Red Sox-Athletics Live: Sox Use Pair of Three-Run Innings to Grab 6-5 Victory in Series Finale

Jon LesterFinal, Red Sox 6-5: Andrew Bailey is showing that he doesn’t want to give up the closer’s job. Bailey struck out the side in the ninth inning to put the finishing touches on a 6-5 victory in the series finale.

Boston used a pair of three-run innings to secure the win. The Sox scored three runs in the fourth behind an RBI double from Mike Napoli and a two-out, two run triple from Stephen Drew. They then put up a three spot in the fifth inning behind an RBI double from Shane Victorino and RBI singles from David Ortiz and Daniel Nava.

Jon Lester went 5 2/3 innings to pick up the win. His record now stands at 4-0, although this start was certainly his most difficult. Lester gave up three earned runs on six hits while striking out five and walking six.

The Red Sox will be in action again on Thursday night for the first of four games against the Astros. Clay Buchholz will go up against Philip Humber in the series opener, which is scheduled to start up at 6:35 p.m.

Good night, everyone.

End 8th, Red Sox 6-5: The Red Sox threatened to increase their lead by working a couple of eighth-inning walks, but Andrew Bailey will be forced to close down a one-run game in the ninth.

Grant Balfour pitched the eighth for Oakland, and he got two quick outs by striking out Stephen Drew and David Ross. Balfour then ran into some trouble, though, by walking Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Carp.

Dustin Pedroia ended the inning with a slow ground ball to short. Jed Lowrie made the play and flipped to second base, where he just got Carp, who was hustling all the way.

Bailey will take the mound to “I’m Shipping Up to Boston.”

Mid 8th, Red Sox 6-5: Isn’t this how it always happens?

Koji Uehara had a 19-inning — 22 outing — scoreless streak snapped when he surrendered a home run against the Royals on Sunday. He just gave up his second blast in as many outings.

Chris Young connected on his second home run of the game in the eighth inning to make this a one-run game. The home run was another no-doubter for Young, who now has four dingers this season.

To his credit, Uehara bounced back to strike out the next three batters he faced, picking up two strikeouts along the way.

End 7th, Red Sox 6-4: Seven innings are in the books.

David Ortiz led off the seventh by popping out to third base. That capped off some nice work by Jerry Blevins, who came on with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning.

Blevins retired all six hitters he faced in the game, and got those two crucial outs in the fifth. If the A’s can stage a rally, we’ll definitely look back at the work he put in.

Pat Neshek took over with one out in the seventh. He struck out Mike Napoli before giving up a single to Daniel Nava. Will Middlebrooks flew out to center to end the inning.

Koji Uehara is coming on to pitch the eighth for Boston.

Mid 7th, Red Sox 6-4: Jed Lowrie connected on a two-out double, and Josh Donaldson drove him in to chip away at Boston’s lead.

Tazawa got both Derek Norris and Seth Smith to pop out to Dustin Pedroia to begin the inning. Smith actually shattered his bat on the pop up to shallow right field. Part of Smith’s lumber landed out near Mike Napoli around the first base bag.

After Lowrie’s double into the left-center field gap, Donaldson came up and put up a nice battle. He got ahead 3-1 before fouling off back-to-back pitches. Donaldson then drilled a line drive that landed just in front of Daniel Nava in right field.

Donaldson’s RBI single led to a pitching change, as Andrew Miller took over for Tazawa. Donaldson moved up to second base on his first stolen base of the season, but Miller struck out Brandon Moss with an offspeed offering to end the inning.

End 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Jerry Blevins came back out for the bottom of the sixth, and he kept Boston’s offense in check.

Jacoby Ellsbury, Shane Victorino and Dustin Pedroia went down in order against Blevins, and the game remains 6-3 after six innings.

The bad news, however, is that Victorino has been taken out of this game. He appeared to grimace during his last at-bat before grounding out. Victorino, of course, dealt with back tightness over the weekend, and it looked as if he may have tweaked that same area.

