Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 7, A's 6
June, 22, 2014
By Eric Gilmore, Special to ESPNBoston.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- David Ortiz led off the top of the 10th inning Sunday with a tie-breaking solo home run off Fernando Abad, and the Red Sox held on for an eventful 7-6 victory against the Oakland A's at the O.co Coliseum.
The Red Sox blew a 6-1 lead, giving up three runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth when Stephen Vogt and John Jaso hit solo home runs off closer Koji Uehara, who suffered his first blown save of the season and third in his past 45 chances, dating to June 21, 2013.
Uehara pitched a one-two-three 10th to get the win.
The Red Sox got another solid outing from left-hander Jon Lester and snapped out of their hitting slump. Ortiz, David Ross and Mike Napoli paced a 13-hit attack with solo home runs, and Lester won his third straight game.
After losing three straight to Oakland, the Red Sox won the series finale to avoid a sweep and also ended their eight-game streak of scoring three or fewer runs.
Bullpen meltdown: After Lester hit Craig Gentry and walked Jed Lowrie with two outs in the eighth, right-hander Burke Badenhop took over. Badenhop gave up consecutive RBI singles to Yoenis Cespedes, Josh Donaldson and Derek Norris. Left-hander Andrew Miller came on to retire pinch hitter Coco Crisp on a sizzling line drive to shortstop Jonathan Herrera to end the eighth with the score 6-4. Uehara had allowed only two earned runs in his 44 save opportunities before letting the A's tie it in the ninth.
Streak buster: Badenhop gave up an earned run without retiring a batter as two of his streaks were snapped. He had pitched a career-high 18 consecutive scoreless innings and had gone 32 1/3 straight innings without allowing an earned run, the third longest such streak in Red Sox history, behind Uehara (33 2/3 innings, 2013) and Dick Radatz (33.0, 1963).
Lester has A's number: On May 3 against the A's at Fenway Park, Lester struck out a career-high 15 and allowed just one hit over eight shutout innings in a 6-3 victory. This time he held the A's to three runs, two earned, on four hits over 7 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two. Lester held Oakland to three runs or fewer for the sixth straight time since 2011, improving to 4-1 in that stretch.
Fast start: It took them 29 innings, but the Red Sox finally got a lead Sunday in the finale of the four-game series, scoring twice in the first inning. Brock Holt continued his sizzling stretch, lining a leadoff single to right, then moved to second on Dustin Pedroia's one-out single. After Ortiz struck out, Mike Napoli walked, loading the bases, and Jonny Gomes drilled Tommy Milone's 3-2 fastball to center field for a two-run single.
Return of the long ball: The Red Sox hit their first home run of the series in the second inning, a leadoff shot by Ross, giving Boston a 3-0 lead. The home run was Ross' third of the season and first since May 3 -- off none other than Milone. The Red Sox hit three home runs in a 6-3 victory that day at Fenway Park against Milone, one each by Gomes, Ortiz and Ross. Napoli hit a solo shot off Sunday off Milone in the fifth, his eighth homer of the season.
Defensive gem: One day after starting at third base, the versatile Jonathan Herrera started at shortstop Sunday, and he used his strong right arm to save a run and help prevent a potential big inning in the bottom of the second. The A's already had scored one run on Alberto Callaspo's RBI double and had runners on second and third with one out. Vogt hit a ground ball to Herrera in the hole, and he gunned a long throw to Ross at home, who tagged out Kyle Blanks. Lester struck out Nick Punto, ending the inning. Herrera made another great defensive play in the eighth, fielding Punto's ground ball in the hole and making a leaping throw to first from the outfield grass for the out.
Double your fun: The Red Sox used what looked to be an unplanned double steal to score a run in the third inning, extending their lead to 4-1. Napoli was on third and Herrera on first with two outs. Milone caught Herrera leaning and made a pickoff move to first. Herrera bolted toward second, and when A's first baseman Brandon Moss threw the ball to Punto, Napoli broke for home. Punto threw high, and Napoli slid under catcher Derek Norris' tag; he was credited with a steal of home.
Gomes' big day: Gomes, who grew up in nearby Petaluma, went 3-for-4, drove in two runs and scored a run Sunday. After singling with two outs in the eighth off reliever Ryan Cook, Gomes came home on Herrera's triple to right, making it 6-1.