The Sox swept the absolute piss out of the A’s on Wednesday, their last game before heading to Chicago to start a road trip. Here’s how it went:
The game started with Dave O’Brien noting the A’s have lost five games in a row. Seems bad? There are some empty seats because it is an afternoon game, and Héctor Velázquez treated them to a 1-2-3 inning that showed off Oakland’s recent allergy to the slider. The Red Sox repaid the favor by also going 1-2-3, showing off Boston’s recent — and perhaps recently kicked — allergy to offense.
The second inning wasn’t as kind to Velázquez. He gave up a leadoff single to Khris Davis, and hit Stephen Piscotty with a pitch but struck out Kendrys Morales looking, so that was nice. He got Chad Pinder swinging next on what Dennis Eckersley correctly called a bad slider. For whatever reason, Eck then says he’s not gonna say “cheese” any more today and the A’s punish him with a Ramon Laureano RBI single. (What the heck, Eck?) Josh Phegley popped out to limit the damage, and the A’s led 1-0.
Rafael Devers continued his electric hitting with a laser single to open the inning, and Eck throws in a “just to stay in shape” Caddyshack reference, which makes my old brain happy. Chavis looked like toast on a 1-2 count with a tailor-made double play ball up the middle, but it was too up the middle — it hit the bag, bounced into left, and the Sox had runners on first and third. I enjoy luck that is good! Mitch Moreland hit a sac fly that tied the game and allowed Chavis to take second when Oakland threw daintily back to the cutoff man. Christian Vázquez walked to bring up Jackie Bradley Jr. with two one and one out and chance to do damage and he did, sort of, singling to load the bases for Tzu-Wei Lin.
Okay so with an 0-2 count on Lin, Fiers threw a wild pitch that went over Phegley’s head, hit the back wall and bounced directly back to Phegley, who tagged Chavis for the astonishing and bad second out. Oakland fans would probably apply a “ball don’t lie” here for Chavis’s hit, but it probably wasn’t the same ball and the ball lies all the damn time. Anyhow Lin struck out, but you knew that already, deep in your hear. 1-1 after 2.
Matt Chapman hit a one-out single for the A’s in the third, but that was all they got against new pitcher Marcus Walden. Mookie Betts got hit with one out, then J.D. Martinez hit an absolute laser to left field which Grossman caught and dropped on the transfer. Still an out. Devers grounded out and that ended the inning.
At this point I had to get my daughter from school but here’s what happened: Walden blew through the fourth inning, Moreland hit a solo shot in the bottom fourth, Walden blew through the fifth and in the bottom of that one, Lin scored after doubling, being bunt-sacrificed (by Beni) to third and fly-sacrificed (by Betts) home. Nothing more would come of the rally, but it would be 3-1 entering the sixth. It would also be 3-1 entering the bottom of the sixth after Brandon Workman took over where Walden left off, putting the A’s down 1-2-3.
Devers started the bottom of the frame with a single against new pitcher J.B. Wendelken before Chavis drew a full-count walk. Moreland, who’s clearly coming out of his funk, drove a ball sharply to left but Grossman stabbed it for the first out. Vázquez popped a fly a million feet up that landed in Laureano’s glove. bringing up JBJ with two runners still on base. He drew a walk to load the bases for Lin, who hit a slow roller to second that he ended up beating out to make it 4-1, with the bases still loaded.
And then... Benintendi dropped a seeing eye-single to left, scoring two, to make it 6-1, and the breaks that eluded Boston in April began, finally, to flower. Wendelken was taken out of the game for the mighty Lou Trivino, but there’s only so much you can do down five runs. The first thing Trivino did was walk Betts, which didn’t help either, but Martinez popped out to end the inning.
The Sox brought in Colten Brewer to start the seventh and he got the first two men before Pinder rapped a hard single to left, but Laureano popped out to Devers to end it. Old friend Yusmeiro Petit came out to start the seventh and got Devers to pop to third, whiffed Chavis and got Moreland swinging on a 3-2 count. Heath Hembree set down the order in the top of the eighth, and Vázquez went yard on the first pitch of the bottom of the inning off new pitcher Ryan Dull to make it 7-1. JBJ got hit by a pitch and Lin popped out on a downright insane pick from two rows deep in the crowd by Matt Chapman, who truly does kick butt. Beni flew out to center and while Mookie was busy grounding out to third they showed Chavis writing intently in a journal, which is fun.
Tyler Thornburg came out to start the ninth and gave up a leadoff double to Chapman and a first-pitch double to Khris Davis to make it 7-2, because of course he did. He then got Piscotty swinging and Morales on a grounder to second before Pinder double to make it 7-3. (Note: Thornburg is bad.) Laureano blissfully grounded out to short, and that was that.