With Victorino out, Daniel Nava slides over to right field, while Mike Carp enters the game as the new left fielder.

The book closed on Jon Lester last inning. He allowed three earned runs on six hits while striking out five and walking six. The three runs came on a home run by Chris Young.

Mid 6th, Red Sox 6-3: Jon Lester was visibly frustrated as he walked off the mound with two outs in the sixth inning. He thought had had ended the inning moments prior.

Josh Donaldson led off the inning by testing Daniel Nava, who pinch-hit for Jonny Gomes in the bottom of the fifth and remained in the game as the left fielder. Donaldson dropped a line drive into shallow left. Nava couldn’t come up with a sliding grab and the ball rolled all the way to the wall, resulting in a double.

Lester bounced back and struck out both Brandon Moss and Chris Young. He then thought he had Nate Freiman struck out with a cutter on the outside corner, but home plate umpire Mike Estabrook determined that it was low and/or outside. Freiman walked on the next pitch, and Lester could be seen muttering something.

Andy Parrino then hit a slow roller down the third-base line. By the time Will Middlebrooks came in and scooped it with his bare hand, he didn’t have a play at any base. That’s when manager John Farrell decided to go out and take the ball from Lester, who continued to display his anger with Estabrook’s call while walking toward the dugout.

Junichi Tazawa came in with the bases loaded, and he took care of business. Coco Crisp hit a fly ball to the warning track in left, but Nava drifted back to make the play.

End 5th, Red Sox 6-3: Chris Resop’s first pitch was right off Mike Napoli’s back. A message? Perhaps. But at that point, the A’s needed nothing but outs.

After Napoli was plunked, Daniel Nava — pinch-hitting for Jonny Gomes — singled through the right side, scoring Dustin Pedroia with Boston’s sixth run.

Will Middlebrooks then flew out for the first out before the A’s made another pitching change.

Jerry Blevins entered the game with one down. He struck out Stephen Drew, and then got David Ross to fly out to right field. Chris Young had to battle the sun to put away Ross, but he ultimately made the play.

The book is closed on starter Brett Anderson, and it was another underwhelming performance for the left-hander. Anderson allowed six earned runs on eight hits while striking out five and walking two in four innings of work.

5:55 p.m., Red Sox 5-3: The A’s are making a call to the bullpen after what has been a disastrous start to the bottom of the fifth for Oakland.

Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning by hitting a little roller past the mound. Brett Anderson stuck out his bare hand and couldn’t make the play. Neither could second baseman Andy Parrino, and Ellsbury was aboard via an infield hit.

Ellsbury moved up into scoring position by swiping his 10th bag of the year. It wouldn’t take long for him to come around to score, as Shane Victorino smoked a double down the left-field line.

Dustin Pedroia then singled sharply off the glove of third baseman Josh Donaldson, setting up first and third for David Ortiz. Ortiz continues to swing a hot bat, as he knocked in Victorino with a base hit into left-center field.

All of this prompted the A’s to take out Anderson. Chris Resop enters the game with no outs in the inning.

Mid 5th, 3-3: Jon Lester issued his fifth walk of the game, and his pitch count is nearing the century mark, but he made sure his fifth inning was far more productive than his fourth.

An inning after giving up a three-run homer to Chris Young, Lester worked around a walk to keep the game tied at three apiece.

Coco Crisp grounded out to lead things off, and Derek Norris then walked. The walk wasn’t an issue, though, as Seth Smith lined out and Jed Lowrie grounded into a force out to end the inning.

Lester is up to 95 pitches thus far.

End 4th, 3-3: Well, that’s not a bad way to break out of a slump.

Stephen Drew’s two-out, two-run triple down the right field line has tied things up at Fenway Park.

David Ortiz got the offense going in the fourth by planting a ball off the Green Monster in left. The big fella had to really dig, but he eventually slid in safely with a double.

