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Red Sox 4, Athletics 2: Big nights for Pedroia, Miley see Sox to victory

Dustin Pedroia came up big in support of a strong night from Wade Miley, getting the Sox a win in their series opener against Oakland.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Dustin Pedroia picked up three hits and Wade Miley pitched into the eighth, helping the Sox to a Friday night victory over the Oakland Athletics.

In a nice change of pace, the Red Sox got on the board in a hurry against the Athletics. Pedroia's first hit came in his first at bat on a single to center, giving the Sox a leadoff baserunner in the first. Behind him, Brock Holt flipped a double down the left field line. It only would have been enough to get Pedroia to third base, but Ben Zobrist let the ball get by him and to the Monster, allowing Pedroia to score all the way from first to put the Sox ahead 1-0.

Scott Kazmir would recover to limit the damage, striking out the next two batters he faced and retiring six straight to get to the third. But hits from Rusney Castillo and, again, Dustin Pedroia put two men on with zero outs in the third, allowing the Sox to manufacture a second run with a ground out and a sacrifice fly. If the Sox weren't taking full advantage of their opportunities, they also weren't leaving empty handed.

And the way Wade Miley was pitching, it didn't seem like they would need to cash all the way in. Retiring the first nine batters he faced, Miley's worst trouble in the first four innings came on a leadoff single in the fourth, which was instantly erased by a double play ball off the bat of Marcus Semien. In fact, Billy Burns' hit wasn't just the first baserunner of the night for Oakland, but the first ball to get out of the infield, with Miley relying entirely on strikeouts and ground balls.

The Sox would put together another pair of half-finished rallies in the fourth and fifth. Each time the first two batters reached, with Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts combining to produce a run in the fourth, and Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts reprising their roles in the fifth. But each time the attack died with just one run in despite beginnings that promised the possibility for more.

Still, those two extra runs proved important. The top of the fifth saw the Athletics put together their first sustained rally, with Miley struggling a bit out of the stretch after a one-out single from Brett Lawrie. Josh Phegley and Mark Canha both reached base on solid hits to push across the first run for Oakland before Eric Sogard struck out to end the inning. Then, in the seventh, Lawrie hit a solo shot into the Monster seats in left-center to bring the Athletics within two.

With the Red Sox unable to pad their lead against switch-pitching Pat Venditte, Koji Uehara was called in for the ninth. It wasn't an easy save, with Lawrie and Phegley both making their way into scoring position for Mark Canha, who managed to put a splitter on a line. But the newest Red Sox Alejandro De Aza came in to make the running catch, ending the frame and the game.