and matched its season high with 12 runs in completing a three-game sweep of the Rangers. Five former Sox players appeared in Friday's game -- Coco Crisp, Jed Lowrie, Brandon Moss, Josh Reddick and Nick Punto. They combined to go 1-for-16 Friday night, Lowrie's single off Edward Mujica the only hit by an ex.
Miller time: Andrew Miller replaced Buchholz after the Sox starter walked John Jaso with one out in the seventh and struck out the two batters he faced, Punto and Crisp. In his past eight appearances since April 15, Miller has struck out 10 and has not walked a batter. He has inherited seven runners this season; none of them has scored.
All across the watchtower: Every player in the Sox's lineup reached base at least once except for Will Middlebrooks, and everyone with the exception of Middlebrooks and David Ortiz reached at least twice.