Mike Napoli then added to his impressive RBI total by knocking in Ortiz with a double of his own. Napoli now has 26 RBIs in Boston’s first 21 games.

Jonny Gomes worked a walk to put runners at first and second for Will Middlebrooks, who bounced back to the mound. Brett Anderson made the play and immediately fired to second, just in time to nab Gomes. One has to wonder if Gomes would have been safe if he slid for the bag, rather than sliding toward shortstop Jed Lowrie.

Drew, who was hitting just over .100, came through with two outs. He turned on a fastball and ripped it past the outstretched glove of first baseman Brandon Moss. The ball rattled around in the corner, which allowed two runs to come in and Drew to end up at third base.

David Ross struck out swinging to end the inning. The Sox will take that inning, though.

Mid 4th, Athletics 3-0: Jon Lester is hitting his first speed bump of 2013.

Not only has Lester yielded the most walks he’s given up in a game this season, but he’s now surrendered the most runs he’s given up in a game this year.

Chris Young jumped on a hanging curveball on the outside corner and drove a three-run home run off the Sports Authority sign above the Green Monster in left. It was Young’s third home run of the season.

Prior to Young’s blast, Lester gave up a leadoff single to Jed Lowrie, and then gave up a one-out single to Brandon Moss after Josh Donaldson grounded into a force out.

After Young’s homer, Nate Freiman walked, and Andy Parrino grounded into double play. The damage was done in the third, though, and some old friends — Lowrie and Moss — were responsible for setting the stage.

End 3rd, 0-0: The Red Sox’ offense hasn’t been unable to generate much against Brett Anderson in the early going.

David Ross led off the third inning by flying out to center field. Anderson then looked to be in control of Jacoby Ellsbury before getting the Boston outfielder to roll one over to second base for the second out.

Anderson struck out Shane Victorino looking to end the inning. Victorino wasn’t too thrilled about the call, and he stood at home plate for a solid seven seconds or so before going back to the dugout.

In fact, there’s some umpire-related news to pass along. Home plate umpire Jerry Layne has left the game with what appears to be a hand injury. Mike Estabrook — who had been umpiring at second base — has taken over behind the dish.

In other words, any and all ball-strike grievances going forward should be directed at Estabrook.

Mid 3rd, 0-0: Jon Lester kept the Athletics off the scoreboard again, but he’s been forced to work thus far.

Lester has thrown 65 pitches (40 strikes) through three innings. He retired the side in order in the third, but even in the 1-2-3 frame, he had to labor a bit.

Coco Crisp, who put up a seven-pitch battle back in the first inning, saw 10 pitches in his second at-bat. Crisp fouled off two 3-2 offerings before flying out to right field.

Derek Norris popped out for the second out, and Seth Smith went down looking to end the inning.

End 2nd, 0-0: Mike Napoli kicked off the second inning with a walk, but Brett Anderson settled down to retire the next three Red Sox hitters.

After fouling off a 2-2 slider, Jonny Gomes ended up skying a fly ball to center that Coco Crisp hauled in for the first out.

Will Middlebrooks then popped out to second base, and Stephen Drew struck out. Drew fouled a 3-2 offering into Derek Norris’ mitt.

Drew’s struggles continue to build. He entered the game with a .114 average after an 0-for-2 night on Tuesday.

Mid 2nd, 0-0: Jon Lester walked another hitter in the second inning, meaning he’s now walked a season-high three batters. Again, however, it didn’t make a difference.

Lester capped off an eight-pitch battle with Brandon Moss by striking him out on a good-looking sinker. The lefty then had an eight-pitch battle with Chris Young, but Young managed to work a free pass.

Nate Freiman then drove one toward the right-center field gap. Jacoby Ellsbury managed to track it down it down for out No. 2 — a loud out it was, though.

Lester struck out Andy Parrino swinging to end the inning.

End 1st, 0-0: Dustin Pedroia smacked a two-out double into the left-center field gap, but the Red Sox — like the A’s — couldn’t capitalize in the first inning.

Pedroia’s double came after Jacoby Ellsbury, who had his hitting streak snapped on Tuesday, struck out on a slider from Brett Anderson and Shane Victorino grounded out to third base.

Pedroia entered the game hitting .293, but 20 of his 22 hits were singles. It’s hard to complain when someone’s average is near the .300 mark, but it’s certainly encouraging to see Pedey drive one into the gap. The double was Pedroia’s first extra-base hit in 10 games.

David Ortiz fanned with Pedroia on second to end the inning.

Mid 1st, 0-0: Jon Lester has already matched his season-high walk total, but the A’s couldn’t capitalize in the first inning.

Lester issued a seven-pitch walk to old friend Coco Crisp to lead off the game. The speedy Crisp was quickly wiped off the base paths, though, when Derek Norris grounded into an easily-spun 5-4-3 double play.

Lester then missed with a 3-2 fastball to Seth Smith, who homered during Tuesday night’s blowout. Lester entered the game having yielded only four walks in his four starts — two walks in his last three starts.

Jed Lowrie followed up Smith’s walk with a base hit into center field, but Lester escaped any further trouble by getting Josh Donaldson to ground out to Will Middlebrooks at third base.

4:05 p.m.: Jon Lester’s first pitch is right down the pike, and we’re under way at Fenway.

3:45 p.m.: Wednesday’s lineups are below.

Red Sox (13-7)
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
Shane Victorino, RF
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Stephen Drew, SS
David Ross, C

Jon Lester, LHP

Athletics (13-8)
Coco Crisp, CF
Derek Norris, C
Seth Smith, LF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Brandon Moss, 1B
Chris Young, RF
Nate Freiman, DH
Andy Parrino, 2B

Brett Anderson, LHP

3:40 p.m.: There was a new — albeit familiar — face in the Red Sox’ clubhouse prior to Wednesday’s game. Daniel Bard has been recalled from Double-A Portland, with pitcher Steven Wright being sent to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Manager John Farrell told the media that he expects Bard to pitch in early relief situations in his return. Farrell wouldn’t say whether the call-up is a short-term move or if Bard could earn a spot on the roster going forward.

Joel Hanrahan, meanwhile, is expected to make a rehab appearance at Triple-A Pawtucket on Friday. He threw a bullpen session on Wednesday.

Farrell said he was unsure about who would make Sunday’s start after Alfredo Aceves’ struggles on Tuesday night. John Lackey could be ready to return by then. If he isn’t ready, Farrell named Aceves and Allen Webster as other candidates.

3:30 p.m.: Carl Crawford is playing well with the Dodgers this season, but it didn’t stop him from reflecting on his awful time in Boston. Again.

Crawford spoke with USA Today recently, and he again made it clear that he hated his time with the Red Sox. Crawford said that he didn’t think he smiled for two years, and he called his Boston stint “a nightmare.”

Click here to read Crawford’s recent comments >>

8 a.m. ET: When a pitcher’s “worst start of the year” includes going five innings and giving up two earned runs while striking out seven, that’s a sign the pitcher is having a pretty good year.

Such is the case for Jon Lester, who has not only bounced back from last season and reassumed the mantle of team ace but is also putting together one of his strongest stretches ever. Lester is 3-0 with a 1.73 ERA in four starts this year. The Red Sox have not lost a game he has started, and he has pitched seven innings in each of his last three trips to the mound.

Lester will look to continue his dominance Wednesday afternoon when the Red Sox wrap up their three-game set with the Athletics in an early-afternoon game. Facing Lester is Brett Anderson, a lefty. He is 1-3 this year with a 5.95 ERA, and he left last Friday’s game against the Rays with an ankle injury after giving up four earned runs in the first frame.

NESN will have it all, starting with Red Sox First Pitch at 3 p.m. and Lester’s first pitch at 4:05. Check back here throughout the day for news, analysis and everything you need to know about Red Sox-A’s.

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